War Game – Christmas Truce
I’m Will Private William Goddard. I’m the first person in my family who’s ever been a soldier. The first to fight for my country. Four months ago, I’d never even left Suffolk. I was a farm boy, and me and my brothers worked in the fields every day, and every weekend we played football, us and all the boys in the village. We were the Coldfield Village football team, and we won every game we played. We were the best in the whole county. That’s Lacey. He’s my older brother. And that’s our cousin, Freddie. He’s bit mad. Good goalie though! And now we’re all here, in France. Helping to fight the Germans. They’re over there, just past that barbed wire. I’ve seen some strange things in this odd place. Buildings, and whole villages, smashed to bits. Crowds of mice and rats. They’ve come from all over Europe, to try and steal our food. Target practice, with the enemy. Aeroplanes, high up in the sky. Birds, trying to make their nests in what’s left of the trees. The whole world gone topsy turvy. And at night, when the shelling starts, you look up, and it’s like the whole sky’s on fire, it’s like it’s breaking into pieces. A million pieces. The strangest thing of all happened on Christmas Day. The Germans started it. The whole of Christmas Eve, they were up singing Christmas carols. Then, in the morning… ‘Hello Tommy’ It was a game. A game between two armies. And it lasted all Christmas Day. But from then on, the officers watched us like hawks, and it was back to normal, back to the war. We guessed the Germans must have been having trouble with their officers as well. We couldn’t see anyone booting footballs about. Last night they launched the biggest attack ever. We held the line with everything we had, and they only moved forward a few hundred yards. Now it’s our turn to push them back. Our captain says we’re going to sort the whole mess out once and for all. A war only ends when somebody wins it he says. I close my eyes and I forget about everything. I’m playing a game back home, me and my brothers and all the other boys in the village. I dream the war is over and we’re playing football. Funny thing is, I bet the Germans are dreaming exactly the same thing. Wish me luck.