702 – Quote on The Christmas Truce

“I went to rest, and lying on my cot, I must have drifted asleep. At once my friend awoke me, saying, ‘Come and see! See what the Germans are doing!’ I grabbed my rifle, stumbled out into the trench, and stuck my head cautiously above the sandbags. And I  saw clusters of tiny lights were shining all along the German line.

Bewildered by the sight I realized they were Christmas trees! And so it was. The Germans had placed Christmas trees along their trenches. And then we heard their voices raised in song, ‘Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht…’, they were singing the carol ‘Silent Night’.

When the song finished, the men in our trenches applauded the German soldiers. We thought that we ought to retaliate in some way, so we sang ‘The First Noel’, and when we finished that they all began clapping; and then they struck up another favourite of theirs, ‘O Tannenbaum’. And so it went on.

First the Germans would sing one of their carols, and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words ‘Adeste Fideles’. And I thought, well, this was really a most extraordinary thing – two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.”

–British Soldier During World War I on the Christmas Truce of 1914 [Likely derived from the work of Aaron Shepard, See Source for Details]

Quote Number:  217

Source: Near certainly derived, given how closely it follows the text, from Shepard, Aaron. The Christmas Truce. Skyhook Press: Australia. 2014. Full Text Online Here.

Source Notes: 

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