Fred Rubidge

As Silent Night played, he told his family that Canadian and German troops sang that song from across their trenches one Christmas Eve at war.

Fred Rubidge served in the 116th Battalion, fighting at Vimy Ridge, Lens, Ypres and Passchendaele, where he was gassed. Fred survived the war and, for most of his life, never spoke of his time in uniform. However, on one occasion in the 1940s, during a Christmas celebration with his family, he broke down in tears while listening to a radio docudrama of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. As the song Silent Night played on the radio, he told his family of how Canadian and German troops joined together one Christmas Eve during the First World War to sing that song from across their trenches. “The next day they were back to killing each other,” recalled R.J. Johnston, Fred’s grandson. “It took some time for my grandmother and my mother to calm him down. This was the first and last time my grandfather ever spoke of the war.”

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