Today, there are four birthday celebrants which include my great-nephew, John Morris, who lives with his parents (Carol and Dougie Morris) in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire. We also wish a happy birthday to Andrew Murray who also lives in Cleckheaton and Linda McShane (Was Midgley) who also lives in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire. Our fourth birthday celebrant is Craig Solberg who lives across the pond in Denver, North Carolina, U.S.A. Enjoy your special day, John, Andrew, Linda, and Craig. Bill xxx
Today’s song is ‘Christmas Day: 1915’.
Late on Christmas Eve 1914, men of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) heard German troops in the trenches opposite them singing carols and patriotic songs and saw lanterns and small fir trees along their trenches. Messages began to be shouted between the trenches by the German and British soldiers. The following day, British and German soldiers 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 while their guns were silenced. The truce was not observed everywhere along the Western Front. Elsewhere the fighting continued, and casualties did occur on Christmas Day. Some officers were unhappy at the truce and worried that it would undermine the fighting spirit. After 1914, the High Commands on both sides tried to prevent any truces on a similar scale from happening again. Despite this, there were some isolated incidents of soldiers holding brief truces later in the war. Today’s Christmas song refers to one such truce on the front line.
After the ‘First World War’, a diary from a ‘World War One’ soldier (Private Robert Keating) came to light, providing details of another Christmas truce which took place on the front-line during Christmas Day of 1915. Private Robert Keating's account explains how a ceasefire was held by some men despite orders from officers who did not want a repeat of a 1914 truce. Although this brief truce on Christmas Day 1915 between enemy forces lasted only a few hours, during it the British and German soldiers left their respective trenches and mingled together in ‘No Man’s Land’, where they reportedly exchanged pleasantries, drank wine together, took photographs and sang songs. Afterward, both sides returned to their trenches and resumed firing upon each other, and killing each other once more!
Today’s Christmas song tells that story. Merry Christmas 2020 to one and all from Bill and Sheila. Love and peace xxx