Tuesday 29th December 1914

Breastworks. Cutting down trees in morning. Return to billets in school in afternoon. Receive Princess Mary’s Xmas present. Rain in morning but clears up and turns out lovely night. Was, hair cut and shave and coffee at barbers. (Note) Number of shrines or altars and crucifixes along roadside, and figures of Mary in niches of private houses. Stoves in the houses stand out in the room, paved floors, café au lait always kept ready. Little boys smoke and drink and wear smocks, while quite big lads wear knickerbockers and socks. Cheapness of everything except bread, butter and sweets. No fish obtainable.

Christmas 1914 from Princess Mary and Friends (1) Christmas 1914 from Princess Mary and Friends (2)

Friday 25th December 1914

Christmas Day

Front line. Still freezing hard. No firing along our part of the line all day. Receive Xmas parcel from 2nd battalion. Men from both sides meet between the lines, shake hands and exchange cigarettes. Champion gets a cigar from one. J A Millar, Robins and I arrive too late. German dead lying about. Did ourselves well in the grub line. Breakfast: Sardines, bread and butter and jam, cocoa. Dinner: Hot maconochie, biscuits and cheese and tinned plum pudding (a present from the County Territorial Association) and coffee. Tea: Biscuits, butter, jam and tea. Afterwards, rum punch and a slice of plum pudding and rum just before turning in. On guard four hours.

Bn. War Diary entry: ‘Freezing – very quiet day practically no shooting’

Thursday 24th December 1914

Breastworks. Filling up sandbags in morning. Go up to RB’s front line in afternoon. All firing ceases along the line, except the E. Lancs. Trenches, from about 5 pm. Band in German trenches plays carols, Austrian National Anthem, and God Save the King. Cheering from both sides and Christmas wishes exchanged. Our men singing as well. On guard four hours. Xmas cards from King, Queen, and Brigade. Hard frost.

Queen Mary and King George V

Queen Mary and King George VScan 141840023