The Christmas Truce of 1914

The Christmas Truce of 1914 in the trenches of the First World War is one of those stores from the war that will remain talked about for many more years. We are fortunate to have in our collection a report of the Truce, written by Private Hutchings of the 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment. The Regiment’s part of the front line was opposite the 126th Saxon Regiment’s trenches, and both sides participated in the Truce. The report is handwritten with a small cap badge stuck to the top of the page.

The report reads (in his own words and spellings):

The Saxon Cap Badge was given to me with a cigar in exchange for my own in Xmas 1914

at Plougstreet Wood. The German Trenches were roughly 200 yds from ours.

Our Company Officers Name was Capt. Unwin. The Saxon’s were beckoning with their hands

for us to go over to their trench. But we shouted over that we would meet 

them half way so Capt Unwin asked for a volunteer. I happened to be standing 

by the side of him at the time and it fell my lot to go over and meet

one of the Saxon’s and a nice fellow he was. We shook hands and his first

words to me was Were there any Scotch Territorials out yet as he was 

himself a waiter in Glasgow. After that I cannot remember what was passed

between us as their was quite a little crowd of us. But we were the best of 

friends for the next seven days. We use to walk about on top of the trench

or in the front of it without any thing happening I remember one day

during the truce they accidentally killed one of our HQ Siggnlars

and they sent over and appologized and the last day of the truce,

one of their fellows brought over a message to say they had orders

to open fire with their auto matic machines but their first shots 

would be fired high. Capt Unwin in return gave him a box of 

chocolates. And they certainly acted according to message. Then we

were at war again I mentioned Saxon’s as they are to be relieved by

The Prussians.

Capt Unwin I believe was killed about the same time as Capt Fiddler

our late RSM 2nd Battle of Ypres I remember him so well. I walked into him after the retire

next I was walking along asleep.   Pte B Hutchings B. Coy.