- Six state occasions, exhibitions and school trips to battlefields and graves
- Government backs commemorations with £50 million
Truce: A depiction of British and German soldiers playing football in 'No Man's Land' on the battlefield in World War One. It will be be recreated next year
But much of the interest will centre on football because of that poignant meeting in 'No Man's Land' in Flanders between the trenches that signalled a Christmas truce along the western front. Children from the UK and Germany may be involved in any match, or tournament, staged next year, said Andrew Murrison, the minister in charge of overseeing the commemorations. The Football Association and the National Children's Football Alliance have been approached and are 'enthused' about the project. Mr Murrison told the Guardian: 'I think football has a particular part to play. It is clear the Christmas truce is going to be commemorated in a very significant way. 'It had no real relevance to the outcome of the war but at that deeply, intensely, personal level, it is something that people really do latch on to.'
A moment of peace: The warring sides stop firing to shake hands and talk during the Christmas truce in 1914 along the western front.
Two pupil 'ambassadors' and a teacher from every state secondary school are expected to be sent to battlefields in northern France. Mr Murrison said that seeing the names on tombstones was 'very powerful' and it made a 'big impact on children who had visited the graves of the fallen. The biggest collection of documents and memorabilia about the Great War is being set up in a digital archive by the Imperial War Museum. It will open new galleries, said the paper, and show a new film about the battle of the Somme in 1916 in which more there were one million casualties on both sides. The BBC is expected to commission programmes telling the stories of individual soldiers. Author Sebastian Faulks, who wrote about the war in his bestseller Birdsong, is one of a number of experts advising ministers about the commemorations. They include historians Professor Michael Burleigh and Sir Hew Strachan, and Lord Stirrup and Lord Guthrie, both former chiefs of the defence staff. A number of German officials will be part of a national church service held in Britain to commemorate the beginning of the conflict on August, 4, 1914. The events proposed over the coming years include marking the battle of Gallipoliin in April 2015, the first day of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 2016, the naval battle of Jutland in May/June 2017, the battle of Passchendale in June/November 2017. The final 100 days leading to Armistice Day on 11 November Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk