Friday, 21 December 2012

'Remembering absent friends at Christmas'

This week here's another of the Christmas letters George Lamb sent home to his family in Canada. The year is now 1917 and at last he's arrived in France, enjoying Christmas in fine style but also remembering absent friends. Tragically, this was to be his final Christmas. George Lamb was killed in action the following March, aged 22. His-larger-than-life personality comes alive in the letters he wrote home, though, and George will be one of the stars of my book. (For his 1916 Christmas letter, see last week's post.)

'Our menu was everything
that could be expected'

December 26, 1917

My Dear Mother,

As you will see by the date Xmas is over and although it was my first one in France, I hope I shall enjoy my next one as well in Canada. Our menu was everything that could be expected and the quantity was plenty, I wished I had one of the menus, in fact I remember now I have it, so will enclose it. You could not imagine the good time we had, several of the old faces were absent, but at the same time we have to expect casualties, and perhaps a greater percentage next year when our smashing will begin for a clean sweep.

The officers and sergeants acted mess orderlies and of course we made them all reply with speeches, which they did. In the evening a couple or so of us journeyed out to a little estaminet [cafe] where there are two of the nicest girls I have seen in France. They were driven from some Belgian city, have plenty of money, well educated and so obliging and different from most of the French over here. It was a fine finish after such a good day as we had.

Winter has settled in for good alright now, snow has fallen about four to six inches and although it is not so cold, the melting and snowing again make it disagreeable for the feet. One thing I felt glad about is when the 22nd of December, the shortest day, had finished and from now on we shall be getting longer days although it won't have much effect for awhile.

I suppose you received my card by now, it was kind of late coming. I only had two, it was all I could get, I sent the other to Cassie [his fiancee]. I haven't had any Xmas parcels from anyone. I suppose the mail will be tied up for a while, so much to handle. I had one from Aunt Alice in England, also several letters, she has been very good indeed to me and I wished you would write her once in awhile.

I am helping fix up cars to-day so must get back to work or I'll get fired. Very little news these days only that the war is still going on and glad that conscription passed in Canada.

With fond love to all, I am as ever your loving son George.

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