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Scotch troops at the entrance to their hut on New Year's Day | by National Library of Scotland
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Scotch troops at the entrance to their hut on New Year's Day

Scottish soldiers celebrating New Years Day at the entrance to their billet hut, France, during World War I. With their leather football, bagpipes, beer kegs, wine bottles, brazier and drum, this group of Scots soldiers appear to be enjoying the festivities. The hut they are would be a billet hut, which was used by resting soldiers on short leave away from the front line. It is worth remembering that this photograph of smiling soldiers living in good quarters might well have been used for propaganda purposes.

 

Laventie, in France, on Christmas Day 1915, was the location for one of the most surreal games of football ever played. After singing carols to each other on Christmas Eve, British and German troops went over the top of their trenches to meet - rather than to kill - one another in 'no-mans land'. Someone produced a football and an impromptu kick about then took place. A sudden barrage from the British artillery broke the spell completely.

 

[Original reads: OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKE ON THE WESTERN FRONT. Scotch troops at the entrance to their hut on New Year's Day.']

 

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Taken circa 1918