Christmas in the Trenches: Football really did happen for 1st Norfolks

Sainsbury's and The Royal British Legion partner to bring  First World War Christmas truce story to life http://youtu.be/NWF2JBb1bvM ANL-141219-123125001
Sainsbury's and The Royal British Legion partner to bring First World War Christmas truce story to life http://youtu.be/NWF2JBb1bvM ANL-141219-123125001

This is the final part of our Christmas in the Trenches series, featuring letters written by soldiers on the front line at Christmas 1914.

The letters were printed in the Lynn Advertiser during the early weeks of 1915.

Corporal Albert Wyatt, of A Company 1st Norfolks, wrote to his mother Mrs Wyatt, of Painter Street, Thetford, and after speaking of the way he and the troops enjoyed themselves in the trenches at Christmas says it was undoubtedly the most historic Christmas ever spent on a battlefield.

The company paraded on the 24th to go to the trenches. We had a good march and when we arrived everything was very quiet. There was no rifle fire as usual.

We had been in the trenches only a short time when we heard someone singing Christmas hymns. Then all at once someone shouted out two or three times in English. To our surprise it was a voice from the German trenches and then the Germans started singing hymns together. They carried this on nearly all night and it was a fine night with a sharp frost.

On Christmas morning it was foggy and we could not see far in front of us until noon and then we heard the Germans say: “Come over here we will not fight”.

They [the Germans] then came out of their trenches and started walking about. Then all at once the Germans started coming to our trenches and two or three of our chaps went out to meet them. When they met the Germans spoke in English and they wished us a merry Christmas.

Then the fun began. Everybody in the trenches stepped out into the middle of the firing lines and shook hands and wished each other a merry Christmas.

To our surprise we found we were fighting Germans old enough to be our fathers.

They told us they had had enough of the war as they were nearly all married men.

We finished up by kicking a football about together between the two firing lines. Football in the firing line between the British and German troops is the truth as I played myself.