Header Copy

Covering the villages of Wilsden and Harecroft
29th December 1914 - 4th January 1915

This week in 1914-1915

“Sister Susie’s sewing shirts for soldiers

Such skill at sewing shirts our shy young sister Susie shows

Some soldiers send epistles

Say they’d rather sleep on thistles

Than the saucy, soft, short shirts for soldiers sister Susie sews”

- Tongue-twister popular in the trenches, winter 1914-15

  • January 1st – The British battleship HMS Formidable is sunk by a German U-Boat whilst on manoeuvres in the English Channel


“CHRISTMAS CONDITIONS IN KEIGHLEY

The shadow of the Great War prevented the Christmas of 1914 from being exactly a merry one, and in Keighley, as in most other places, the festival was celebrated in rather a quieter fashion perhaps than usual”

29th December 1914 - 4th January 1915
- Both taken from the Keighley News, 2nd January 1915


Sources

Brown, M The Imperial War Museum book of the Western Front

Gilbert, M First World War

Keighley News Archives (accessed via Bradford libraries website)

 

22nd December – 28th December 1914

This week in 1914

Christmas Truce

On Christmas Day, all along the Western front there were spontaneous outbreaks of peace – a mutually accepted ceasefire between British, French, Commonwealth and German troops. Troops freely mixed in No-Man’s land, swapping buttons, badges, cigarettes, tobacco and rations, playing games of football, taking photographs and wishing each other a Happy Christmas.

“We were just going to fire on [two German soldiers] when we saw they had no rifles, so one of our men went out to meet them and in about two minutes the ground between the two line of trench was swarming with men and officers of both sides, shaking hands and wishing each other a Happy Christmas"
- 2nd Lieutenant Dougan Chater

On the Boxing Day, the Headquarters of the British 7th Division ‘issued orders saying that such unwarlike activity must cease’. Despite this, in parts of the Front Lines the peaceful mood lingered until February – and even beyond.

Sources

Brown, M The Imperial War Museum book of the Western Front

Gilbert, M First World War

Keighley News Archives (accessed via Bradford libraries website)

 

15th December – 21st December 1914

This week in 1914

“The Lengthening out of the War

Ever since the outbreak of war, speculation has been rife as to its probable duration… the talk of a three months campaign to be followed by an economic collapse in Germany has proved altogether delusive; the confident assertions that it would be ‘all over by Christmas’ have gradually grown fewer and fewer… [Lord Kitchener’s] forecast is a three-years war … another estimate fixes Germany’s resistance at eighteen months or two years.”

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From the Keighley News, 12 December 1914

  • December 18th – During an attack on the French village of Givenchy, a group of Highlanders are unable to fire their rifles because they had become too clogged with mud, due to appalling conditions in the trenches–“trenches were knee deep and sometimes waist deep in mud and icy water”, due in part to an unseasonably wet winter. The Highlanders were subsequently captured by the Germans.
  • December 21st – Captain J.W. Barnett, of the 34th Sikh Pioneers, writes in his diary of the war - ”I think we will win through, but out casualties will be appalling”

Sources

Brown, M The Imperial War Museum book of the Western Front

Gilbert, M First World War

Keighley News Archives (accessed via Bradford libraries website)