He was one of the very first men to leave the trenches in the First World War and mingle with the German soldiers between the front lines for some Christmas Day brotherhood and fun in 1914. Lt. Col. Frank Naden’s bravery medals were recently sold for over $22,000, proving the popularity of the men who stepped outside of the war for a brief time and, even though they were enemies, shared Christmas joy and peace.

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Naden wrote about the dramatic Christmas Day truce and it is now on display at the Imperial War Museum in London:

“On Christmas Day one of the Germans came out of the trenches and held his hands up. Our fellows immediately got out of their trenches and the Germans got out of theirs. We met in the middle, and for the rest of the day we fraternized, exchanging food, cigarettes and souvenirs. The Germans gave us some of their sausages, and we gave them some of our stuff. The Scotsmen started the bagpipes and we had a rare old jollification, which involved football, in which the Germans took part. The Germans expressed themselves as being tired of the war and wished it was over. They greatly admired our equipment and wanted to exchange jack knives and other articles. Next day we got an order that all communication and socializing with the enemy must cease, but we did not fire at all that day, and the Germans did not fire at us.”

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For his efforts in the war, Lt. Col. Naden was awarded five Gallantry Medals, three Distinguished Service Orders and two Military Crosses. These precious medals were auctioned off last week by his family more than 100 years after the historic truce. A private collector snatched them for $22,275.

After the war, Naden was badly injured in a car accident in 1925. He went on to serve as president of the Stockport Old Comrades Association in Greater Manchester. The war hero died at the age of 79 in 1954.

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This soldier not only left behind a grieving family, but a story of the unity of human family and the power of Christmas peace.