WWI 1914 Christmas truce: 'Stop it at once' order auctioned
A World War One memo that hints at how British Army chiefs tried to prevent the famous 1914 Christmas Day truce is to be auctioned.
Men emerged from trenches into parts of No Man's Land in 1914 to swap gifts, sing carols and play football.
But one order sent late on Christmas Eve ordered British soldiers not to communicate with the Germans - and to open fire on any who approached.
It suggests chiefs were worried about unofficial ceasefires, auctioneers say.
The document is timed at 23:15 on 24 December 1914 and is addressed to a commanding officer at Flanders.
It reads: "On no account are our men to be allowed to hold any communication with the Germans.
"Take steps to stop it at once. They must not be allowed to approach our trenches on penalty of fire being opened.
"If they continue to do so you must open fire."
The framed military order is being sold by C&T Auctions, of Ashford, Kent, having been in private collections since 1928.
Its militaria specialist Matthew Tredwen said the order sheds new light on popular perceptions of what happened.
Ephemera expert Valerie Jackson-Harris said the paperwork was extremely rare and could easily be worth more than £2,000.