The profits of December’s historic Game of Truce, played between the British Army and Germany Bundeswehr at the Electrical Services Stadium, have been shared with two German military charities.
A cheque for £2640 was recently given to the German Government, and will be split between the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgraeberfuersorge e.v. (German War Graves Commission) and Einsatzversehrte Soldaten Bundeswehr (a new charity for injured German soldiers).
The Game of Truce was played on Wednesday 17 December in honour of the 1914 Christmas Truce and the impromptu games of football which took place in no-man’s land. The British Army football team beat the German Combined Services 1-0 in a keenly-contested game at the ESS. The match was a collaborative venture between the Football Association, the Army and Aldershot Town FC as the culmination of the FA’s ‘Football Remembers’ week, in which players, staff and fans were encouraged to commemorate those who swapped football boots for Army boots 100 years ago. VIP guests included the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Nicholas Carter, FA Chairman Greg Dyke and Sir Bobby Charlton, as well as Dr. Brauksiepe.
The Game of Truce attracted worldwide media interest, with more than 60 journalists and TV crews from across the world covering the game and match highlights shown in Germany, Canada, the USA and Italy as well as in Britain. The kick-off was broadcast live on The One Show on BBC1 and the match was the centrepiece of a special edition of the BBC’s Football Focus that was broadcast on 27 December.
The only goal of the game was scored after three minutes, with Lance Corporal Calum Wilkinson slotting in the rebound after German goalkeeper Andreas Forster fumbled a shot. It was to prove the German keeper’s only mistake of the night as he pulled off a string of superb saves to deny the Army. In the 90th minute the Germans hit the bar, only for the Army to break downfield immediately and hit the post – but the boys in red deservedly held on to win 1-0 in front of a crowd of nearly 3,000 supporters.
The Game of Truce raised thousands of pounds for the Royal British Legion and for the two German military charities and was a wonderful way to commemorate those soldiers from both sides who spent Christmas 1914 in the trenches.
Pictured are: Oberst Bernd Grygiel, Commander of the Bundeswehr Sports School; Parlamentarischer Staatssekretär Dr Ralf Brauksiepe, Parliamentary Secretary for the German Ministry of Defence; General Officer Commanding of British Forces Germany, Maj Gen John Henderson; Herr Markus Meckel of the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgraeberfuersorge.