‘Just you think,’ wrote one soldier to his family, ‘that while you were eating your turkey I was out talking with the very men I had been trying to kill a few hours before!’ At Christmas 1914, in a war famous for its horror and brutality, enemy shook hands with enemy in No Man’s Land, exchange souvenirs, even played football. Nor was this just a brief interlude in one place. The truce between the trenches extended over at least two-thirds of the British line and there were similar ceasefires in the French and Belgian sectors. In some areas the peaceable mood lingered well into 1915.
Malcolm Brown and Shirley Seaton have combed war diaries, talked to participants and consulted a wide range of contemporary letters, diaries and newspapers to produce this unique account.