Archive for December 25th, 2011

December 25,

Today in Irish History: Union General Thomas Alfred Smyth. Christmas Truce 1914.

December 25: TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by IrishmanSpeaks)

1832: Thomas Alfred Smyth, the last Union General to be killed in the Civil War is born in Ballyhooly, County Cork. He died on the day of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, having been mortally wounded by a sniper two days previously. A detailed profile of Smyth is at the excellent Irish in the American Civil War

Irish born Union General Thomas Smyth

Irish born Union General Thomas Smyth

1914: Christmas Day Truce when British and German troops layed down their arms and played a game of soccer between the trenches. It is a day full of myth and legend, poorly recorded (partly due to the commanders of both sides playing down the event) and probably some exxageration as to how large an event it was. There is no doubt that Silent Night was sung by both sides on the night. The Dept of the Taoiseach states that some “Some Irish soldiers took part in the Christmas Truce of 1914 when there was a spontaneous cessation in the killing for a short period.” There is little record of Irish troops being involved, but given that over 200,000 Irish fought in the British army during this conflict (over 30,000 killed), it is quite likely that some Irish brogues were¬† heard during one of the most poignant incidents in military history.

Christmas Truce 1914

1916: 460 Irish prisoners (from 1916  Easter Rising) are released by British Government.

1920: Report from “Down Under” on Christmas in Ireland during War of Independence.

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