Earlier this year, Peter Capaldi lent his voice to a rendition of a World War I soldier’s extraordinary letter home.
The soldier in question was Captain Reginald Armes, writing to his wife from the trenches on Christmas Day. The reading was performed as part of ‘Letters Live’.
The circumstances of this extraordinary letter became one of the more fascinating stories of World War I. An unofficial truce was declared on Christmas Eve between British and German forces all along the Western Front. Rifle fire and barrages ceased and for once men walked the no-man’s land in safety. Soldiers on both sides met in the middle singing songs, exchanging gifts, and playing games. This was one of last true examples of chivalry between opposing sides in war time and it was never repeated. Nevertheless, in the frozen winter of 1914, just five months into one of the largest conflicts in human history, these soldiers experienced a rare moment of peace in a world at war.
Captain Armes witnessed this singular event first hand and, in fact, helped to broker this temporary peace. He was moved to consider the nature of war and the humanity of their enemies as many were that day. Peter Capaldi brought this haunting memory back to life with great care and respect. He expertly captured the raw emotion and awe of this solider discovering his enemy in a new light and the video is well worth a viewing.
You can watch it below:
About Letters Live
‘Letters Live’ has brought historic works of literary correspondence back to life since 2013. The events take place throughout the year and feature outstanding modern performers reenacting the voices of the past in front of a live audience. The specific performers and the letters read are not announced in advance but there is no shortage of talent at any event. In the past they have seen readings from Tom Hiddleston, Ian McKellen, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Jude Law to name a few. ‘Letters Live’ promotes various literacy charities and celebrates the history of human expression through written correspondence.