British Expeditionary Force, Friday December 25th 1914
My Dear Mater,
This will be the most memorable Christmas I’ve ever spent or likely to spend: since about tea time yesterday I don’t think there has been a shot fired on either side up to now. Last night turned a very clear frost moonlight night, so soon after dusk we had some decent fires going and had a few carols and songs. The Germans commenced by placing lights all along the edges of their trenches and coming over to us – wishing us a Happy Christmas etc … Some of our chaps went over to their lines. I think they’ve all come back bar one from ‘E’ Co. They no doubt kept him as a souvenir.
There must be something in the spirit of Christmas as to day we are all on top of our trenches running about … We also had some of the post this morning. I had a parcel from B.G’s Lace Department containing a sweater, smokes, under clothes etc. We also had a card from the Queen… After breakfast we had a game of football at the back of our trenches! We’ve had a few Germans over to see us this morning. They also sent a party to bury a sniper we shot in the week…About 10.30 we had a short church parade the morning service etc. held in the trench …Our dinner started off with fried bacon and dip-bread: followed by hot Xmas Pudding. I had a mascot in my piece. Next item on the menu was muscatels and almonds, oranges, bananas, chocolate etc. followed by cocoa and smokes. You can guess we thought of the dinner at home.
Just before dinner I had the pleasure of shaking hands with several Germans … I exchanged one of my balaclavas for a hat. I’ve also got a button off one of their tunics. We also exchanged smokes etc. and had a decent chat. They say they won’t fire tomorrow if we don’t so I suppose we shall get a bit of a holiday – perhaps… We can hardly believe that we’ve been firing at them … it all seems so strange.
With much love from Boy.
Letter from an unknown soldier bought at auction on 7th December 2006 by the singer Chris de Burgh.