Voices from the Christmas Truce

© Imperial War Museums Q 56213 Christmas 1914 - Building the breastwork in No Man's Land.

© Imperial War Museums Q 56213 Christmas 1914 – Building the breastwork in No Man’s Land.

Next week marks 100 years since the famous Christmas Truce of December 1914. In various places along the Western Front, the soldiers of Britain and her allies and German forces met in no man’s land and exchanged gifts, took photographs and some played impromptu games of football. They also buried casualties and repaired trenches and dugouts. In some cases, the truce lasted for hours or even days. Elsewhere the fighting continued and casualties did occur on Christmas Day.

Here are three incredible testimonies of men who took part in this extraordinary event.

 

–         Archibald Stanley

“We shook hands – they were Saxons – and I heard one fellow talking English. I said to him, ‘You speak English?’ You know what he said? ‘Cor blimey mate,’ he said, ‘I was in a London hotel when the war broke out!’ I thought that topped it. He’d got the London accent…” (IWM Sound Archive 11340)

Remember Archibald’s Life Story here

 

–         Frederick George Chandler

© Imperial War Museums Documents.15460 A page from Frederick's photo album, showing Christmas Day in the trenches.

© Imperial War Museums Documents.15460 A page from Frederick’s photo album, showing Christmas Day in the trenches.

“… an extraordinary thing occurred. Our men and the Germans got out of the trenches and met each other and chatted in great groups. The Germans in fact brought a barrel of beer over.” (IWM Documents.15460)

Do you have a personal story to add about Frederick? Share it here

 

         George Jameson

“Keith and Philip and Lesley Wood went off and they arrived back around about lunchtime, Keith with one of the Landwehr hats on – the grey thing with the red band round the button – Philip had a water bottle. They’d had drinks, they’d had smokes and they’d been walking about. He said, ‘You just wouldn’t believe it!’”  (IWM Sound Archive 7363)

Do you have a photo of George? Add it to his Life Story page

 

Do you know of a Christmas Truce personal story? Find, Remember and Share your connection on Lives of the First World War.

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