The following letter was sent by Private M. Rivett of the "C" Company, 2nd. Lincolns, to his wife at 9, Orchard Street, Boston in 1914.
"Just a few lines to let you know that I am still keeping well. I hope baby and yourself are the same. Well, this is Christmas Day, and we are having a nice day, quite enjoying ourselves. Not a shot is being fired, as far as we can hear. It is a mutual armistice and our Battallion is out of the trenches for a short spell.
I suppose the Germans are quite as pleased as us to have a quiet day, in fact, it was told to us this morning by several of our officers, who had been to the trenches, that our men met the Germans half way between the trenches, exchanged greetings, gave them cigarettes etc., and had quite a friendly meeting. Of course, only a few of each met, and without arms.
We had a fine dinner, boiled chicken, potatoes, turnips, leeks, topped up by a pound of fine plum pudding, with rum sauce. Not bad, was it? Tonight we are having a concert round the camp fire, in fact, they have just started. During the day we had football matches, with a new ball, sent by some kind friends. So you see it takes a lot to upset our men, or make us forget Christmas.
But what a change tomorrow. Our battallion will be in the trenches. Peace and goodwill forgotten, each man will be trying his best to pick off one or more of the enemy. But all will be different next Christmas, for something must soon give way under the great strain, and I am confident it will not be the Allies side of the trenches. It is splendid to watch our flying men go over the Germans lines, for they never turn back until they see what they go for. I saw one machine have at least thirty shells fired at it. Some of them were very close, too, and each moment I expected him to be brought down. But we were very pleased to see him fly back again. This is quite true.
The officer just told us that this morning the Germans sang their National Anthem,and our men responded with "Rule Britannia," which was encored by the Germans and sang again. One German said to one of our officers, "You will be here only a few days now, we have crushed the Russians." Our officer said, "But I can tell you a different tale. The German army has been badly beaten by the Russians." The German replied, "Why should I believe you any more than you believe me?" So you see they are still confident, and not yet beaten. The truth of this is vouched for by several of our officers.
I received your parcel, one from Mrs. Wallesley, and the one from the Boston papers. Thank all who sent me things, and Hannah for the pudding."