Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Christmas in the Trenches

Xmas in the Trenches.

Boom of Guns on the Yser.

Christmas Day brought a hard frost and a heavy winter mist to Belgium and Northern France (says a Times correspondent). The weather did its best to produce the Christmas atmosphere, but the combatants would not take the hint.  In the early hours of Christmas morning the guns began to boom on the Yser, showing that there was to be no truce.  The Germans made a fierce night attack on the French and Belgian positions recently won to the north of Nieuport. The Allies, however, were ready for them, and the German marines were driven back by machine guns and rifle fire, losing many men.

The Allies then made a counter- attack in their turn, which proved successful and resulted in a little more ground being won in the dunes.  There was a desultory bombardment over the Belgian front, particularly to the south of Dixmude, where the Belgians have succeeded in establishing themselves on the farther side of the Yser Canal.

On the British front things were quieter.  Thursday had seen one of the most violent cannonades of the war, but on Friday there was only occasional shelling, and on the whole our men were able to eat their Christmas dinner in peace.  For most of them there seems to have been good things in superabundance.  Plum pudding was served out to all the troops, so that quite apart from private supplies from home, plum pudding was eaten wherever rations could be delivered to the trenches.  The Army has been so flooded with parcels from home during the last days that men had five or six puddings to themselves.  Stories of orgies which will no doubt become legendary are already current, but the gist of all the talk that one hears is that our Army did, in spite of war conditions, spend its Christmas very merrily.

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