New Year and World War One

New Year and World War One

While New Year’s celebrations in the trenches were not as well documented as the Christmas celebrations, they did take place throughout World War One.

Both the Allied soldiers and the German soldiers on the Western Front enjoyed the opportunity to forget about the horrors of trench life and did what they could to mark the start of a new year.

In some areas of the Western Front, the Christmas truce actually lasted until New Year’s Day, offering the soldiers a significant period of relief and festivity. It is also noted by some soldiers that the famous games of football took place once more to mark the start of the new year

A Christmas and New Year's card from the front - dated 1917

Karl Aldage, a soldier fighting in the German trenches, wrote about his experience of New Year’s Eve 1914:


“On New Year’s Eve we called across to tell each other the time and agreed to fire a salvo at 12. It was a cold night. We sang songs, and they clapped (we were only about 60 to 70 yards apart); we played the mouth organ and they sang and we clapped. Then I asked if they hadn’t got any musical instruments, and they produced bagpipes (they are the Scots Guards, with their short petticoats and bare legs) and they played some of their beautiful elegies on them, and sang, too. Then at 12 we all fired salvos into the air. Then there were a few shots from our guns (I don’t know what they were firing at) and the usually so dangerous Verey lights crackled like fireworks, and we waved torches and cheered. We had brewed some grog and drank the toast of the Kaiser and the New Year. It was a real good ‘Silvester’, just like peacetime.”

MLA Citation/Reference

"New Year and World War One ". HistoryLearning.com. 2019. Web.