Christmas in the Trenches

The guns fell silent and white flakes drifted gently down from a lowering sky. On one side, concealed within the deep scar of a trench, crouched the defenders –the Patriots – still reliving the last furious encounter with the enemy. On the other side of the desolate field, cratered with the remains of constant bombardment, the British Bombardiers Company (BBC) wondered whether yet another broadcast plea to the rebels was worth trying.

Then, quite suddenly, a head appeared at the lip of the little gully. Eyes peered through the billowing snow towards the Patriots. A ragged garment – was it a dirty cotton vest – broke surface tied to a splinter of wooden pit prop. Slowly, arms extended on either side, the green-clad figure emerged fully on the empty plain. The tattered flag hung limply from his hand. A whistle sounded and, clearly echoing in the stillness, a voice bellowed: ‘Enemy in sight.’ The ratcheting sound of weapons being cocked could be heard. Followed by more silence.

Instead of the exploding bedlam of frightened men firing erratically, the still silence persisted. On either side exhausted fighters lay in the cold mud, each praying to himself that it would continue. One whispered: ‘What’s written on the flag?’ Holding the binoculars steady his mate read slowly: ‘Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation.’

Down the line a Patriot climbed unsteadily out of the freezing earth tomb and moved stiffly towards the other man. Behind him, eyes widened at the sight of an unarmed man risking everything in a deadly arena where the slightest movement always triggered a fusillade. They approached each other carefully, eyes never leaving the other, until they were close enough to touch.

Each saw, not a combatant nor an enemy, but a mirror image of himself. As they stood, uncomprehending, irregular lines of uniformed men were converging slowly all along the trench lines. At first language was difficult but soon the sound of animated conversation and laughter resounded in the snowy air.

Cigarettes were exchanged, chocolate shared. A football bumped through shell craters.

Minutes later, without signal, the lines began drifting apart, reversing at first then turning their backs. One by one the figures disappeared back into the ground, to await the order to fire. The void of no man’s land was restored as if nothing had ever happened. The silence descended again with the snow, unbroken by birdsong.

Merry Christmas, one and all…

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15 thoughts on “Christmas in the Trenches

  1. Nah! The British Bombardiers Company don’t do truces in any shape or form. They have all the cigarettes and chocolate they need. With the backup forces they have they see no need to trade with the Patriots.

    Have a great festive season and guid new year you old apologist.


  2. I think, you will find that the bbc has more in common schutzstaffel than the common soldier in the trenches.

  3. A very thoughtful post if i may say trust you to get the last word in , I do hope all your followers absorb this post and actually read it through , it puts in perspective what your previous post was trying to get over i believe .
    All the best to you and all readers of your blog ,keep going most people do respect an alternative point of view even though sometimes we dont always agree .
    Merry Christmas and lets hope for a better year ahead maybe Truth will shine in 2017 because it’s been in short supply this year .

  4. A breakout of peace in the world is something we all desperately need about now.

    All the very best of the festive season to you and yours Derek.

  5. I enjoyed reading that, I’m sure the Patriots in the opposing trenches had always had respect for those in the Bombardiers trenches.

    However, they had none for the Bombardiers Generals who had gotten them into this bloody mess in the first place!

    Have a good festive period Derek with you and yours. There will be work to be done next year I’m sure.

  6. Excellent Derek, is a white cotton vest on your list to Santa?

    The philosophical dilemma is, how does humanity escape the tyranny of wage slavery? It does seem so unnecessary, and viewpoints could then be freely expressed.

    And the excessively wealthy what have they gained? They age and die too.

  7. So who are the donkeys and who are lions?

    Marry Christmas to Derek and all contributors and readers.

  8. Was it Andrew Neil’s white vest the Bombardiers were waving?
    Marry Christmas and all the best for 2017 to you and yours, Derek.

  9. “And so this is Christmas…

    War is over over
    If you want it
    War is over
    Now…” Lennon

    Ask Santa for “The BBC: Myth of a Public Service” by Tom Mills.

  10. Steve Asaneilean

    Thanks for this Derek – excellent piece of writing.

    But sadly I think it’s not an issue about who they speak to but rather who they speak for.

    Have a lovely festive season.

  11. I’m can’t make out what the “British Bombardiers Company” had to offer or were offering in the ‘truce’.

  12. I wish to march towards the sound of gunfire again. Cry Freedom and let loose the hounds of debate.

  13. No doubt 2 minute highlights of the kick around with the Patriots will be covered at 11 oclock on a Sunday night after Match of the Day 2 is finished and all the weans are in bed. Lol
    Merry Christmas Derek , I hope you enjoy some well earned RnR away from the Front but return to action in the New Year with a full case of Ammo !
    All the best sir

  14. Peace and goodwill to all men.

    Many thanks to you for your wonderful , insightful, informative, well written and considered opinions via your blogs.

    I hope you and yours have an excellent Xmas and wish you the continued success you deserve in the year/s to come.

    Thank you.

  15. all the best, Derek. See you at the far post.

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