The Cenotaph on Hucknall Titchfield Park was illuminated for the first time ever last Saturday evening for a special open-air service to mark the centenary of the Christmas truce.
This was a widespread but unofficial ceasefire along the Western Front in 1914 during World War One. German and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange greetings, food and gifts and to play small-scale games of football with one another.
The idea of the service came from Colin Conway, who attends Watnall Road Baptist Church, Hucknall. He organised the service along with Churches Together and the Hucknall branch of the Royal British Legion.
The Rev Stephen Ibbotson, said the truce reflected an instinctive feeling among the combatants that there should be a pause in the conflict at Christmas, which was a time when peace should reign. He said: “It began with Christmas trees set up on the German lines, the singing of carols and songs, along with banter across the divide. Eventually someone braved, ‘We not shoot, you not shoot’, and brave souls ventured into the space that divided them.”
A recording of the first verse of ‘Silent Night’ in German was played before the congregation sang the rest of the carol in English. Oliver Shaw and Daniel Harding laid wreaths on behalf of the community. Music was provided by Fiona Daft (keys) and Andrew Clay (guitar).