7
   

THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE

 
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Dec, 2010 04:08 pm
Thanks Mc T, i would appreciate that.
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Dec, 2010 04:41 pm
@edgarblythe,
I just realized I posted the same song. It's a powerful theme.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 25 Dec, 2010 05:01 pm
@Setanta,
Thanks. I was drawn into the Somme from the book, Birdsong, by Faulks.

I have read Tuchman, but not that one - A Distant Mirror.

I always find it hard to read how people wrote (meaningfully) and then were killed. I should be used to it, but it still gets me.

Hamburgboy, strong photo, and it's only a photo of the end matters. The end or the visualization of anguish..
I know I am just an observer.


Last time I was in LA, a year ago, I visited my father's and mother's grave in the west los angeles VA cemetery just before I caught the plane back here to New Mexico. I took photos, but haven't managed to get them into my computer. That whole trip is a nugget still in my camera, or I hope it is.

On the cemetery, I used to work across the street - my lab faced the cemetery at a time when ceremonies with taps were way too numerous. I could hear the taps through my lab windows.


I should add that my uncle Charlie forever after suffered from his mustard gassing. But I don't know where he fought, and none of the family left now does either. Do any of you know if WWI US records are traceable?
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Dec, 2010 04:08 am
@ossobuco,
Yes, the records of the United States Army in the First World War are traceable. You need the full name of the individual, and if you have the service number (no SS numbers used in those days), it would actually be quite simple. However, you probably don't have standing to access them.
Lambchop
 
  2  
Reply Sun 26 Dec, 2010 12:11 pm
I read a book called, "Testament of Youth," by Vera Brittain. It's about her years serving as a nurse (right on the front lines) during WWI. It's one of the best autobiographies I've ever read, so I don't know why it isn't better known.

I think WWI has been so overshadowed by WWII, that many people aren't aware of the terrible carnage that happened during the first World War. The Germans had just invented mustard gas, and the injuries that so many of the men sustained were pretty horrible.

But paradoxically, it makes the whole idea of a spontaneous Christmas truce even more poignant and incredible! Thanks for the interesting post, Setanta.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 26 Dec, 2010 12:31 pm
You're welcome, Boss . . . i'd not have thought of it had i not heard that interview on the radio . . .
0 Replies
 
eurocelticyankee
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Dec, 2010 05:30 pm
Here's the proof that it did happen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_97lFLTJsA
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 Dec, 2010 05:50 pm
@Setanta,
Hmm. True, I probably don't have standing - and he and my aunt had no children. I don't have any of his papers (long story involving strange neighbor).
I do have his school books and love for dogs.
Thanks.
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 01:05 pm
@Setanta,

Quote:
Thanks Mc T, i would appreciate that.


Well, I've got that Christmas card now. The picture, a photograph, shows some dishevelled, unshaven and slightly bemused young soldiers, in a mixture of uniforms. It could well be genuine and contemporary.

The message on the card is PEACE ON EARTH and, in smaller script, Christmas Truce 1914.

It quotes part of a letter, in translation:

“Next morning the mist was slow to clear and suddenly my orderly threw himself into my dugout to say that both the German and Scottish soldiers had come out of their trenches and were fraternising along the front. I grabbed my binoculars and looking cautiously over the parapet saw the incredible sight of our soldiers exchanging cigarettes, schnapps and chocolate with the enemy. Later a Scottish soldier appeared with a football which seemed to come from nowhere and a few minutes later a real football match got underway. The Scots marked their goal mouth with their strange caps and we did the same with ours. It was far from easy to play on the frozen ground, but we continued, keeping rigorously to the rules, despite the fact that it only lasted an hour and that we had no referee. A great many of the passes went wide, but all the amateur footballers, although they must have been very tired, played with huge enthusiasm.

Us Germans really roared when a gust of wind revealed that the Scots wore no drawers under their kilts – and hooted and whistled every time they caught an impudent glimpse of one posterior belonging to one of “yesterday’s enemies”. But after an hour’s play, when our Commanding Officer heard about it, he sent an order that we must put a stop to it. A little later we drifted back to our trenches and the fraternisation ended.

The game finished with a score of three goals to two in favour of Fritz against Tommy”

Lt Johannes Niemann, 133rd Royal Saxon Regiment.


Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Dec, 2010 06:41 am
Very cool, McT . . . i appreciate your contribution. Did you see Hamburger's post about the 1916 truce?
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Dec, 2010 06:43 am
@Setanta,
Sir, yes, sir!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Dec, 2010 06:52 am
I was raised by my grandparents, and my grandfather was a veteran of that war--so i always felt as close to the event as many of my contemporaries have to the Second World War, in which one or both of their parents served.
0 Replies
 
hamburgboy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Dec, 2010 10:10 am
@McTag,
hi , mctag :

Quote:
Us Germans really roared when a gust of wind revealed that the Scots wore no drawers under their kilts


i find that remark very interesting indeed . my dad sometimescommented on the " no drawers " ( unterhosen ) dress fashion of the scottish soldiers .

have a safe and sound 2011 !
hbg

 http://www.strangeoldepictures.com/images/content/155205.jpg
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Wed 29 Dec, 2010 01:53 pm
@hamburgboy,

Hi Hbg

Safe, sound and breezy.

I sure will. You too, my friend.
0 Replies
 
 

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