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West Ham youngsters learn about First World War

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 December 2016

West Ham United under-12s were given a history lesson about the First World War ahead of the Premier League Truce Tournament in Belgium (pic whufc.com)

West Ham United under-12s were given a history lesson about the First World War ahead of the Premier League Truce Tournament in Belgium (pic whufc.com)

Griffiths Photographers NO FREE USE

Under-12 squad prepare for Premier League Truce tournament

West Ham United under-12s were given a history lesson about the First World War ahead of the Premier League Truce Tournament in Belgium (pic whufc.com) West Ham United under-12s were given a history lesson about the First World War ahead of the Premier League Truce Tournament in Belgium (pic whufc.com)

A group of 20 West Ham United Academy players, who will travel to Belgium to play in the Premier League Truce Tournament, took part in an educational session focused on the role of former Hammers players in the First World War recently.

The 90-minute session at the Chadwell Heath training ground was led by West Ham Head of Education Martyn Heather and a guide from Anglia Tours, which specialises in fully-guided school battlefield trips.

The young Hammers are one of four UK youth teams who will travel to Ypres, Belgium to compete in the Premier League Truce Tournament against European opposition, including Paris Saint-Germain this weekend (December 10-11).

As well as the football competition element, the group will have a day of education where they visit museums, memorials and Allied and German war cemeteries.

They will also observe a Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate, the memorial for unknown soldiers.

Heather said: “I am aware of 11 former West Ham United players who fought in World War One, though I suspect there are more. At least seven of them died, among them Frank Cannon, Fred Griffiths, William Kirby and Frank Costello.

“The boys will visit the graves of some players in order to pay their respects. The Premier League Truce Tournament helps give all of the young players a background on what footballers, who would have been just a few years older than they are now, would have encountered during the War.

“It is important that the young players gain an understanding of how significant the truce was in unifying those who had been fighting so vehemently against each other.”

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