John McCutheon

Christmas in the Trenches(Chords)

John McCutheon

Key: D

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        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) 


Written by John McCutcheon

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