Saturday, 26 December 2015

Rain at Christmas

Sunday 26th December 1915: We have heard how two of the battalions of the Bedfordshire Regiment spent their Christmas. The 1st/5th Battalion, in camp at Sidi Bishr, a suburb of Alexandria, are closest to the place of the Nativity. Their Church Parade was cancelled owing to rain. It may surprise us to hear of rain in Egypt but we understand that around two inches falls in Alexandria in December, it is the regions further south where rain is practically unknown – in Luxor, for example, where the famous Valley of the Kings lies they experience less than one tenth of an inch in the average year! The Yellow Devils, however, rain or no rain, enjoyed their Christmas dinners to which every man was invited, even if on detachment away from the camp.

The 2nd Battalion, in billets at Ribeaucourt, west of Doullens in the Somme country, enjoyed a football match in the afternoon in which the officers beat the sergeants 9 goals to 1! Nowhere have we heard of incidents of fraternisation with the enemy such as occurred last Christmas. Perhaps the Germans’ use of such horrific weapons as liquid fire and poisoned gas have put them beyond the usages of civilization. Perhaps too much blood has flowed on both sides and, no doubt, the top brass will have been keen to prevent any repeat.

Sources: X550/3/wd; X550/6/8

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