Christmas Eve, 1918
This is a fragment of a piece I posted for Armistice Day back in November. It seems fitting to post this today, Christmas Eve.
Looking through a box of photographs while clearing out my late parents’ house, I found my grandfather Richard Lovie’s notebook from the time of the Armistice. He was serving in the British Army in France at the time, and soon received orders to march to Germany.
During the Christmas truce of 1914 in the trenches of the Great War, British and German soldiers would shake hands, exchange cigarettes and even play football, soccer for my American readers. The truce started on Christmas Eve, a moonlit frosty night. British and German troops took turns singing carols, joining together to sing “Silent Night/Stille Nacht” in English and German.
Tucked in the back of my grandfather was a yellowed typewritten copy of the words to “Silent Night”, the title changed to “Peaceful Night”, and the words adapted to the celebrate the first peaceful Christmas Eve in four years.
According to his notebook, his unit was billeted at a farmhouse in Germany:
On Dec 24th we marched to a place called Louvenich where we were billeted at a farm, our section in four billets. Christmas day at Louvenich and we had a good dinner given to us by the people where we were staying.
Did my grandfather’s unit sing it with their German hosts on Christmas Eve, 1918? I choose to believe that they did. I’m glad my grandfather chose to keep that piece of paper. This year more than ever.
Thanks for reading. I wish you all a peaceful night.
You can read the full story of my grandfather’s notebook here: