Ypres – Make Football, Not War

A little “did you know that…” fact on today’s blog. I’m updating my where I’ve been map which is very far from up to date and my trip to Belgium was a very long time ago (I even had hair follicles then). It was the third country that I visited, and after the ubiquitous chocolate binge in Brussels, I took a World War One tour which was the best part of my Belgium journey.

This story is the one that stands out in my mind the most…

On a cold Christmas Eve in 1914, in a Belgium city now named ‘Ypres’ – British and German soldiers after being at loggerheads in opposite trenches, decided to have a Christmas truce. The German soldiers allegedly began to decorate their trenches and sang Christmas carols. The Brits supposedly did the same.

It is said that jokes were made about then exchanging gifts as long as the opposing receiver wouldn’t kill them. Before long – cigarettes, alcohol and food were said to be shared between the opposing troops and a Christmas truce was agreed.

On Christmas day – they played a football match, using a ration tin as a ball! There has been written accounts of this happening in other parts of France, most famously by British poet Robert Graves. The score from this match is unknown, but if history is anything to go by – the Germans probably won on penalties.

Ypres football truce

Christmas Truce Today

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  1. Andi Reply

    I love that map on your sidebar btw!

    1. Anthony Middleton Reply

      Thanks 🙂