29 Dec 1914 – The Christmas Truce
No 58 No 2 Co 5 Platoon
British Exp Force
Dear Mother & Father
Was delighted to receive your letters & parcel. The apples nuts choc socks &c were fine. I have not received your other parcel containing biscuits, stuff you could not get in the other parcel, but I suppose it is in the post. We were in the trenches Xmas eve and the night previous & in reserve in the breastworks [a type of WW1 trench] in the woods on Xmas day. While we were in the trenches we could here the Germans singing and also here music, some of them can speak fine English. On Xmas day our tommies & the Germans were walking about between the trenches & smoking with each other quite pally. It was a treat to hear no rifle fire all day. It is rumoured that the Dublins* are playing the Germans at footer today. We have had Princess Mary’s gift:- a nice little box containing 20 cigs & some tobacco & also a pipe. Another present we had from the 2nd Batt LRB: – letter case containing this paper, a small tin of butter ½lb a tin of condensed milk and a tin of cacao au lait & a handkerchief. Had a fine day Xmas under the circs and had a piece of pudding. Had another pipe from the “Daily Chronicle”. I am writing on PC now as space here is short. Shall be going up to the trenches again in a day or two. Cheer up all. Love to everyone.
Your affectionate Son
*Jack refers to the Dublins playing footer with the Germans. He is most likely referring to the 2nd Royal Dublin Fusliers who were also in Ploegsteert Wood which is where the LRB were entrenched. The Brigade war diary records the following for the 25 December 1914: Freezing – very quiet day. Practically no shooting.
Listen to a first hand account of the Christmas Truce (the link will take you to the Imperial War Museum website)