“Dearest mother, I have seen one of the most extraordinary sights…”
So begins a letter from a Scottish soldier in 1914 — a letter just published that confirms the Christmas Day football match between warring sides as seen through the eyes of a soldier for the first time, according to the Independent.
The Christmas Day Truce happened 100 years ago today, between England and Germany, when both sides laid down their weapons in a 2-day respite from World War I to wish each other Happy Christmas, exchange items — and play football.
“About 10 o’clock this morning I was peeping over the parapet when I saw a German, waving his arms, and presently two of them got out of their trench and came towards ours,” wrote Captain A D Chater in the letter.
“We were just going to fire on them when we saw they had no rifles, so one of our men went to meet them and in about two minutes the ground between the two lines of trenches was swarming with men and officers of both sides, shaking hands and wishing each other a happy Christmas.“
“I went out myself and shook hands with several of their officers and men,” Captain Chater wrote.
“From what I gathered most of them would be glad to get home again as we should – we have had our pipes playing all day and everyone has been walking about in the open unmolested.”
“We exchanged cigarettes and autographs, and some more people took photos.
“I don’t know how long it will go on for – I believe it was supposed to stop yesterday, but we can hear no firing going on along the front today except a little distant shelling.
“We are, at any rate, having another truce on New Year’s Day, as the Germans want to see how the photos come out!”
Thanks to the Good News Network for this post.