‘From The Observer comes a great article about the « one man who remembers the 1914 Christmas Truce »:
‘The words drifted across the frozen battlefield: ‘Stille Nacht. Heilige Nacht. Alles Schlaft, einsam wacht’. To the ears of the British troops peering over their trench, the lyrics may have been unfamiliar but the haunting tune was unmistakable. After the last note a lone German infantryman appeared holding a small tree glowing with light. ‘Merry Christmas. We not shoot, you not shoot.’ It was just after dawn on a bitingly cold Christmas Day in 1914, 90 years ago on Saturday, and one of the most extraordinary incidents of the Great War was about to unfold. Weary men climbed hesitantly at first out of trenches and stumbled into no man’s land. They shook hands, sang carols, lit each other’s cigarettes, swapped tunic buttons and addresses and, most famously, played football, kicking around empty bully-beef cans and using their caps or steel helmets as goalposts. The unauthorised Christmas truce spread across much of the 500-mile Western Front where more than a million men were encamped.
‘According to records held by the World War One Veterans’ Association, there is only one man in the world still alive who spent 25 December 1914 serving in a conflict that left 31 million people dead, wounded or missing. Alfred Anderson was 18 at the time. Speaking to The Observer, Anderson has revealed remarkable new details of the day etched on history, including pictures of Christmas gifts sent to the troops.’
Fascinating. That’s a man I’d love to meet and interview.