Young Swans pay respect to war heroes

15th November 2014

Swansea City Under-12s paid their respects to those who lost their lives in the First World War on Friday.
The young Swans, who are currently in Ypres, Belgium, to compete in the annual Premier League Christmas Truce Tournament, visited a series of war graves and attended the nightly Menin Gate Last Post Ceremony.

The Premier League has held the annual tournament every year since 2011 but moved qualifying for the tournament to Belgium to commemorate the centenary of the Christmas Truce and to officially open a third-generation artificial turf pitch that the league is gifting to Ypres.

The tournament was initially established as a way of commemorating one of the most unique acts in war history - the 1914 Christmas Truce football match, when troops on the front line during the First World War ceased fire on Christmas Day to exchange gifts and play football.

Before the young Swans kicked off their campaign, they increased their knowledge of the First World War by visiting Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world, and Dochy Farm New British Cemetery, where 1911 FA Cup finalist Jimmy Speirs is buried.

The squad also paid a visit to The Cromlech, a special monument in memory of the Welsh soldiers that died in the conflict, to lay a wreath on behalf of the club and The Royal British Legion.

On Friday night, players and coaching staff from all 20 Premier League clubs attended the nightly Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate, where Swans player James Gorman represented the club in laying another wreath in memory and respect to the 54,896 unknown British and Commonwealth soldiers who were killed while serving their country.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the Swans starlets kick-off their qualifying games in Group D against Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Sunderland and Leicester City.

The last two remaining teams of the 20 clubs will return to Belgium in December to play in the main Christmas Truce International tournament, where they will compete against academies from across Europe.