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Remembered Today:

Xmas day casualty returns for the war


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Ive looked on the CWGC site today for Coldstream casualties on Xmas day during the war - despite all the talk of a truce, 1914 was the worst day. I have not looked in depth yet as to where they where as could have been behind the lines, or indeed died of wounds etc but on the face of it we have

1914 - 8 and I know of at least one man who was wounded, 7 noted as killed, 1 of wounds

1915 - 0

1916 - 1 x died of wounds

1917 - 0

1st Btn 2nd Btn 3rd

1914 - in reserve trenches trenches

1915 - trenches billets billets

1916 - camp trenches camp

1917 - training camp billets

So the Coldstream seemed to avoid Xmas in the trenches most of the time - I didnt include the 4th Btn as it was a Pioneer Btn

Anyone know how their regiment fared ?


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Just looking at koyli

Surprisingly only 1 man KIA over the 4 Xmas days during the war.

1914:2nd koyli; 1 KIA

1915:12th koyli; 1 died

1916:2nd koyli; 1 died at home

1917:1st koyli; 1 died

Regards Shane

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well thats 2 out of 2 showing 1914 wasnt that quiet - thanks Shane

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1914 - nil

1915 - 9 on WF - 1st, 9th, 17th and 22nd Bns - in trenches near Givenchy an unlucky shell hit a platoon of A Coy 9th RF killing five and wounding six according to the war diary. 22nd lost one man killed and one DoW from the previous day.

1916 - 6 on WF - 10th, 12th, 13th, 20th, 23rd and 34th Bns

1917 - Nil

Bucking the trend slightly - but the regiment only had two RF Battalions in France in 1914 - London Regt RF not included as they are a different category in CWGC.

Kind regards


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Just entering "Sherwood Foresters" in SDGW with 25th December for each year gives:

1914 - Nil

1915 - 2 = 1 x "Died" + 1 x KIA

1916 - 2 - Both DOW

1917 - 3 = 1 x KIA (11th Btn) + 2 x "Died"

Casting through my medal collection, the nearest I have is a plaque and trio for a Grenadier (3rd Btn) who died at home on Boxing Day of 1916. Wrong arrangement of buttons for you Coldstreamer, and the wrong date with regard to your OP, but still perhaps of interest. He is buried in my home town and, before the war, lived right beside the old Chesterfield FC football ground at Saltergate.



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1914 - 1st Battalion - 1 KIA 4 DOW (1 from wounds received 29/10/14) Trenches at Festubert.

1915 - 2/6th Battalion - 1 DIED not overseas

- 1/6th Battalion - 1 KIA

1916 - NIL

1917 - 2/5th Battalion - 1 KIA

- 2/6th Battalion - 1 KIA

Both Battalions in billets but hostile shellfire in area and both have no grave.



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Thanks all

Any one able to check soldiers died for all those kia on Xmas days please

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From the CWGC: Christmas day 1914 = 136

for comparison, say, 20th Dec 1914 = 183

Edit: this for all UK Units

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Thanks both - I purposely didnt look at CWGC data as it will include wounded and died from other causes - and it stands to reason more men could in theory die of wounds on xmas day the longer the war went on

UK units recorded on the CWGC

1914 - 136

1915 - 154

1916 - 187

1917 - 185

1918 - 134

1919 - 29

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Yes, I thought about that too. I wonder if leave was granted at all. For officers, if not O.R.s. (Sorry skipman - didn't notice your 136 after the link)

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War Diary Christmas 1915 1/18th County of London Battalion the London Regiment London Irish Rifles - no casualties recorded in the war diaries for 1916/17/18

1915 Hohensolern Section –

24/12 7am British exploded our and German mine. 18th Batt. occupied crater 16 killed, 11 wounded, heavy hostile shelling.

25/12 Relieved by 19th Lon. Regt. Relief very difficult owing to terrible state of trenches. 2 feet of mud. Relief started 6 pm 25th and relief effected 10 am 26th.

Men very tired. Many Gum Boots had to be left in mud to enable men to extricate themselves from trenches.

26/12 In Sailly – men resting.

27/12 Resting in Sailly. Cleaning up proceeded with – deficient in 200 Gum Boots.

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Thanks Squirrel

Another thread says 43 KIA British soldiers Xmas 1914

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If you use the CWGC website and apply the country filters: France and Belgium and consider the relative size of the British Army in 1914 against its peak strength in 1917:

On 25th Dec 1917, 55 British men died in France and another 35 in Belgium. 1,685,000 Britsh Servicemen were serving on that day in F&F

On 25th Dec 1914, 50 Britsih men died in France and another 22 in Belgium. 244,000 Britsih Servicemen were serving on that day in F&F

This might suggest that Xmas Day 1914 was nearly seven times more lethal than Xmas day 1917, which by extension raises questions over the 1914 Truce compared to attitudes in later years.

It is worth considering that some DOW on Xmas Day, however there will be men wounded on Xmas day who DOW on subsequent days. The numbers are small and arguably not statistically robust. If the aim of the OP is to consider Xmas Day fatalities across the war, it is worth considering that from 1915-1917 the British were also fighting the Turks who might not have cared much for a truce anchored on a Christian festival - hence my focus on F&F.

Edit. The obvious counter-argument is that 1914 was the first Xmas truce (although there were at least two organsied truces that preceded it in Dec 1914) and men may have been more nervous. Arguably in subsequent years, knowledge of the 1914 and 1915 truces might have influenced behavior in 1916 and 1917.



1. CWGC website

2. SMEBE 1914-20

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I hadnt given thought to the number of men being much much greater later in the war

and the theory of men being more cautious would make sense

so any Xmas 1914 truce was maybe a learning curve - maybe not every one wanted to play ball :w00t: so to speak :thumbsup:

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cheers - drinks and festive nibbles in skindles

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