Western Front - Christmas Day 1914
Inspired by the hopes and dreams of vibrant young men, who loved to dance, sing and jest, lyricist Julie Chimes created the fictitious character Archie out of memories of her Warwickshire family and friends, who gave their lives for their King and Country. Archie’s Song gives a hope-filled perspective of the extraordinary happening, which took place in the Flanders Fields along the western front in 1914, during the Great War. Soldiers from both sides of the trenches, dared to venture beyond the confines of battlefield rules. Original drawing by Lauren Sebastian ©
Candles were lit along some of the trenches and a few Christmas tree branches were waved in place of white flags. Laying down their weapons, soldiers entered no man’s land and celebrated Christmas with a spontaneous and unofficial truce. Exhausted men exchanged gifts, greetings, tokens and laughter. They gave each other haircuts and helped to bury the dead of both sides. Carols rang out in the frosted air – there was even a football game using ration tins.
In a Flanders field Archie lies in a rat-infested trench, dying. He sings a nostalgic ballad. Intimate vocals entwine with the soulful harmonies of the broken-hearted family he has left behind. His song unexpectedly explodes into a big band swing, evoking the distinctive rhythms and sounds of the dance crazes of the early 1900’s. In his imagination, Archie is dancing with the ‘Girl of His Dreams’.
As Archie sings his final prayer accompanied by his girlfriend, mother and sisters and soldiers from both sides of the war, including those who have already departed this earth. Having witnessed the extraordinary events of the Christmas Day Truce, Archie questions, ‘If we can be at peace for one Christmas Day, then why can’t it always be this way?’ With his last breath he dreams of a world where we ’Put aside our differences and dance’.
Listen to Archie's Song
Original drawing by Lauren Sebastian ©
Archie's Song - Dreaming of Home
Chimes & Nash Music Ltd © All Rights Reserved March 2014
Words and music by Julie Chimes & Russell Nash
Arranged and Produced by Chimes & Nash Music Ltd
Lead Vocals Archie: Russell Nash
Additional Vocals & Instrumentals: Julie Chimes & Sheila Martin
Soldier’s voices: Richard Laws, Wolfgang Bruns