Friday, 25 December 2015

Christmas Greetings from the King

Saturday 25th December 1915: This Christmas Day His Majesty the King has sent the following message to his armed forces wherever they may be: “Another Christmas finds all the resources of the Empire still engaged in War and I desire to convey on my own behalf and on behalf of the Queen a heartfelt Christmas greeting and our good wishes for the New Year to all who on Sea and Land are upholding the honour of the British name. In the officers and men of my Navy, on whom the security of the Empire depends, I repose in, common with all my subjects, a trust that is absolute. On the Officers and men of my Armies whether now in France, in the East or in other fields, I rely with an equal faith, confident that their devotion, their valour and their self-sacrifice will, under God's guidance lead to Victory and an honourable Peace. There are many of their comrades now, alas, in hospital and to these brave men, also I desire with the Queen, to express our deep gratitude and our current prayers for their recovery”.

“Officers and men of the Navy and Army another year is drawing to a close, as it began, in toil, bloodshed and suffering but I rejoice to know that the goal to which you are striving draws nearer to sight.May God Bless You and all your Undertakings".

Sir Douglas Haig has sent the following reply on behalf of the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium: “The Army in France under my Command desires to be allowed to express its warmest thanks to Your Majesty and to Her Majesty the Queen for the gracious message received. On behalf of the troops I respectively beg Your Majesties to accept the most heartfelt good wishes of all ranks for Xmas and the New Year and an expression of their firm and lasting determination to prove themselves worthy of the great trust which Your Majesty reposes in us”.

The 2nd Bedfords are now part of 30th Division. Many of the units from Manchester and Merseyside were raised with the assistance of the Earl of Derby(1) and the division bears his crest as its divisional identification symbol. It is thus only natural that the divisional commander Major General Fry should have sent him a telegram wishing him season’s best, to which he replied thus: “Many thanks for Kind telegram. Very heartily reciprocate. Good Wishes. Trust 30th Division will find Xmas at Home next year. I wish all ranks A Happy New Year".

Source: X550/3/wd

(1) Edward Stanley, 17th Earl of Derby would be Secretary of State for War from, December 1916 to April 1918 and Ambassador to France from April 1918 to 1920. In October 1915 as Director General of Recruiting he introduced the Derby Scheme in order to stave off conscription but it did not raise the necessary number of men and conscription was introduced in March 1916.

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