Reliving the Christmas Truce

by Gerry Lynch last modified 16 Dec, 2014 12:33 PM

Famous World War One football match re-enacted with carols and prayers at Dorchester Town FC

Reliving the Christmas Truce

The Bishop and his chaplain, the Ven Stephen Robbins, at the special football match and service.

Soldiers and footballers in Dorset went head-to-head in front of a thousand people this week in a football match to mark the World War One Christmas truce - and raise money for charity! 

A team from the Bovington army camp played Dorchester Town FC at the Magpies' home ground, The Avenue. As well as football, there were prayers, carols, live music and a minutes silence. The two teams were dressed in German and British soldiers' uniforms respectively.

The truce saw British and German soldiers on different parts of the Western Front play football together, in December 1914, a moment of shared humanity at the beginning of one of history's bloodiest conflicts.

Those who attended were given replica copies of the Gospel of John, identical to those given to soldiers heading for the front 100 years ago. Bishop Nicholas took part in the service and the Bishop's Chaplain, the Ven Stephen Robbins, former Chaplain General to HM Forces, preached the sermon.

Dorchester Town FC's community director, Allen Knott, is a Licensed Lay Minister in the Diocese. Speaking after the service, he said, "I am particularly delighted that we raised money for two great service charities, Combat Stress and BLESMA (the British Limbless ex-Servicemen's Association).

"One especially moving moment was during the singing of Silent Night. The Military Wives' Choir sang the first verse in German, then the crowd joined in the second verse in English; at that point the mascots led the teams and officials out in silence. it was spine-tingling.

"I think the event showed the value of peace in a troubled world, especially that which is brought by the Prince of Peace."

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