Sunday 25 December 2016

Christmas Day in the Brickstacks

Monday 25th December 1916: From our Correspondent in the Field

Today is the third Christmas of this war. During the course of the day’s festivities your correspondent has heard from four of our battalions. The 1st Battalion adjutant rang me on the “blower” this evening telling me: “Christmas Day in The Brickstacks! Conditions have by no means improved, in spite of constant work when possible. The Christmas bombardment continued. Some parts of the trenches were blown in by Minnies(1). Otherwise no damage has been taken. Arrangements have been made for reliefs of the men in the Saps as far as possible as well as the Lewis gunners. Major Moyse, lucky man, has proceeded on leave, Captain Halford assuming the duties of Second-in-Command”.

The 2nd Battalion is in billets at Humbercamps. The adjutant told me that they had a good Christmas Dinner and gifts were received for the Battalion from "The Women of Bedfordshire Comfort Fund", Colonel H W U Coates DSO and "The Liverpool City Battalions Comfort Fund”. Christmas puddings were received from “The Daily Telegraph and Daily News Christmas Pudding Fund”. During the afternoon the Officers played the Sergeants at football, the sergeants winning 2-1.

The 7th Battalion is at Domvast, behind the lines north-east of Abbeville. Christmas Day has been spent, according to Captain Bridcutt: “in real Christmas form. Presents of pudding, fruit, nuts, cigarettes etc. have been received from Sir Frederick Price, and Lady Price (parents of Lieutenant-Colonel G D Price, the battalion’s former commanding officer), Colonel and Mrs.Hudson and Mrs.Heneker, wife of the late Brigadier, 54th Brigade. The men were supplied with a good Christmas dinner, a quart of beer per man and so on, which was followed by entertainment. The officers dined together in one billet. Each Company had their dinner separately. A most enjoyable day was spent by every one in the battalion. The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel G P Mills visited each mess and the health of all was toasted”.

There was a voluntary communion service for the 8th Battalion, which is at Béthune. The battalion had a splendid Christmas dinner owing to the kindness of the Bedford Comfort Fund.

Sources: X550/2/5; X550/3/wd; X550/8/1; X550/9/1

(1) Minenwerfers – short-ranged German mortars, evidently replying to the Christmas Bombardment.

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