The Catholic Men's Podcast

#53 The Christmas Truce of 1914

Chivalry in Modern War

a month ago

"Dear Mother, I am writing from the trenches. It is 11 o'clock in the morning. Beside me is a coke fire, opposite me a 'dug-out' (wet) with straw in it. The ground is sloppy in the actual trench, but frozen elsewhere. In my mouth is a pipe presented by the Princess Mary. In the pipe is tobacco. Of course, you say. But wait. In the pipe is German tobacco. Haha, you say, from a prisoner or found in a captured trench. Oh dear, no! From a German soldier. Yes a live German soldier from his own trench. Yesterday the British & Germans met & shook hands in the Ground between the trenches, & exchanged souvenirs, & shook hands. Yes, all day Christmas day, & as I write. Marvellous, isn't it?"-Private Henry Williamson, Age 19, London Rifle Brigade

Interview of Marmaduke Leslie Walkinton, British private served with 1/16th Bn (Queen's Westminster Rifles) © IWM

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