Christmas Truce

Discussion in 'General' started by Drew5233, Apr 11, 2009.

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  1. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I'm sure most people are aware of the unofficial truce during WW1 when British and German soldiers met in no man's land at Christmas time in 1914. After watching the WW1 film 'Merry Christmas' yesterday I was wondering:

    I'd guess soldiers could hear each other sing carols and the like but
    did anything similiar happen during WW2 where troops left their positions and physically met each other to pass on the season of goodwill and the like?

    There seems to be a suggestion that there may have been in Italy on the net but they don't seem to be that reliable.

    Regards
    Andy
     
  2. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique MOD

    Personally I can't see it with WW2 myself. It was much more of a war of idealology than WW1.
     
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Can't think of any at Xmas but lots of cases of truces to collect up the wounded .
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers,

    I didn't think there would be. The evolution of societies and all that.

    Regards
    Andy
     
  5. Donnie

    Donnie Remembering HHWH

    I no it wasnt christmas but there was a short truce held at Monte Cassino to collect wounded etc?

    Donnie
     
  6. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Not a verbal truce as such.

    Seems there was not much scheduled in the Air Force at least for the 25th or they were all very lucky.

    I went through my list of over 11,000 RAAF/RAF deaths and found many deaths for the 24th and 26th of December however there were only 9 deaths in total throughout the years 1939 -1945 on the 25th.

    Deaths on the 24th show 54 deaths. (Western Europe, Far East & Accidents in Australia)

    Deaths on the 26th show 6 deaths (mostly in the MTO)

    Deaths recorded on the 25th

    1942 Australia (death from illness)
    1942 Ferry Command Flying Battle over the Atlantic - Ottawa Memorial
    1943 Australia (death from illness)
    1943 Bristol Beaufort crew (4) killed - Destroyed by bomb blast at Milne Bay on return from operations.
    1944 Australia (death from illness)
    1945 Australia (Accidental)
     
  7. Larkinator

    Larkinator Junior Member

    I did remember watching a documentary during 60th anniversary of the Battle of Ortona about the truce on Christmas day between men of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment and the Germans. They sat down to a Christmas dinner. Some of the surviving Canadian Veterans reunited with their German counterparts in the same old churchyard almost 60 years later when the documentary was made.

    I wish I could remember the name of the documentary, but I'm sure I read it elsewhere as well before in my studies on Canadian military history (I'm a military history student finishing my 4th year and graduating in June)
     
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers,

    I've just found this on Pvt. Issie Mayoff and the Battle of Ortona :

    The following article appeared in the Windsor (Ontario) Star on Dec24th, 2002.
    It was sent to me by its author, Stan Scislowski.




    The Spirit of Christmas
    on the Italian Front, 1944


    No one who was there on the Senio River line in the north of Italy on that magical Christmas Day in 1944 would have hoped for or even expected that a Peace on Earth and a Goodwill spirit would happen on this day. It was only five days earlier that hell instead had confronted my regiment for all of a night and the greater part of the next day. Whatever hopes and prayers dwelling in the minds and hearts of the men of The Perth Regiment, a good many of them not that long out of school, as the hour for battle drew near, were swept away in the awful hours that lay ahead. Thoughts of dying on or just before Christmas were hard to shut out. Although death at any time, be it in the glorious sunshine of a summer's day or on a dark and dismal day in winter would be a terrible tragedy for their families to bear; but death at this time was unthinkable. And they tried to shake the gloomy thought from their mind as they moved out on the evening of Dec.19 in an advance to the line of the high-diked Senio River where they could expect the enemy to be waiting in defensive positions, weapons aimed their way.

    At no time in the approach to battle did the men go with a song on their lips. At no time did they go with the feeling of patriotism and 'die for country' attitude. These anachronisms of long ago wars they shed from their minds many confront-ations ago. They were too smart for such high and noble feelings. When the dread moment came, however, to hitch up their battle gear they did so, but with the ever-present feeling of apprehension. Though they could not know it, this was their bravest moment. For to go forward when you know that down that road hidden in the dark behind some barrier are other men waiting under cover with murder in their hearts, it takes courage far beyond what each man believed he still had.

    Hope rested only in the thoughts that this advance would prove to be a cake-walk, a simple occupation of a few acres of farmland, an unopposed crossing of a narrow river line and then a pause for Christmas. But it was not to be. It was less than a mile down that road when hell fell upon them in a rain of shells and mortar bombs beyond anything they had ever come under before. The dying and the hurting had begun. To describe all that had gone on during the whole of that terrible night and through most of the next day is not the purpose of this short piece. What I wanted was a portrayal of how, sometimes great good can come out of adversity and out from the hearts of men driven to war. And that great good manifested itself here on the Senio Front on a sunny but cold Christmas Day of 1944 when all hope had fled that there would be a pause in the violence and the killing. It came about like 'so':

    At 8:30 on Christmas Eve with a dusting of snow on the ground, while standing alert and ready at an upstairs window of a large farmhouse, with a Bren gun, I was all keyed up in expectation of an enemy patrol attack. Towards the end of my shift I became aware that the usual sounds of a battlefield had died down, and then. . .silence. Was it the dread moment before an enemy assault? Or was it, hope upon hope, that maybe the enemy was honouring the birthday of the Prince of Peace by an unwritten truce? And with this hope, as my relief came, I made my way downstairs to find a comfortable spot on the floor close by the fire-place for some much needed sleep. I didn''t expect anything special, except more danger to wake up to in the morning.

    But there was something special going on on Christmas morning, and it wasn't a battle. I took a look outside and be damned if there weren't a lot of our guys walking around between platoon pos-itions and houses as though there was nothing out there to be afraid of. It was unbelievable! Just the day before, I almost got picked off by a sniper as I was about to walk the ten paces to a stable where a cow was bawling to be milked. Life expectancy outdoors had to only be seconds at most. But now it was a miracle that a 'live and let live' spirit seemed to have come about.

    Atop the far dike of the Senio River stood a half dozen German soldiers singing their hearts out that favourite of mine, 'Silent Night', I couldn't believe what my eyes were taking in. There was the hated enemy not sixty yards away, not shoot-ing at us like they had been doing only the day before, but singing and rejoicing, pausing between verses as they tipped bottles of vino to their lips. They were in great spirits and even waved to us to join them in the celebration. It was tempting, and some of our guys were all set to go across the river and join them in the singing and merriment. More logical NCO heads, however, prevailed, and our boys stayed 'put'. What a feeling it was to see all this going on! - the enemy out there in the open and our boys too in a "peace on earth good-will towards men spirit, as it should be.

    In our house, or 'casa', a feast of Christmas like no other Christmas feast could have brought forth the good feelings such as the one got underway. We didn't dine on roast goose or turkey and all the usual side dishes as we did at home, but even so, it was indeed a feast never to be forgotten. We sat at the linen covered table, a grimy and unkempt dozen as we were, to an unusual fare of steaks from a cow butchered the night before. And in whatever we came across while rifling through kitchen drawers, dressers and closets, found all sorts of things we used as decorations. The house radiated Christmas. The only thing missing was a Christmas tree and gifts under-neath it.

    And then to top off the festivities, who should show up in a Jeep but our company commander bearing with him all kinds of goodies, like turkey, candy, fruit, nuts, and even a quart bottle of Molson's beer for each man. And the revelry went on all that afternoon as we sang every Christmas song we knew. Though our voices were not of choir quality, they were voices filled with the spirit of Christmas, a Christmas that not one of us would ever forget, but look fondly on. And then, as the saying goes, "all good things must come to an end." And so, at 6:00 p.m. right on the dot, a lone 25 pounder artillery piece somewhere on the south side of the Lamone River to our rear, fired, and the shell whistling overhead signalled the end of the truce. The war had begun again.
     
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  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I did remember watching a documentary during 60th anniversary of the Battle of Ortona about the truce on Christmas day between men of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment and the Germans. They sat down to a Christmas dinner. Some of the surviving Canadian Veterans reunited with their German counterparts in the same old churchyard almost 60 years later when the documentary was made.

    I wish I could remember the name of the documentary, but I'm sure I read it elsewhere as well before in my studies on Canadian military history (I'm a military history student finishing my 4th year and graduating in June)
    Have you been naughty a naughty student and cut and pasted some of the above from here young man? :unsure:

    This Random Thread - Wild Bill Guarnere.Community

    post No.6 does seem to resemble your own post a bit :lol:
     
  10. Larkinator

    Larkinator Junior Member

    Nope, never seen that forum before. Creepy and coincidental :lol::lol::lol:.

    Here's a rundown of that CBC documentary btw with some stills from it and a synopsis of the scenes, it was called "Return to Ortona".

    CBC News Indepth: Ortona
     
  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

  12. Dave55

    Dave55 Very Senior Member

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