The reality of life as a young soldier in the First World War was brought home to Watford’s Under-12s at the 2018 Premier League Christmas Truce Tournament.
The club’s academy players had won their place at the tournament in the Belgian city of Ypres thanks to their studies on the conflict and, through a visit to cemeteries and trenches, they experienced at first-hand what men not much older than them endured 100 years ago.
"To think that only two years older than me they got let out of school, and six years older than me, when they were 18, they were recruited for war, makes me feel uncomfortable if that ever happened again," Dominic, one of the Watford Under-12 players, said.
"When we were walking through the trenches, it was damp, it was wet, some of the floors were unstable and it just made me feel uneasy being there for five minutes.
"I couldn’t imagine how uncomfortable they must have felt being in there for so many years."
Along with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Watford qualified for the finals thanks to an outstanding educational project on Walter Tull, a professional footballer and the first man of black heritage to become an officer and lead men into battle in the British Army.
Before they competed on the pitch against fellow English clubs and those from Belgium, France and Germany, the boys’ got to see where soldiers fought for their countries and commemorated where they died.
"It’s important to remember these people because they fought, and they've given their lives and they've given everything, and they really deserve the credit because they're the heroes for our country,” Amar said while visiting the Tyne Cot Memorial.
"From this visit I think I'll learn that so many people have given their lives, and this is a really good place to remember them and remember what they have done for the country."