Sunday, 27 December 2015

Unhappy Christmas

Monday 27th December 1915: A private in the 7th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, spoke to us today: “As you know if you have studied the career of this Regiment [sic – Battalion] it is one of the smartest regiments in the Bedfordshires or, I might say, in Lord Kitchener’s Army. We are in a division second to none – the 18th(1) – yet when the Battalion leaves England on active service it appears to have passed out of memory of Bedfordshire people. Take for instance this Christmas. Other regiments of this Division have had some good times for Christmas, but the 7th Bedfords have not been allowed to enter a canteen. In fact they do not own such a place. Why is it? Don’t we deserve it? Surely we have done our bit and hope to do it again. I am a Bedfordshire man myself and I have one of your papers sent out weekly. I think the people at home ought to wake up and realise the position we are in at present. Surely we deserve a little comfort”(2)

Source: Bedfordshire Times 7th January 1916

(1) 18th (Eastern) Division quickly came to be seen as an élite formation, particularly after its performance in the Battle of the Somme.

(2) The Battalion war diary for Christmas day simply says: “Football Tournament. 4.30pm Christmas Dinner”.

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