The British Trade & Cultural Office (BTCO) held a commemorative football match at the Taipei European School today to mark the hundredth anniversary of the Christmas Truce in the first year of World War I.
In 1914, soldiers from both sides battling on the Western Front spontaneously, and without receiving orders, stopped fighting on Christmas Day. Each side emerged from its trenches, met in no man’s land, buried their dead, exchanged gifts and played football together. This tale provides a ray of hope from what was otherwise a dark time in world history. It is symbolic of mankind’s common humanity and desire for peace.
In this spirit, the BTCO organised a friendly football match between a team of students learning about World War I and a team consisting of foreign representatives, Taiwanese legislators, the KMT Spokesman, the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, the Chinese Taipei Football Association, and the Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce Taipei.
In his address to the participants and the entire school, Mr. Chris Wood, Director of the BTCO said: “The event was a celebration of the fact that even in the coldest, darkest depths of a brutal war, soldier’s common humanity and desire for peace were able to shine through. The Christmas Truce wasn’t planned or recorded, but it is remembered.”
This week, British embassies and consulates around the world will be holding similar commemorative events in partnership with the British Council, and Football Association. The Football Remembers poppy logo emblazoned on the teams’ kits in Taipei was also printed on the kits of all professional teams competing in the English Premier League and Football league last weekend.
- Red poppies are worn every year in the UK in the run up to Armistice Day (11 November) to commemorate those who died in World War One. Much of the First World War was fought on the poppy fields of Belgium, France and Gallipoli. When the poppies bloomed, they looked like spilt blood on the ground. The flower has since become a symbol of those fallen in battle. We therefore included the image on our T-shirts today as a reminder of the sacrifice of others.
- The significance of the poppy comes from the fact that much of the war took place on the poppy fields of Belgium, France and Gallipoli. It is the memorial flower of the war.
- More details of events taking place for the campaign are available at Football Remembers
- Pictures from similar events taking place across the world can be found on twitter under the hash tag #FootballRemembers
- As part of the Football Remembers project, more than 30,000 schools across the UK received a British Council education pack with resources to help children learn about the Truce – including eye-witness accounts, photos, drawings and letters from soldiers. Visit British Council website.