Market Lavington Museum

100 Years Ago

Christmas 1915 by Lyn Dyson

1st Battalion

The weather was mild on Christmas day 1915 in Belgium. The 1st Battalion were in trenches Ploegsteert Wood. The Germans put up a white flag above their parapet, but the Wiltshires fired upon it, and it was withdrawn.

A German shouted out a question as to the attitude the Wiltshires intended to adopt, but they gave no reply.

This all seems rather sad, but perhaps the British officers felt that it would be difficult for the men to shoot at the enemy if they fraternised with them on Christmas day, and it was best not to get to know them too well.

The battalion worked on as usual, repairing the trenches. They had to wait until New Years Day to celebrate their Christmas. On that day they had a dinner of roast pork and Christmas pudding and beer, and at 5pm a pierrot party consisting of six officers and one man entertained a crowded house at the Romarin recreation room. The officers dined together at 8pm.

2nd Battalion

The 2nd battalion had a better Christmas. They were at rest at Autheux in France. The day began with Holy Communion and a church parade. The parade was in the billets as the weather was too inclement to hold it outdoors.

After a brief speech from the Commanding Officer, the whole battalion sat down to a sumptuous feast of chicken, pork and beef, etc. This was greatly appreciated by all the men. In the evening there was a regimental concert. This was brought to a successful conclusion by “The King” at 10.30pm. Three cheers were given for the Commanding Officer.

5th Battalion

Christmas passed unremarked for the 5th battalion in Gallipoli. They did manage to receive some parcels and mail on Christmas Eve, the first for a month, so no doubt that was greatly appreciated.

6th Battalion

The 6th battalion was working in the trenches as usual with no celebrations recorded.

7th Battalion

The 7th battalion was in camp in Salonika, Greece and there is no indication in the diary that it was anything other than a normal day.