From striking glass sculptures to simple stone cairns, there are more than 360 memorials at the National Memorial Arboretum, for both military and civilian associations, all with fascinating stories and symbolism waiting to be discovered. Between the 25 December and the 5 January you can discover more about just some of these memorials at our short free daily 12 Days of Christmas Memorial Talks.
The story of the Christmas Truce has become one of the most famous events of the First World War. Many eye witness accounts of the event survive although it was not sanctioned by military commanders or officially reported.
On Christmas Eve 1914, British soldiers heard German troops singing carols in the opposite trenches and saw lanterns and small decorated fir trees. Messages then began to be shouted between the trenches.The following day, Christmas Day, British and German soldiers met in no man’s land. They exchanged cigarettes and gifts and took photographs. Some reports tell of an impromptu game of football being played. The Truce allowed both sides to recover and bury their dead and repair their trenches.
The Truce was not observed everywhere along the Western Front and heavy fighting continued elsewhere. The Generals were outraged about the ‘fraternisation’ between the two sides and ensured such a truce would not happen again.
Other talks will be taking place throughout the day. Please see here for more details.Read more