All Quiet on the Western Front – Christmas 1914
On Christmas Eve 1914 in northern France a frost set in. It had been raining for weeks, filling the trenches to waist height with water, soaking spirits, drowning hope. So acute was this drop in temperature, that it froze solid the soldiers’ great coats and hardened their boots. The men themselves were “frozen to the marrow”.
Christmas morning rose foggy and then turned into a freezing day.
Along certain sections of the front, a truce was called. The Germans seemed to have made the first move.
Soldiers from both camps rose cautiously from their trenches, climbed up and started to walk in No Man’s Land, unarmed, some bearing white flags. The frosty weather had dried the filthy mud solid. It facilitated the soldiers’ passage across the free zone.
Exiting their trenches was counter to the orders given by many, although not all, superior officers on both sides of the war – “no fraternising’ – but the men were ready for respite, a few hours of peace. It was Christmas, after all, and it seemed a perfect moment to remember those who had died or were missing and loved ones back home.
They shook hands with their enemies, then smoked cigarettes or cigars, sipped schnapps, sang songs – ragtime, Christmas Carols, Music Hall ditties, and even played football (in some cases using sandwiches for balls). Allies and Germans together. Peace for a few hours. Some exchanged gifts (chocolate cake, tobacco). One unit was offered a gift of two barrels of French beer by the Germans which they rolled back to their trench and consumed. Later, the Germans called out to the Tommies. How’s the beer? They and their enemy were in agreement that the French beer was lousy.
Some shared thoughts of their families, showed photographs of their sweethearts back home, waiting and praying for their safe return. Others enquired of the status of certain of their comrades. The Germans were able to confirm that this soldier or that officer had died and had been buried, or…
To read the full article visit http://the-history-girls.blogspot.fr/
- Interview with Carol Drinkwater, author of the Olive Series The Good Life France. 0
- Daily Mail: Emotional ties with actress and author Carol Drinkwater Carol on notebooks, her obsession with olives, getting married in the Cook Islands, showbiz running in the family and her days on All Creatures Great & Small 0
- 'As a young actress, I would spend everything that I'd earn on travelling…' Irish Indpendent. Louisa McBride interviews Carol Drinkwater. 0
- Where are they now? Actress and author Carol Drinkwater. STAGE and screen actress Carol played Helen Herriot in the popular TV series All Creatures Great And Small (1978-1985) with Robert Hardy, Christopher Timothy and Peter Davison. 0
- A Python’s Paradise: Carol Drinkwater Interview A Clockwork Orange 50th anniversary exclusive! 0
- The Irish Times, December 2017 From award-winning actor to bestselling author: John Rainsford discovers the emotional outpouring behind the writer’s latest novel. 0
- Carol Drinkwater Lives the Good Life in France (and Writes About It Too) The Thin Reads Interview with Carol Drinkwater, Author of “Hotel Paradise” 0
- Interview for WAMC's The Roundtable, Northeast Public Radio USA An award-winning, nationally recognized eclectic talk program. 0