`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!'
Christmas, 1914. The first winter of the First World War. In a conflict infamous for its horror and brutality, enemy shook hands with enemy. Soldiers shared rations, exchanged souvenirs, and even played football on a frost-covered No Man's Land. This Christmas truce was not just a brief interlude in one place. The ceasefire between the trenches extended over at least two-thirds of the British line and there were similar ceasefires in the French and Belgian sectors of the Western Front. In some areas the peaceable mood lingered well into 1915. But behind the festive cheer and acceptance of shared experience, the inevitable renewal of hostilities loomed large.
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.