Troops in Gallipoli at Christmas 1914, standing around in there winter coats.

1914 Christmas Truce

22 Dec 2014
Perhaps you have heard the moving story of the famous “Christmas Truce” of World War I, which took place on the Western Front 100 years ago this week?

New Zealand troops were not involved in the “Christmas Truce” as they did not arrive in Europe until 1916, after first taking part in the disastrous Gallipoli campaign. However, a first-person account, recalling the extraordinary events of Christmas 1914 is held in the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Radio Collection. In this recording an unidentified Englishman remembers how his company of the Bedfordshire Regiment saw the twinkling of lights from the German trenches and heard carols being sung, before venturing out to join the enemy in no-man’s land.

Hero image: Troops in Gallipoli in 1914.

The Christmas Truce, 1914 - World War I. (Archival audio from the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of Copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact us.)

The speaker is probably Charles Herbert Brewer, who in 1914 was a 19-year-old lieutenant with the Bedfordshires, and later became a producer with the BBC. He worked for many years on the “Scrapbook” series of programmes, in which the historic events of different years were recalled by those who were there. This recording may originally have been produced for “Scrapbook 1914”, which was recorded in 1957.

We invite you to reflect on this recording and hope that you find plenty of goodwill in your own lives this festive session.

Season’s Greetings from all of us at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.