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A veritable truce of God

19 December 2014

January 8th, 1915.

LETTERS from the Front inform us that on Christmas Day there was a veritable Truce of God. Towards midnight on Christmas Eve, suddenly and by a common impulse, those who were enemies a moment before were sending each other Christmas greetings across the space between the lines of Germans and English.

All through Christmas Day, hostilities were suspended, and Germans and English walked up and down together, talking and exchanging gifts as though they were the best of friends. For one short period, they helped each other to give decent burial to the slain.

In one instance, the English Chaplain and German Commanding Officer were seen each taking something out of his cap and giving it to the other. The chaplain's souvenir was a copy of "The Soldier's Prayer", and the commander's was a photograph.

He had, it appears, come across a dying English officer who was vainly struggling to take something from his pocket. The German kindly helped him, and what he found was the photograph of the Englishman's wife. This he held before the dying man's eyes until his last breath. Thanks to his goodness and the happy meeting on Christmas Day, the picture is now in the hands of the dead man's friends.

A humorous incident was added in several instances where men recognised among their German enemy-friends former daily fellow-travellers by train from Finsbury Park and elsewhere. It is pitiful that, on the stroke of midnight, they had to resume their bloody work, but we can be thankful to have seen even this small touch of that human kindness that makes the whole world kind.

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