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