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New Year and World War One

New Year and World War One

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New Year's celebrations in the trenches are not as well recorded as Christmas celebrations but they occurred nevertheless. Both sides on the Western Front experienced the horrors of trench life in World War One and did what they could to relieve the monotony and tension. The Xmas truce in 1914 was one such example but it was followed by a New Year's truce as 1914 gave way to 1915. Karl Aldage, fighting in the German trenches, wrote about his experience.

“On New Year's Eve we called across to tell each other the time and agreed to fire a salvo at 12. It was a cold night. We sang songs, and they clapped (we were only about 60 to 70 yards apart); we played the mouth organ and they sang and we clapped. Then I asked if they hadn't got any musical instruments, and they produced bagpipes (they are the Scots Guards, with their short petticoats and bare legs) and they played some of their beautiful elegies on them, and sang, too. Then at 12 we all fired salvos into the air. Then there were a few shots from our guns (I don't know what they were firing at) and the usually so dangerous Verey lights crackled like fireworks, and we waved torches and cheered. We had brewed some grog and drank the toast of the Kaiser and the New Year. It was a real good 'Silvester', just like peacetime.”