This Sunday, January 28th, will mark the centenary of the death of the well-known Canadian poet- John McCrae. Author of the poem In Flanders Fields, McCrae’s memory is immortalized in the words he wrote during the Second Battle of Ypres. The Canadian soldier, however, was more than just a poet. When the war broke out in 1914, McCrae was appointed medical officer to the First Brigade of the Canadian Field Artillery and accompanied one of the first Canadian contingents that departed from Valcartier, Québec for England in October 1914.
In an otherwise devastatingly violent and inhumane war, the Christmas truce was a series of widespread and spontaneous truces that arose along the Western Front in 1914. Becoming one of the most famous and romanticized events of the First World War, it is said that enemies met in no man’s land, exchanged gifts, took photographs, and played impromptu games of football. In the hundred years since, the truce has lived on as a Christmas miracle. But what was a Christmas truce really like- and how widespread was it actually?