'Historic' X-mas day football match of WW1 started after Brits kicked ball in No Man's Land
The famous First World War football match of the Christmas Day ceasefire started after a ball was kicked from the British lines into No Man's Land, according to a previously unseen letter.
Staff sergeant Clement Barker sent the letter home four days after Christmas 1914 when the British and German troops emerged from their trenches in peace, the Telegraph reports.
Barker described how the truce began after a German messenger walked across No Man's Land on Christmas Eve to broker the temporary cease-fire agreement, the paper added.
British soldiers went out and recovered 69 dead comrades and buried them. Sgt Barker said the impromptu football match then broke out between the two sides when a ball was kicked out from the British lines into No Man's Land, it said.
According to the paper, Rodney Barker found the letter from his uncle when he was going through some old documents following his mother's death.
Sgt Barker wrote to his brother Montague in the letter: "...a messenger come over from the German lines and said that if we did not fire Xmas day, they (the Germans) wouldn't do so in the morning (Xmas day)," the paper quoted.
"A German looked over the trench - no shots - our men did the same, and then a few of our men went out and brought the dead in (69) and buried them and the next thing happened a football kicked out of our Trenches and Germans and English played football," it added.
"Night came and still no shots. Boxing day the same, and has remained so up to now... We have conversed with the Germans and they all seem to be very much fed up and heaps of them are deserting," it further said.
However, Barker's optimistic outlook proved quite wrong, as the truce was the last act of chivalry between the two sides and the war went on for four more years, with the loss of 10 million lives, the paper reported.
The unofficial truce took place on December 24, 1914, in the trenches around Ypres, it further said.