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Dispatch Box No.1 - Christmas 1914

“And for an instant there existed peace on earth...”

Christmas 1914

Peace on Earth
(Jim Boyes) 

The songs rang out from either side between the lines

Enchantment held the battlefield at Christmas time

No Eastern Kings came bearing gifts to celebrate a birth

But in the midst of conflict there was Peace on Earth



Peace on Earth, Peace on Earth

Repeat last line


Then enemy found enemy to their surprise

No savagery, no emnity behind their eyes

Then all was salutation and joy and mirth

And for an instant there existed Peace on Earth


The seeds of peace lay buried ‘neath the plains of war

But like a Christmas rose they blossomed by the score

The seeds of peace are with us still for those who know their worth

And we can all remember and bring Peace on Earth


Throughout the world wherever present conflicts be

Although divided there can still be unity

Your friend could be your enemy by an accident of birth

And through humanity there can be Peace on Earth


Like silences at the armistice, like poppies on the tide

Like tears of joy when differences are reconciled

Like Christmas 1914 out in No Man’s Land

So join with us in celebrating Kerstbestand.


While Shepherds Watched
While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around,
And glory shone around.

“Fear not!” said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind.
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind
To you and all mankind.

“To you, in David’s town, this day
Is born of David’s line
A Savior, who is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign,
And this shall be the sign.

“The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid,
And in a manger laid.”

Thus spake the seraph and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God on high,
Who thus addressed their song,
Who thus addressed their song:

“All glory be to God on high,
And to the Earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from heaven to men
Begin and never cease,
Begin and never cease!

tune: Pentonville

1914 Christmas Truce - Kerstbestand
No Masters NMCD14 1999

1. The Rhyme of No Man's Land (Lester Simpson)
2. Nu Zijt Wellekome (trad.)
3. The Dunstan Lullaby (trad.)
4. While Shepherds Watched (Pentonville) (N.Tate/T.Jarman)
5. The Boar's Head (trad.)
6. Onward Christian Soldiers (Jim Boyes)
7. The Coventry Carol (trad.)
8. The Christmas Truce (Jim Boyes)
9. O Kerstnacht, Schoner dan de dagen (Vondel/Sweelinck)
10. Living it Up (Lester Simpson)
11. Allah O'Akhbar (trad.)
12. When This Blasted War Is Over (trad; CC Converse)
13. Minuit Chrétien (Adams/de Cappeau
14. Peace On Earth (Jim Boyes)
15. Blood & Gold (trad./A.Irvine & J.Cassidy)
16. The Meadowhall Carol (Jim Boyes)
17. Senzenina (trad.)
18. The Wiltshire Carol (trad./Lester Simpson)
19. Jerusalem of Gold (N.Shemer)
20. Reconciliation (Ron Kavana)

Coope, Boyes & Simpson and
Wak Maar Proper.
Christmas Truce -
Kerstbestand (NMCD14)
Released: 1 November 1999.
An album of live recordings of
Coope Boyes & Simpson
and sixty piece Flemish choir
with traditional carols and songs
written specially for this
Christmas Peace Concert.
First performed in Ypres Cathedral.

during the first Christmas of
The Great War, an amazing
cessation of hostilities took
place in some sections of
the British front-line

Stories tell of the British
and German soldiers playing
football together in No Man's Land
on Christmas Day - but is this
just a legend? Historian
Malcolm Brown separates
fact from fantasy. this to
be found on the BBC
World War I Remembered

the songs in the performance grow
out of the moment of hope that was
the Christmas Truce in 1914. reflecting
the carols of peace on earth that were
sung across No Man's Land

You are standing up to your knees
in the slime of a waterlogged trench.
It is the evening of 24 December 1914
and you are on the dreaded
Western Front.

from BBC History

Anthem For Doomed Youth

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