Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Join me in reviving some memories of Christmas past

It's been five years since I began this blog and at the end of each year I've always written a Christmas-themed post, using letters and other material from my WW1 archive that I've collected while researching my books. I was about to do the same this year when I thought, let's have a look at what's gone before. S0 I put 'Christmas' into my search bar, clicked... and was amazed by what came up!

A lot of the stories I'd completely forgotten and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time reading them all again. So much so, in fact, that I thought you may like to share them too. If this sounds like a good idea, simply insert 'Christmas' into search bar at the top left of this page, and click. Here are some extracts from the posts that will come up - I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them.
‘Christmas Day in the trenches and not one shot was fired’
"25th December –TRENCHES – St Yves. Christmas Day. Not one shot was fired. English and German soldiers intermingled and exchanged souvenirs. Germans very eager to exchange almost anything for our ‘bully beef’ and jam. Majority of them knew French fluently. A few men of the Regiment  assisted in burying the dead of the Somerset Light Infantry, who were killed on 19.12.14. Fine frosty day. Very cold..."

Taking a break to gather mistletoe
'A pretty sight, all the trees glistening white'

"Well my dear I am not in the running for a leave this Christmas, just missed it, but I shall be in the next lot and that will probably be next week, so when you answer this letter, you need not write again till after I have been home..."

Joyful station scenes as soldiers return home for Christmas

"All day the station was crowded with soldiers, coming, going and changing trains. The Christmas spirit was noisily evident, and the singing of snatches of songs, continuous. Never, surely, were trains more crowded, never were travellers more good humoured and content with their accommodation. The men got into the trains anyhow - some through the windows..."

The Christmas post arrives!
 ‘The French know how to raise good turkeys!’

"We had a much better Christmas this season than last. Fortunately we were out of the trenches in reserve and billeted in huts. The weather was fairly well behaved although we had some rain. All the men has a good Christmas dinner including turkey, plum pudding, beer, nuts, candy etc..."

Whilst Tommies fought, the well-heeled Londoners shopped

"Today the West End sales begin, and those who have refrained from buying many necessaries will find unusual opportunities in houses with a high reputation for worth and taste. On Saturday morning many women were seen touring the shopping centres and noting things of special value in the windows already ‘marked down’ for today..."
May I wish all my readers a peaceful and happy Christmas