Gosport school ceremony marks brief wartime truce of 100 years ago

Bay House School's head of sixth form Jill Eatherden, and inset, the two-minute silence. Pictures: Sarah Standing (143489-1573 and 8507)
Bay House School's head of sixth form Jill Eatherden, and inset, the two-minute silence. Pictures: Sarah Standing (143489-1573 and 8507)
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SILENCE hang over a school field as pupils marked the famous Christmas Day truce across battlefields in the First World War.

Bay House School students and staff commemorated the moment in history when German and British soldiers put down their rifles in 1914 and played football in a brief ceasefire.

8/12/2014 (BF)''Bay House School held a Christmas Truce Centenary Concert on Monday evening.''Pictured is: A two minute silence took place during the concert.''Picture: Sarah Standing (143489-8507) PPP-140812-222859001

8/12/2014 (BF)''Bay House School held a Christmas Truce Centenary Concert on Monday evening.''Pictured is: A two minute silence took place during the concert.''Picture: Sarah Standing (143489-8507) PPP-140812-222859001

Parents and supporters of the school in Gomer Lane, Gosport, gathered on the field to pay their respects.

John Pratt, 60, of Gosport, was among the visitors last night.

He said: ‘Everybody has joined in what’s a sad time to reflect on what happened all that time ago.

‘It just goes to show that people will still remember.

‘All the time this sort of thing goes on it will be supported.’

HM Royal Marines Band Portsmouth delighted the crowd as they performed at the school last night.

Bay House Community Choir also performed and there were readings from personal accounts from the war.

The field was lit up by people attending during the candlelit service.

And with a crowd standing either side to mark opposing trenches, pupils re-enacted the December 1914 match.

Jenny Kneller, 57, and her husband John, 56, from Fratton, Portsmouth, had travelled to Gosport for the service.

Mrs Kneller said: ‘It’s good to commemorate it.

‘Everyone should remember. It was terrible.

‘The lads that are here, some of them would have been fighting.’

Mr Kneller added: ‘It brings it all home – you shouldn’t forget it.’

And Mr Kneller praised the night, adding: ‘It shows a bit of community.’

Citizenship teachers Ethan Stanswood helped organise the evening.

He said it came from a teachers’ trip to Belgium where they went for inspiration to teach about the war.

Mr Stanswood said: ‘A lot of hard work has gone into it – it’s gone a lot better than we expected.

‘We wanted to mark the centenary commemorations.’

He added teachers across the school had been working to include classes about the war into lessons.

Carolyne Lindsay, 54, of Oval Gardens, Gosport, was at the event to see her son.

She said she enjoyed carols and the performance of the Last Post.

She said: ‘It was lovely. It’s good to mark it – especially this year.’