This Christmas marks 100 years since the famous Christmas truce of WWI, in 1914.
During a stormy winter of fighting between the two sides, a widespread but unofficial truce emerged in the week leading up to - and on - the holiday. German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and to sing songs between their trenches. There were even occasions where soldiers walked over to opposing sides to talk to their counterparts and exchange gifts.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the soldiers put aside their differences for a few hours. Many of them - from both sides - ventured into "no man's land," where they met and exchanged food and souvenirs, and sang carols together.
It is said that at the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines calling out "Merry Christmas." The Allied soldiers were wary at first, thinking it might be a trick, but when they saw the Germans approach them unarmed, they climbed out of their trenches as well, and shook hands with the enemy.
Benjamin Disraeli once said, “The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.” Remembrance Day is just one way to honor the memory of our historic ancestors who fought for their lives in service.
This year marks a century since the beginning of World War I. To commemorate, we share the touching story of Italian soldier Cesare Mele, from Sezze, south of Rome.
While the Central Powers consisted of Austria-Hungary and Germany, Italy decided to remain neutral in 1914, and eventually joined the Allies (France, UK and Russia) in May 1915. Once they entered the conflict, 650,000 Italian soldiers died, 947,000 were wounded, and 600,000 disappeared or were captured as prisoners of war.
When we speak of war heroes, we generally refer to the brave men and women who fought and died for their country. Yet, many animals were on the frontlines with the soldiers. These heroic animals transported equipment, sent secret notes and informed of enemy movements.
While many men went out to fight, it’s important to also remember the little known heroes who fought for their countries during the war.
Many brave women - doctors, nurses and soldiers - served on the battlefront, risking their lives to save others.
2014 marks a century since the outbreak of World War I. On July 28 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Empire invaded Serbia, beginning a world war that would last four years and result in millions of casualties.
Were your ancestors among the brave men who fought? How did they serve their country? Learn more about them by searching hundreds of thousands of WWI military records.