WWI no-man’s-land football match to be re-enacted

The Ancre Somme Association and Royal British Legion launch the charity football match which takes place on Friday December 16 at Mourneview Park
The Ancre Somme Association and Royal British Legion launch the charity football match which takes place on Friday December 16 at Mourneview Park

One of the most fabled moments from the First World War is to be re-enacted at an Irish League football ground.

The football match which reportedly took place in no-man’s-land between Allies and German soldiers marking a Christmas truce in 1914 will be recreated at Mourneview Park, Lurgan on Friday December 16, with proceeding starting at 7.15pm.

The charity match has sparked much interest and First Minister Arlene Foster has confirmed that she will be in the grandstand to watch the charity commemoration in aid of the Poppy Appeal.

It will involve a team of veteran footballers from Northern Ireland going up against the Royal Irish Regiment’s Second Battalion.

The veterans’ line-up will include former Glenavon strikers Stephen McBride and Raymond McCoy.

Before the game the local Somme Association will re-enact the Christmas truce, backed by the choir from Lurgan College who will be singing Silent Night in German.

The band of the Royal Irish Regiment will be playing at half-time and leading the teams on to the pitch.

One of the organisers, Lexi Davidson of the Ancre Somme Association, said: “A lot of footballers went to fight during World War One. Some from Glenavon, where we’ll be playing the match, but they came from all over the UK.

“I thought something linked to the footballers who gave their lives would be a worthy event.”

The Royal British Legion was also heavily involved in the organisation of the match, with all money raised going to the Poppy Appeal.

Mr Davidson said: “We recently got word that a few dignitaries hope to attend and Forces TV are going to be there. Colonel Hubert McAllister OBE is one of the high-profile people coming.”

Entrance fees (payable at the gate) are £5 for adults and £2 for children.