#02601
Christmas 1914 (Mike Harding) video
See also: Christmas In The Trenches
(John McCutcheon)
#457: YouTube video by keltickev27
©2010 ~ Used with permission ~

Christmas Eve in 1914,
Stars were burning, burning bright;
And all along the Western Front,
Guns were lying still and quiet.
Men lay dozing in the trenches,
In the cold and in the dark;
And far away behind the lines,
A village dog began to bark.

Some lay thinking of their families,
Some sang songs while others were quiet,
Rolling fags and playing brag,
To while away that Christmas night.
But as they watched the German trenches,
Something moved in No Man's Land;
And through the dark came a soldier,
Carrying a white flag in his hand.

Then from both sides men came running,
Crossing into No Man's Land;
Through the barbed-wire, mud and shell holes,
Shyly stood there shaking hands.
Fritz brought out cigars and brandy,
Tommy brought corned beef and fags;
Stood there talking, singing, laughing,
As the moon shone on No Man's Land.

Christmas Day we all played football,
In the mud of No Man's Land;
Tommy brought some Christmas pudding,
Fritz brought out a German band.
When they beat us at football,
We shared out all the grub and drink;
And Fritz showed me a faded photo,
Of a dark-haired girl back in Berlin.

For four days after no one fired,
Not one shot disturbed the night;
For old Fritz and Tommy Atkins,
Both had lost the will to fight.
So they withdrew us from the trenches,
Sent us far behind the lines;
Sent fresh troops to take our places,
And told the guns: Prepare to fire!

And next night in 1914,
Flares were burning, burning bright;
The message came along the trenches,
Over the top we're going tonight.
And the men stood waiting in the trenches,
Looking out across our football park;
And all along the Western Front,
The Christian guns began to bark.

####.... Mike Harding ....####

Recorded by Mike Harding [b.1944] of Manchester, Lancashire, UK (Plutonium Alley, trk#5, 1989, Moonraker Studios, Manchester, UK, engineered by Peter Beckmann and Les Monteverde).

The video above features an excellent performance of a variant by Kev Thompson of Fife, Scotland.

Factual information about this unofficial truce can be found on these sites:
http://www.worldwar1.com/sfcitt.htm
http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/trenches.htm


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