Fred Warburton, serving with an ammunition column on the Doiran Front, told this story of Christmas 1917 when he and his comrades were looking forward to the geese that they had raised – and guarded jealously – from goslings.
Christmas Eve and we had arranged for a two hour spell to watch the geese and Dick Best had relieved for the 4 to 6 after which we would all be up, our cook Reg usually got up before that time to make gunfire [tea], all of a sudden we heard Reg shouting so we all hurried out to find Dick fast asleep in the corner of the old church, we tried to waken him but it seemed impossible, at his side was a water bottle still quarter full of rum and all we could identify was RAMC in indelible ink and there were NO geese so our Xmas dinner had vanished and all we had left was a tin of Daily Mail pudding. Although we could smell them cooking they, the Medics [who had a camp on the opposite hillside], said they bought them, it took us all our time to stop a free for all but as usual the ‘Rob-All-My-Comrades’ won.
From Alan Wakefield’s book Christmas in the Trenches (The History Press, 2010).
Troops of the 77th Brigade, 26th Division, watching villagers celebrate Orthodox Christmas in January 1916. THE MACEDONIAN CAMPAIGN, 1915-1918. (click on the image to see full size) © IWM (Q 31624)
1917 was clearly a good year for Christmas cards from Salonika as I have three in my collection. This one wasn’t produced specifically for the BSF, like that in my previous post, but is a commercially produced, seasonal postcard. It’s only that the sender wrote ‘Salonica 1917’ on the front that links it to the campaign.
I will echo the sentiments of George to his family or friends in Leeds, and wish you all ‘the compliments of the season’. I hope you will continue to visit the SCS website as we enter the final year of the centenary – The Year of Victory.
Continue reading “Compliments of the season. With love, George xxxx”
Amongst my modest collection of Salonika-campaign-related ephemera, my favourite item is this 1917 Christmas card produced by or for the Corps Cavalry and Cyclists of the BSF. Sadly not a family heirloom – my grandfather, a cyclist, was on his way home with malaria by Christmas 1917 – but a lucky purchase from eBay.
Continue reading “Christmas Greetings from Corps Cavalry and Cyclists”
The SCS Tour Team announces details of the Society’s September 2018 ‘Victory’ battlefield tour. This Centenary tour includes visits to key sites associated with British Salonika Force operations during 1918 as well as attendance at official ceremonies of commemoration in Greece.
Continue reading “SALONIKA CAMPAIGN SOCIETY BATTLEFIELD TOUR: 28 September – 7 October 2018”
In Christmas 1917 the indefatigable 85th Field Ambulance took to the stage again with their third and final pantomime of the campaign – Bluebeard. This is what 2nd Lt Frank Kenchington, RFA, had to say about it in his introduction to Music from Macedonia by Charles H B Jacques, published after the war.
Continue reading “Christmas 1917 : It’s panto time again!”
If so, this fascinating album and diary – for sale on eBay – may be just the thing for you! Serbia 1916-17 – The WW1 diary of Kathleen May Jenner Davies of Gloucestershire, covering her time near the front line as a volunteer with the Serbian Relief Fund. Continue reading “Do you have a spare £1750?”
This time a book on the Salonika campaign and nothing but! I’m not sure how I missed this, which was first published by Tommies Guides in January 2017, but it’s just popped up on eBay which seems to be selling lots of new copies at various prices. If you can tell us more about it, please add a comment to this post. Continue reading “Book : Take Me Back to Blighty”
It’s that time of year when thoughts turn to Christmas presents, whether for others or yourself. My thanks go to SCS Editor Tim Mole, for alerting me to this book which is unusual among the plethora of First Word War books published during the centenary in that Salonika gets more than a passing mention! Continue reading “Book – Chapel Street: ‘The Bravest Little Street in England’”
For a variety of reasons, the 2018 SCS annual meeting in central London will be on Saturday 13th October. Once again this will take the form of a wreath-laying at the Cenotaph, followed by the meeting and talk at the Civil Service Club. Full details, including a booking form, will be in the April 2018 issue of The New Mosquito. There will also be announcements here and in The New Balkan News (email newsletter).