Christmas Day During Wartime

Christmas_day_football_WWI_1915Officers and men of 26th Divisional Ammunition Train playing football in Salonika, Greece on Christmas day 1915. 25th December 1915 British

From the collection of the Imperial War Museums.

British officers and men stationed in Salonika (Thessaloniki), Greece play football on the 25th of December, 1915. First World War.

On this day: the Turks depart Crete

Turkish_departure_Chania_1898 Departure of the Turks from Chania, Crete (3rd November 1898)


Ottoman Turks are seen departing Chania (Hania) on the Greek island of Crete on the 3rd of November, 1898.

During Ottoman occupation, Chania’s churches were turned into mosques. However, a population exchange between Greece and Turkey in the 1920s at the Ottoman Empire’s dissolution ended Islamic influence in the region.

On this day: the Battle of Lepanto

The Battle of Lepanto 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of European Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated the fleet of the Ottoman Empire on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth.

On the 7th of October, 1571, the Holy League destroyed Ottoman Empire forces in the Battle of Lepanto.
The coalition, made up of European Catholic maritime forces and organised by Pope Pius V, met the Turkish forces sailing west at the Gulf of Corinth, Greece.

The battle concluded at about 4pm.

The Holy League lost around 7500 soldiers, sailors and rowers, but they freed about as many Christian prisoners. The Ottomans lost around 15000, and at least 3500 were taken prisoner.

On this day: the Nazi invasion of Crete

Germany’s invasion of Crete began on the 20th of May, 1941. This is a photograph of Nazi paratroopers landing on the Greek island.


Kreta, Landung von Fallschirmjägern

When we stayed on Crete our house had a Nazi pillbox directly behind it, which had a stairway down into a cave system behind it.

On this day: the Great Fire of Smyrna began

Smyrna citizens trying to reach the Allied ships during the Smyrna massacres, 1922

Smyrna citizens trying to reach the Allied ships

The Great Fire of Smyrna destroyed much of Smyrna (known as İzmir today) in September 1922. It began on the 13th and was more or less extinguished by the 22nd of September. It effectively marked the end of the Greco-Turkish War.

Smyrna fire, A wide view of the city on fire. 14.Sep.1922. 0600 AM.

The city on fire. 14th September. 0600 AM.

At the outbreak of the fire, up to 400 000 Greek and Armenian refugees were forced to remain on the waterfront while Turkish troops committed massacres.

The death toll from the fire is disputed, but Greek and Armenian deaths are placed somewhere between 50 000 and 100 000.


The aftermath.