24th December 1914
The Dorsets received another morning alarm call from British artillery when shells landed “dangerously near” their trenches at 8.40am.
The enemy kept up a steady stream of machine gun fire and sniping throughout the day. The Dorsets could hear German transport moving in the distance. Perhaps they were readjusting their troops, much like the British were. 3rd Division had shuffled along the Kruisstraat road and so 5th Division moved its troops to the east, which included Bedfords taking over Sector C and moving into half of Sector B’s trenches. I’ve indicated these areas on today’s map using a trench map found in the 5th Division’s war diary. An accompanying letter dates the map at 30th December 1914 but the reorganisation (dropping Sector E) happened today and things didn’t change for the rest of the year.
During the night some Germans opposite Sector D approached British working parties, presumably of the 2nd Bn West Riding Regiment, and spoke to them, halfway between the trenches. What they said is not discussed at this point in the 5th Division’s war diary. There’s been a lot of media interest in the so-called Christmas truce and much of what has been written is utter drivel. There are a number of factors why the truce happened and some of the stories are inflated truths, some are myths and others are down-right lies. But I think there’s another side to the story which isn’t really discussed and one we’ll explore with the Dorsets tomorrow.
Don’t forget to leave out a drop of Lizzie for Father Christmas and a heritage carrot for Rudolph.