Salonika, Christmas, 1917

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).

Merry Christmas!


Troops of the 77th Brigade, 26th Division, watching villagers celebrate Orthodox Christmas in January 1916. THE MACEDONIAN CAMPAIGN, 1915-1918
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)

Christmas 1917 : It’s panto time again!

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.

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Book : Take Me Back to Blighty

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”

Book – Chapel Street: ‘The Bravest Little Street in England’

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’”

Remembering R4/0666436 Pte Jesse Willoughby, ASC

It is not my intention for this website to become an advertising outlet for eBay, but when items belonging to a named member of the BSF appear for sale, it would be a shame not to give him a mention. It always saddens me when these things are no longer in the possession of the family, but hopefully these will go to a good, appreciative home.

Continue reading “Remembering R4/0666436 Pte Jesse Willoughby, ASC”

The New Mosquito #36 : September 2017

Members should have received this latest edition of The New Mosquito, by now. Please contact the Society if you are expecting a copy, but haven’t received it.

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The Great Fire of 1917 : an eyewitness account

My thanks go to David Shillito for providing the transcript of a letter written by his father – Second Lieutenant John Ewart Shillito of 2nd East Yorkshire Regiment (83 Brigade, 28 Division) – to his family describing the fire of August 1917. Continue reading “The Great Fire of 1917 : an eyewitness account”