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Key dates over December 1914

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Lives lost on this day: 2

25th December 1914 - Unofficial armistice in the trenches

Rolling casualty count: 563

1st Batt: ‘B’ Lines: Remained at La Gorgue in billets. The 2nd Northhamptonshire Regt had arranged an unofficial armistice with the Germans till 12 midnight, which we also kept. There was a certain amount of shouting remarks between the Germans and ourselves most of the night which were applauded by our men. In spite of the armistice our sentries were kept as much on the alert as usual; 2nd Batt: In billets at Lacouture. (CO, Adjt, & Company Commanders visited the trenches of the 2/39th Gharwal (Garhwal) Rifles, 9am-2:30pm; 3rd Batt: E. Kemmel: In trenches.

At Birdport Church, on Christmas morning, a collection was taken in aid of the Belgian Relief fund, and the amount collected (£1 11s 6d) has been handed to the Treasurer of the fund.

In addition to the morning church parade, there was a well-attended voluntary service in the YMCA tent on Christmas afternoon. Mrs Sandham presided at the piano, a number of carols were heartily sung, and the Rev L Hale gave a short address.

The men at Norton Barracks were provided with a taste of Christmastide, for by the generosity of friends, and the kindness of Col. Edwards, they were enabled to enjoy sumptuous Christmas fare. About 140 men, the majority of whom were recruits, sat down to a well-cooked dinner, including roast beef, turkey, and roast pork.

The inside of the Workhouse was completely transformed from its mundane appearance for Christmas. All the inmates spent a pleasant time, and enjoyed the fare and entertainment provided for them. The bill of fare included roast beef, mutton, and pork, vegetables, and plum pudding. There was beer for those who desired it, and mineral waters for the remainder. After dinner, oranges, fruit, and nuts were freely distributed. Each man received a pipe, and many were given tobacco and matches. Snuff and fruit were given to the women. During the afternoon music could be heard from all parts of the building. The Worcester “D” Troop of Boy Scouts paid a visit, sang carols, and distributed presents among a number of the older men and women. An impromptu concert, arranged chiefly by the inmates, followed tea. The Master was pleased to say that the day passed without a hitch, and all the inmates conducted themselves admirably.

“A Christmas Carol” (Dickens) will be read by A Carlton Esq, High Sheriff, at the Men’s Own Mission Hall, Wylds Lane, Sunday next, December 27th, at 3 pm.

Information researched by Sue Redding