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Christmas Truce Centenary 1914...

THE centenary celebrations are over - but this website carries on! Well done to all those who organised events to mark the cetenary of the truce. This website struggled to cope with all the interest but I've archived some of the rolling news on our blog. It was hearing young (and no so young) people express surprise that the Truce genuinely happened which made me realise how vital the work of our volunteers and this site is. These first hand accounts enable people to learn precisely what happened during the truce and make sure it isn't forgotten.

BRITISH LIBRARY

Kate Cole researched the truce on the British Newspaper Archive. Her results can be read on the site.

PERSONAL ACCOUNTS

The centenary saw many letters in private hands transcribed and published. I hope to include as many of these as I can on our site as an addition to the ones published in local newspapers.

THE NEW AMERICAN

Our thanks to Kurt Hyde for a super article on the truce in The New American. It is one of the best and most comprehensive articles on the topic. His passion for the subject shines through.

LETTER ON THE STAR

Though I am a Yank and had no ancestors involved in WWI (to my knowledge), I greatly enjoyed reading some of the material on your site. For what it's worth, on the page entitled The German View, there is the statement in the translated German letter: ... And Bavarians and English, until then the greatest enemies, shook hands, talked to each other and exchanged items. The only star who stood at 9am still at the sky was directly above them which was interpreted by people as a special sign. As a professional astronomer, I had to check into this. I note that Venus was at near maximum brightness around Christmas 1914, having just come around from behind the sun a few weeks earlier. On the stated morning of Dec 26 at 9 AM (assuming no Daylight Saving Time), Venus would have been approximately 20 degrees above the horizon to the southeast, 35 degrees away from the sun, and perfectly visible to the human eye in daylight if you looked in that direction. The comment in the letter, in light of this fact, lends evidence that the letter is indeed a first hand account. - Mike Ressler

THE FRENCH VIEW

This site is devoted to British, Irish and Commonwealth soldiers who wrote about the truce. We have no German accounts but this article will help. And the BBC has published this article on the French reaction to the truce.

ONE FAMILY'S MEMENTO

IRVINE

David Irvine has kindly shared this picture of the truce taken on Christmas Day 1914. It shows his great uncle, Gerard Foster Irvine of the Warwickshire Regiment. The caption says: "Photograph taken at Christmas 1914 when a temporary and unofficial cessation of hostilities was arranged in France (where this photograph was taken) between the Germans and the Allies. X Captain Gerard Foster Irvine, on his left is another British Officer. The rest are Germans." And he tells me that the picture was reproduced in a Londonderry newspaper in the 1950s, resulting in the family of one of the Germans getting in touch with them.

 

Read some of the letters

THE main purpose of this website is to serve as an archive for many of the letters written by soldiers who experienced the truce first-hand. The letters are out of copyright and you may use the material as you wish. Start reading the letters...


MASTHEAD PICTURE courtesy of The Salient Remembrance Detachment.


 

 

 
 

 

truce cover

YOU can buy a copy of our book, Not A Shot Was Fired, which includes many of the letters discovered by our volunteers. Just click on the cover of the book above. Please note: The link takes you to the Lulu online shop - if the currency is not correct for your country, simply change the 'flag' at the top of the Lulu page.

Welcome

THE Christmas Truce continues to inspire and intrigue those who hear about the meeting of opposing troops in 1914 for an informal truce involving the singing of carols and exchange of gifts. On this site you'll find many letters written by soldiers who took part in the truce. The letters have been transcribed by our volunteers. Read this overview of the truce for an introduction to the subject.

ABOUT THIS SITE

Operation Plum Puddings aims to collate the many letters printed in UK regional papers from soldiers who took part in the Christmas Truce of 1914. These letters provide a unique first-hand account of the truce and we feel they should be collated and preserved for future generations. About 80 letters from 100 newspapers have been transcribed so far. Why not join us and play your part in this exciting and valuable project?

Editors: Alan Cleaver
and Lesley Park