Did the WW1 football match really happen?

It’s now the subject of a supermarket television ad campaign - but did the football match during the WW1 Christmas truce of 1914 take place?

Professor Mark Connelly of the University, a leading expert on the Great War, has carried out research on the historical evidence which surrounds what actually happened during the now-iconic truce – including the common-held belief that soldiers from both sides in the conflict met in No Man’s Land to play football.

He will present his findings at a one-day public symposium at the University on Friday, 12 December.

Focussing particularly on the involvement of the east Kent regiment The Buffs, Professor Connelly has researched official records as well as the personal testimonies of individual soldiers.

The symposium will also consider why the Christmas truce has attained such iconic status in British popular culture, with pop songs such as Jona Lewie’s Stop the Cavalry using it as a subject.

Professor Connelly, of the University’s School of History, said that he’s sought to ‘unpick fact from fiction around the WW1 truce’.

The public symposium, titled Representations of the Christmas Truce, is being organised by the University-based public engagement centre Gateways to the First World War.

Also featuring Dr Emma Hanna, University of Greenwich, and Dr Peter Grant, City University, it will take place from 10am-3pm at Kent’s Canterbury campus on Friday 12 December. It is free and open to all but places are limited and must be reserved via email: gateways@kent.ac.uk

The Gateways to the First World War public engagement centre is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and was launched in May 2014 with the aim of encouraging and supporting public interest during the centenary of the First World War through a range of events, activities, advice and expertise.