100 years ago

WRITING to friends in North Wales a gentleman who was serving at the front stated: “It was a memorable Christmas Day in our trenches, as we had a truce with the enemy from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day morning, not a shot being fired. It was quite a change, no lead flying about.

"The truce came about in this way: The Germans started singing and lighting candles about 7.30 on Christmas Eve, and one of them challenged any one of us to go across for a bottle of wine. One of our fellows accepted the challenge and took a big cape to exchange. That started the ball rolling. We then went half-way to shake hands and exchange greetings with them.

"There were ten dead Germans in a ditch in front of the trench, and we helped to bury these. The Germans seem to be very nice chaps, and said they were awfully sick of the war. We were out of the trenches nearly all day on Christmas Day collecting souvenirs.”

50 years ago

DONALD Campbell had become the first man to set world land and water speed records in the same year.

He flashed across the waters of Lake Dumbleyung in his jetboat Bluebird to a new world mark of 276.33 mph. This broke his own record of 206.3 mph set at Lake Coniston in 1959.

At Lake Eyre’s salt flat in Central Australia in July, he had set a new land speed record of 403.1 mph. Today’s achievement coincided with the 16th anniversary of the death of Campbell’s father, Sir Malcolm Campbell, once holder of both the records his son now held.

As soon as he reached shore after his record-breaking run, Campbell called for a few moments silence in memory of his father. The crowd of several hundred people stopped their cheering to bow their heads with him.

25 years ago

UNWANTED Christmas presents were already pouring back into York stores, adding to the chaos caused by the sales.

To cope with the rush, 20 sales assistants were working on 10 tills at Marks and Spencer’s customer services desk. Normally, there were only two tills on the desk.

Customers queued patiently to swap unwanted slippers and socks, some picking sales bargains instead of their original gift.

Deputy supervisor Mary Pollock said staff had been drafted in from all departments to cope with the exchanges and refunds.

As well as the 20 on the tills, another five people were sorting returned goods to put back on sale.

Only things which could be re-sold were accepted. According to Mrs Pollock, some people tried to return gifts that did not even come from Marks and Spencer.