Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas is Coming

Friday 24th December 1915: As the second Christmas of this war approaches there seems to be no letting up in the killing. We have heard this morning from the adjutant of the 7th Battalion who are still near Fricourt on the Somme.

During yesterday afternoon Battalion snipers shot two men, this making five men shot at the same point in the last few days. One can only conclude that whatever work is being carried on there appears to be important. At 2.15pm the fired three of a new type of ball bomb from the West Gun to which enemy replied with rifle grenades.

The Bedfordshire Yeomanry intend having a very good Christmas. A member of Number 4 Troop told us the programme for a concert they are preparing for tomorrow night: “Under Royal Patronage, No 4 Troop, Saturday December 25th, 1915, for one night only. Starring Engagement of Sporty’s Orchestra and Concert Company under the able baton of Sporty himself. President, Sergeant Sale, Hinxworth; Vice-President Boko White. Artistes: Spirella Joe, the Canary from Highover; Chater (alias Tubby) the Mouth Organ Fiend; Ingums, the Man of Words, not Deeds; Bombagee, who will rattle his bones; Thameo, the Violin Comb Merchant; Marrashell, the Shoeing Smith, who will play the ‘cello comb; Gunpowder, Eccentric Comedian; Jerra, if not on guard, will sing songs of his own composing; the Woburn Trooper in sensational descriptions of Advance Guards and last, but not least, Jinky Jenks, the Man of Snores, who will pay £50 to any person if he or she can excel him in the noble art”.

“Owing to leave we are unable to star Robin, the bird with the voice of a gramophone”.

“Price of Admission: first two beds 5/-; near Beds 2/6, standing 6d. Seats may be booked and plan of room seen at the Stotfold Pork Butcher’s. Doors open 7.30; commence at 8. During the performance Bulmer will have a “luke” round”.

“Notice - The Management reserve the right of admission. No seats guaranteed, only by booking. Commissioned Officers are requested to come in dress uniform. Persons misbehaving themselves will be instantly expelled. Come in thousands! Nothing to suggest vulgarity!”(1)

Source: X550/8/1

(1) Much of the humour, of course is very dated and relies on references to in-jokes. The report has been edited as it contains some casual racism, something else which dates the piece.

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