Back to index of Nerve 25 - Winter 2014

All Together Now! - Christmas Truce statue for a centenary

By Tom Calderbank
Statue: Andy Edwards

On 25th December 1914, as day dawned over a Flanders battlefield, soldiers who had faced each other in battle climbed out of their trenches. In the middle of no-man’s land the battle-weary soldiers, who had hours before been intent on fighting each other, tentatively shook hands. Most could not speak each other’s language, but gifts of cigars and food were exchanged as the sounds of war were silenced for a moment in time.

Amidst this uneasy peace, someone produced a football and the war was left behind. The soldiers threw off their tiredness and as if they were playing in a local park, the opposing forces united as one and began to play. Peace broke out, men became boys again and for a short time they could forget the cold, the wet and their fear. The game set them free.

A hundred years on, an iconic statue is now being created to commemorate and celebrate this truce and the most famous football game in history. It will be a symbol of peace and hope and a call for a renewed worldwide cessation of violence in honour of those brave boys who “joined together and decided not to fight”.

The resin sculpture will be transported from Liverpool and be exhibited in Germany, before travelling to Flanders to be temporarily installed on the site of the truce on Christmas Day, 100 years on.

The work being sculpted is entitled ‘All Together Now’, recalling the song by The Farm - coincidentally being re-released also to mark the centenary - which was inspired by the truce.

The statue depicts the meeting of a British and a German soldier over a football, deep in the mud between the lines on that first Christmas of the war. The soldiers appear to be shaking hands but are not not quite touching, forming a space in which a visitor can insert their own hand to complete the union. A chance for a moments reflection on how far we are from true peace and brotherhood and the part each of us has to play in that dream. We want the work to stand as both a celebration of this inspirational and heroic event and as symbol of hope and peace.

See the Cultural Programme for the 15th-21st December 2014 here

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