FREE Christmas Carol Songbook

You'll be caroling sooner than you can say "Wenceslas"

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    Christmas in the Trenches

    John McCutcheon

     

          D                     Bm         G                     Em

    My name is Francis Toliver, I come from Liverpool.

            A7 (2)                                   G                         D
    Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school.

         D                     Bm         G                     Em
    To Belgium and to Flanders, Germany to here.

       A7 (2)                                          D (2)
    I fought for King and country I love dear.
                A7 (2)                                          G                     D
    Twas Christmas in the trenches, where the frost so bitter hung.

            Bm                   Bm/A                             G                      A7
    The frozen fields of France were still, no Christmas song was sung.

            D                   Bm                  G                     Em
    Our families back in England were toasting us that day,

              A7 (2)                                    D (2)
    Their brave and glorious lads so far away.

              D                    Bm                     G                     Em
    I was lying with my mess mate on the cold and rocky ground.

                  A7 (2)                                    G                         D
    When across the lines of battle came a most peculiar sound.

           D                     Bm                      G                         Em
    Says I, "now listen up me boys." Each soldier strained to hear

          A7 (2)                                              D (2)
    As one young German voice sang out so clear.
             A7 (2)                                       G                     D
    "He's singing bloody well y'know," my partner says to me.

            Bm                   Bm/A                        G              A7
    Soon one by one each German voice joined in in harmony.

            D                    Bm                  G                           Em
    The cannons rested silent, and the gas clouds rolled no more.

            A7 (2)                                             D (2)
    As Christmas brought us respite from the war.

     

    D      Bm     G        Em

    A7 (2)        G        D

              D                    Bm                    G                         Em
    As soon as they were finished, and a reverent pause was spent,

              A7 (2)                                     G                              D
    "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" struck up some lads from Ghent.

              D                             Bm                      G                      Em
    Oh the next they sang was "Stille Nacht", 'tis Silent Night says I.

           A7 (2)                                               D (2)
    And in two tongues one song filled up that sky.
                   A7 (2)                                        G                       D
    "There's someone coming towards us", the front line sentry cried.

          Bm                   Bm/A                        G                      A7
    All sights were fixed on one lone figure trudging from their side.

            D                      Bm                         G                        Em
    His truce flag like a Christmas star shone on that plain so bright

               A7 (2)                                           D (2)
    As he bravely strolled unarmed into the night.

              D                    Bm                     G                      Em
    Then one by one on either side walked into no-man's land.

              A7 (2)                               G                              D
    With neither gun nor bayonet we met there hand to hand.

              D                          Bm                G                         Em
    We shared some secret brandy and we wished each other well.

                   A7 (2)                                        D (2)
    And in a flare-lit soccer game we gave 'em hell.

            A7 (2)                                        G                       D
    We traded chocolates, cigarettes and photographs from home.

          Bm                        Bm/A             G                      A7
    These sons and fathers far away from families of their own.

                 D                             Bm                        G         Em
    Young Sanders played the squeezebox and they had a violin.

               A7 (2)                             D (2)
    This curious and unlikely band of men.

    D  Bm  D  G

    G  D  A7  D

     

              D                    Bm                     G                      Em
    Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more.

              A7 (2)                                   G                    D
    With sad farewells we each began to settle back to war.

                 D                       Bm                    G                             Em
    But the question haunted every heart that lived that wondrous night.

                   A7 (2)                                D (2)
    "Whose family have I fixed within my sights?"
            A7 (2)                                        G                       D
    ’Twas Christmas in the trenches, where the frost so bitter hung.

           Bm                    Bm/A                         G                             A7
    The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung.

                 D                            Bm           G                     Em
    For the walls they kept between us to exact the work of war

                      A7 (2)                                     D (2)
    Had been crumbled and were gone forever more.

     

    D      Bm     G        Em

    A7 (2)        G        D

          D                      Bm          G                 Em
    My name is Francis Toliver, in Liverpool I dwell.

               A7 (2)                                               G                            D
    Each Christmas comes since World War I, I've learned its lessons well.

                 D                       Bm                    G                            Em
    For the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame,

                        A7 (2)                           D (2)
    And on each end of the rifle we're the same.

    D  Bm  D  G

    G  D  A7  D (hold)


    This file is the author's own work and represents his interpretation of this song. It's intended solely for private study, scholarship or research.