Monday 25 December 2017

Christmas 1917 Round-Up

Tuesday 25th December 1917

Having received telegrams and calls on the blower your correspondent has put together a list of what each of these seven battalions has been doing this Christmas Day:

  • 1st Battalion is in Italy at a place called Camposampierro about two miles north of San Giorgio delle Pertiche. There were church services for all denominations this morning, followed by a cross-country relay race. Gifts from the Bedfords Comforts Fund  were distributed this afternoon. There were also two concert performances by the Bedford Boys - two companies attending each.
  • 2nd Battalion is a Forrestor Camp near Ypres and intends celebrating Christmas tomorrow.
  • 4th Battalion is in the front line tenches near Villers-Plouich on the Cambrai battlefield.
  • 1st/5th Battalion are still at Yafa Hill north of Jaffa, which they took on 22nd, before the rest of the division moved north to Arsouf. Yesterday turkeys were delivered to the battalion by rail, occasioning a fair number of jokes about cooking either turkey or Turk for Christmas. On Christmas Day, the adjutant wired yesterday, there will be no work and hopefully no rain.
  • 6th Battalion is at Curragh Camp near Locre in Belgium.
  • 7th Battalion is having its Christmas holidays at Claude Chappe Camp at Roesbrugge-Haringe north of Poperinge. It has maintained its enviable record of never being in the trenches on Christmas Day. The adjutant told me on the blower that no parades were held. Christmas dinners were held by Companies separately from 12 noon to 4 p.m. and each man received a quart of English beer. Turkeys were obtained from Paris. There were also hams, nuts and sweets provided. Not surprisingly “dinners were generally considered a great success”. The Brigade commander General Sadleir Jackson went round the Brigade to see the Battalions at their Christmas dinners, and met with a great reception by the Bedfords. A draft of 75 other ranks arrived at 11.45 a.m. and they were greatly surprised at having Christmas dinner provided for them! They are chiefly men from 19 to 25 years of age, and largely from the Sussex area. The officers are holding a dinner in Roesbrugge-Haringe as I write this, alone in a barn outside Montreuil-sur-Mer.
  • 8th Battalion is in camp at Courcelles-le-Comte  where Christmas Day was brought in by the band blowing the Long Reveille on bugles. During the morning arrangements were carried out which enabled the battalion to have a splendid Christmas dinner which was enjoyed very much by all ranks. During the afternoon a football match was played between officers and sergeants and after a very enjoyable and hard game the sergeants proved the winners by five goals to four.
Sources: X550/2/5; X550/3/wd; X550/5/3; X550/6/8; X550/7/1; X550/8/1; X550/9/1

No comments:

Post a Comment