Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Letters from the Great War: A Christmas truce...

09:56 03 July 2014

Lance Corporal Chas Brown.

Lance Corporal Chas Brown.


TO mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One the Gazette is continuing to publish excerpts from letters sent home from Ilfracombe men at the front line.

This week we have a letter from Lance Corporal Charles ‘Chas’ Brown of C Company, 1st Devonshire Regiment, who wrote from the trenches to his old headmaster Mr Lord at SS Pip and Jim’s School in Ilfracombe.

Dear Mr Lord - I regret not writing to you before, but at last I have a few minutes to myself. Thanks very much for the Christmas card, and I live in hopes of returning thanks personally before long.

I am longing for that, and very often at night in the trenches I think of the good times I spent at SSPJ.

On Christmas Eve we had a long march after a few days of ‘rest’, and at last reached the firing line. We had orders that B and D companies were to enter the trenches and A and C to be in reserve.

In the early hours of Christmas morning a German officer appeared and said that if we did not fire he would not.

I had to go off to the firing line with a message about this, and on arriving I was never more surprised in my life, as I found Devons and Germans all mixed up and having a fine time.

I believe this lasted all day. We relieved B Co. in the evening, and Boxing Day was just the same for us – all the best of friends.

I must honestly say I did not hold with it, and I said to my chum, ‘I wonder what the people at home will think of this?’

Well it very soon came to a close, and they began sending their ‘Jack Johnsons’, and we replied with our ‘iron rations’, which they do not like at all.

The weather here is awful, and it is quite laughable to see us trying to get out of mud knee-deep, so we hope for better weather soon.

There are one or two Combe boys in the regiment, of whom Private T Rawle is my mate. We both left Jersey together on August 20th, and please God we both hope to return safe and sound.

Tea has just arrived and Tom has the tea and I have the biscuits and jam. May the time roll on to when I can have a jolly good feed of Devonshire butter.

Please remember me to all my chums and say I should be very glad to have a line from some of them. Hoping you are in the best of health.

Yours very sincerely, Chas Brown (Lce Cpl), one of your ‘Old Boys’.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other North Devon Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by North Devon Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique North Devon Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 16:51
Fore Street Christmas market will be undercover this year. Picture: Sally Almond

Sunday’s event will go ahead as planned, but undercover in case of inclement weather

Read more
Yesterday, 15:19
The proposed hotel in Westward Ho!

Planning inspector overturns Torridge District Council decision to refuse ‘in principle’ plans for 15-bed ‘Whotel’

Read more
Yesterday, 12:05
Could Eleanor Grant's song In Your Arms be a Christmas number one?

Teenage singer’s song for new animated movie about the Louisa lifeboat launch makes its bid for festive chart success

Read more
Yesterday, 10:29
Abi Calvert and Darcy Baldock at the Ilfracombe Lighting of the Lights.

‘Best crowd in years’ as thousands gather to kick off ‘combe’s Christmas

Read more
Yesterday, 09:49
Get your panto tickets on Black Friday

Get a special Black Friday discount to see Cinderella at the Queen’s Theatre

Read more
Yesterday, 09:48
Plans for the lower High Street corner entrance of Green Lanes shopping centre, Barnstaple

Entrance to shopping centre could be drastically modernised if owners’ plans are given the green light

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00
Emma Perry from Children's Hospice South West, John Cockram and Leo Cooper from North Devon Hospice. Picture: Elliot Anderton

Christmas trees have been donated to two hospices in North Devon.

Read more
Wed, 17:35
North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones

Peter Heaton-Jones says the Autumn Statement ‘kept giving good news’

Read more
Wed, 16:02
Is there cash for the North Devon Link Road?

North Devon will be able to bid for a share of a £475m transport pot

Read more

Christmas in North Devon

Christmas in North Devon

Christmas Magazine

Click here for your ultimate guide to
Christmas in North Devon

Local Weather



max temp: 12°C

min temp: 6°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Search for a job in Devon

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications