Thursday 21 December 2023

Christmas 1914

 The Christmas truce of 1914.

James Prescott has collected some interesting letters for 1914.
Check them out at his website below.

May you all have a peaceful and Merry Christmas.
the Victorian Society of Alberta

Letters from the Trenches, Christmas 1914

From Jame's post.

Graham Williams, London Rifle Brigade:

 I was gazing toward the German lines when suddenly lights began to appear along the top of the German trenches -- these were Christmas trees with lighted candles burning steadily in the still, frosty air! Then our opponents began to sing "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht".  We thought that we ought to retaliate, so we sang "The First Nowell", and when we finished they all began clapping. The Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until we started up with "O Come All Ye Faithful" and the Germans immediately joined in singing the Latin words "Adeste Fideles". This was really a most extraordinary thing -- our nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.

 Captain Clifton Stockwell, Royal Welch Fusiliers, 26th December:

 It froze hard on Christmas Eve, and in the morning there was a thick ground fog. Strict orders had been issued that there was to be no fraternising on Christmas Day. The sergeant suddenly ran in and said the fog had lifted and that half-a-dozen Saxons were standing on their parapet. The Saxons were shouting, "Don't shoot. We don't want to fight today. We will send you some beer." A cask was hoisted onto the parapet and three men started to roll it into the middle of No Man's Land.

 We did not like to fire as they were all unarmed, but we had strict orders and someone might have fired, so I climbed over the parapet and shouted, in my best German, for the opposing captain to appear.

 A German officer appeared and walked out into the middle of No Man's Land, so I moved out to meet him, amidst the cheers of both sides. We met and formally saluted. He introduced himself as Count something-or-other and seemed a very decent fellow. We agreed not to shoot until the following morning.

He said, "You had better take the beer. We have lots." So I called up two men to take the barrel to our side. As we had lots of plum puddings I sent for one and formally presented it to him in exchange for the beer.

Sunday 10 December 2023

Once Upon a Christmas Ramble 2023

 Yesterday, Saturday Dec 9 2023, we had a wonderful Flâneury (ramble) through Calgary's Heritage Park during their annual "Once Upon a Christmas" event.


We were able to attend for free courtesy of the members of the Heritage Park Telegraph Club who kindly donated their volunteer passes.  

We were joined by members of the Alberta World Wars Living History Association and spent the gorgeous winter day soaking up the old time Christmas atmosphere.

Then during then evening we attended the Airdrie Festival of Lights "Victorian Skating Party" as guests of the Nose Creek Valley Museum. The unseasonably warm weather prevented any skating due to lack of ice, but the previous days snowfall made it a magical night.

We even managed to do a passable job of singing Victorian Christmas Carols for the attendees.Thank you to everyone who joined us and the organizers who make these events so special.

More pictures of our rambles are below the break.
There are tons more on our Facebook and Instagram pages

Have an enjoyable Festive Season!
The Victorian Society of Alberta.

Tuesday 5 December 2023

December Book Tuesday

Tis the Season...

For Ghost Stories?!?

Here is a collection of Victorian Ghost stories to read around the tree this festive season.

The Victorian Society of Alberta

Stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Walter Scott et al
Edited by Tara Moore.

The first-ever collection of Victorian Christmas ghost stories, culled from rare 19th-century periodicals

During the Victorian era, it became traditional for publishers of newspapers and magazines to print ghost stories during the Christmas season for chilling winter reading by the fireside or candlelight. Now for the first time thirteen of these tales are collected here, including a wide range of stories from a diverse group of authors, some well-known, others anonymous or forgotten. Readers whose only previous experience with Victorian Christmas ghost stories has been Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" will be surprised and delighted at the astonishing variety of ghostly tales in this volume.

"In the sickly light I saw it lying on the bed, with its grim head on the pillow. A man? Or a corpse arisen from its unhallowed grave, and awaiting the demon that animated it?" - John Berwick Harwood, "Horror: A True Tale"

"Suddenly I aroused with a start and as ghostly a thrill of horror as ever I remember to have felt in my life. Something -- what, I knew not -- seemed near, something nameless, but unutterably awful." - Ada Buisson, "The Ghost's Summons"

"There was no longer any question what she was, or any thought of her being a living being. Upon a face which wore the fixed features of a corpse were imprinted the traces of the vilest and most hideous passions which had animated her while she lived." - Walter Scott, "The Tapestried Chamber"