IT’S one of the most poignant and memorable tales of the First World War and now it’s being used to inspire children to read.
A book has been launched telling the tale of the Christmas Day truce, when English and German troops stopped fighting in 1914 to play a game of football on no man’s land.
Pompey in the Community organised the launch of the book When the Guns Fall Silent, written by the late Portsmouth author James Riordan, who was also a columnist at The News.
The book, which has four Pompey players pictured on its front page, was launched at the Fort Widley First World War Remembrance Centre.
A group of Pompey players attended the launch alongside children from Medina Primary School who took part in workshops.
The project has been supported by Affinion International.
Player Ricky Holmes said: ‘It’s good to let everyone know about the past and what the future can hold.
‘Hopefully it opens people’s eyes to what others went through and hopefully it won’t happen again.
‘Nine out of 10 boys probably want to be a professional footballer and they’ve seen us on the front of it so it gives them an opportunity to learn about what they are interested in.’
The players on the front cover are Joe Devera, Ricky Holmes, Simon Ferry and Bondz N’Gala. Also pictured in the middle is Andrew Mutch of Affinion International.
Adam Lea, education manager at Pompey in the Community, said: ‘It’s to educate them on the 100th anniversary of the First World War but also to raise literacy levels within the city and get more people, especially children, into reading. Possibly one of the most famous events of the First World War that people can relate to of all ages is the Christmas Day truce.
‘Football and World War One work together absolutely brilliantly on this project.’
Pupil Blake Harris, 11, is in Year 6. He said: ‘It’s fun because it’s about history. It’s exciting stuff.’