The Christmas truce remembered at the Peace Village, Messines (Photo: courtesy of the Peace Village)

Christmas truce: British & German schools mark Centenary with joint memorial in Belgium

Posted on on 22 November 2014
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A memorial to the Christmas truce, inspired by friendship between pupils from British and German schools, will be inaugurated in the Belgian town of Messines (Mesen) on December 6th 2014.

The ceremony takes place at the Peace Village, an international hostel just a short distance from the site where the guns briefly fell silent on the Western Front 100 years ago.

For pupils from Mildenhall College Academy in Suffolk and the Gymnasium Theodorianum in Paderborn, the event is the culmination of a project which started with a joint visit to the First World War battlefields of the Ypres salient.

Moved by what they'd seen, they resolved to design a permanent tribute.

The result is a monument embracing two of the best-known stories of the Christmas truce in 1914. The words 'Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht,' are surmounted by a stone football, reminders of how British and German soldiers began to sing carols, and then left their trenches to exchange mementoes and play a game of football.

A stone wreath features intertwined British and German symbols of poppies and oak leaves.

Senior Belgian, German and UK representatives will join pupils for the unveiling, one of the many events commemorating the Christmas truce in the Ploegesteert, Messines and Ypres areas of Belgium in December 2014.

The ceremony is open to the public, starting at 4pm on December 6th. It takes place at the Peace VillageNieuwkerkestraat 9, Mesen (near Messines Ridge Commonwealth cemetery).

Information and images supplied by the Peace Village

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News