Like many of you reading this, I have long been captivated by the Christmas Truce in World War 1; THE “football match” between British and German soldiers is a story we all know.
Apart from the football match, the truth is many, many thousands of soldiers just stopped fighting during this “unofficial” truce. There are plentiful stories of young men putting down their guns and wandering over to the other side to exchange gifts and engage in bartering over military buttons, fags, and booze.
A story I particularly like (told by Bruce Bairnsfather – the first world war soldier and illustrator) is of a young Tommy with hair dressing skills, offering free short, back, and sides to his German Counterparts. Much hilarity was caused when a very young German soldier with highly noticeable flowing blonde locks was seen kneeling down patiently in front of said Tommy, while he got to work with his clippers to make him look more “soldier” like.
This morning at 11am, I will wander off to a field at the top of our field. Wild poppies grow there. They always strike me as so fragile – beautiful and fragile at the same time.
I’ll be quiet for a few minutes up there and just be still. Perhaps this year I will wonder how it is that one day young men can be singing Christmas Carols with each other and the next, find themselves killing each other…!
Whatever the reasons – they are beyond tragic.