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Corporal Fred Wilde
"D" Company
2nd Batt, York and Lancs. Regt.
British Expeditionary Force

"Their [the Germans] concert stopped and a medley of voices ensued. Above the rest could be heard: "Englishman you can sing us a song," "Englishman what do you want?" "Englishman you no shoot and I come to you." This started our fellows going. The regiment on our left sang "While Sheperds Watched," Tipperary and the National Anthem...." Fred Wilde 20 Jan. 1915


Jan. 20th, 1915

Dear Mother and Father:

In answer to your welcome letter dated Jan. 7th you will have received the parcel alright. It is hard to believe, as you state in your letter about the truce at Christmas. Well the following are a few facts that happened in our line on Christmas eve. To begin with the firing practically ceased about 6 p.m. and the Germans could be heard harmonising in the distance. They sang loud and we began to take a little interest in their choruses. As the night grew on they either became nervous or dissatisfied with our silence so began to "feel our pulse" as it were. Their concert stopped and a medley of voices ensued. Above the rest could be heard: "Englishman you can sing us a song," "Englishman what do you want?" "Englishman you no shoot and I come to you." This started our fellows going. The regiment on our left sang "While Sheperds Watched," Tipperary and the National Anthem. They had hardly started the second verse of God Save the King when the Germans disliking either the tune or words aimed a bomb at the singers, it fell short however not hurting anybody. This treachery ended the frist part of the night's experience.

Our chaps continued firing an occasional shot, then the Germans started shouting and singing again, and all firing ceased. A corporal of the regiment just on our left went over as far as the German barbed wire and they came out to meet him. He took them some newspapers and cigarettes. The corporal mentioned came into the trench where I was, and he told us that two of the German officers and some men came out to him and exchanged greetings. One of the officers gave him a cigar. I cannot give you the exact conversation that they had between them but according to what the Corporal said, the Germans are under the impression that we are a beaten army, and that the Russians are absolutely surrounded. When the Corporal was leaving them they shook hands and they wanted him to be their prisoner. He said, "No, I have played the game you play the game," the German officer said "Yes, alright get back,: or words to that effect. I heard two of the Germans shouting " don't shoot we are bringing you some cake." They were told to go back, but they would not, they came right up to our trenches. Eventually they went back. Of course this did not happen in my trench but a little to the left.

The night was peaceful and most Christmas day. The enemy seemed to be having concerts among themselves, according to the singing we could hear. Anyhow, hostilities commenced again on Christmas night. Of course what I have written happened within hearing of where I was. I cannot vouch for what occured further along the line. You must understand that the firing line is a good many miles long. I have very little more to say at present. I send my love to all, hoping all are in the best of health and spirits as I am at present. Cheer up better times in store.

From your loving son,

FRED WILDE

7991 Corporal Fred Wilde,
"D" Company,
2nd Batt, York and Lancs. Regt.,
British Expeditionary Force.

GENUKI All English Genealogy site

AllEnglishRecords.com United Kingdom Census Records, Church Records, Cemetery Records, Parish Records

St. Marys Journal Argus, St. Marys Ontario

Mrs. Wilde, Water St., South, has received from England, an interesting letter written by her husband to his parents in the Old Land describing the "Christmas Truce" about which the newspapers had so much to say. Corporal Wilde left St. Marys early in August to join his regiment and has been at the front almost since the beginning of the war.



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