In 1914, the war which was supposed to end by Christmas, was still not over. The troops on both sides were stuck in freezing trenches, but the week leading up to Christmas saw the opposing ranks exchanging greetings and singing. Some soldiers left their trenches on Christmas day and exchanged food and souvenirs and sang carols together and even played football. The senior officers took a dim view of this behaviour though and it was not allowed to be repeated.
As 2014 drew to a close it was good to reflect on the events Maulden held to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of WWI. Amongst these were the Village Show with its WWI theme; the Bedfordshire Local History Conference hosted by Maulden, where Marian McDowell and other local speakers talked about Maulden’s contribution to the war effort; the special St Mary’s Church service in August during which relatives of those who died, poignantly read out their names, and placed crosses at the village war memorial; and the Old Tyme Music Hall in September where we tried to give a taste of the music hall our soldiers would have recognised together with sketches based on the Wiper’s Tales written in the trenches. Please let us have your photos of these events and any others you took part in for our WWI project.
Many thanks also to those who contacted the society with information about their relations who survived the war. A short version of these were included in the book “Maulden Remembers” by Sue Hart, which is on sale at the old post office priced £10. If you still have information you would be willing to share we would be very happy to hear from you.
(Article first published in the Maulden magazine Dec/Jan 2014/15)