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
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.