Academy mark Christmas Truce

West Ham United marked the 100th anniversary of the famous Christmas Truce matches played between British and German soldiers in December 1914 by taking part in the annual Christmas Truce Tournament in Ypres, Belgium.

Alongside teams from the other 19 Premier League clubs, a 14-player squad made up of U12s and U11s finished 13th, winning three and losing three of their six games.

In addition to the tournament, the squad took part in educational activities to commemorate the centenary of the start of the First World War and the Christmas Truce, which saw soldiers from both sides down arms and meet in no man's land to exchange gifts and play football together.

The West Ham youngsters also visited to cemeteries at Dochy Farm (British), Tyne Cot (Commonwealth) and Langemark (German) as well as an evening memorial service at the famous Menin Gates.

While visiting the cemeteries, the young Hammers visited the grave of former West Ham player Frank Cannon. Born in Hertfordshire, Cannon won the Southern League title with Queens Park Rangers and scored in the first-ever Charity Shield match against Manchester United before joining West Ham in 1909. He played four games for the Club before joining New Brompton in 1910, going on to play for Port Vale before signing up to fight for his country. 

Inside-right Cannon served in the Bedfordshire Regiment and the Essex Regiment, where he rose to the rank of Sergeant Major. He was killed by shrapnel at Ypres on 15 February 1916 at the age of 27. A tribute was held at his graveside, with player Jacob Knightbridge laying a wreath on the club's behalf.

Frank Cannon
Frank Cannon

West Ham United U12s paid tribute to Sgt Maj Frank Cannon

Participation in the Christmas Truce tournament came as part of a wider commemoration of the start of the First World War. West Ham U12s Thomas Salter and Kallum Cesay joining their counterparts from 18 Premier League and eleven German clubs to take part in the recording of a special version of The Farm's All Together Now.

Proceeds from the sales of the single, which was originally released in 1991 and will be released in its new form on 15 December, will go to the British Red Cross and the Shorncliffe Trust, who are building a national education centre and heritage park in Kent to tell the story of the social impact that military life has on servicemen and women, their families and their community.