Christmas 1916 in the Struma Valley

This is not an exhaustive study of how the troops of XVI Corps celebrated the Christmas of 1916 but, rather, a brief seasonal offering taken from two War Diaries that I have to hand. Happy Christmas!

16th Corps Cyclist Battalion (WO 95/4827)

In a recent post I described how the Battalion was formed from the cyclist companies of the Corps’ three infantry divisions. Based at Badimal, overlooking Lake Tahinos, the Battalion’s War Diary entries are brief and to the point:

  • 15th December : Parades, drill and guards. Weather fine.
  • 18th December : Route march. Surplus ASC and RAMC personnel posted.
  • 25th December : Nothing to report.
  • 27th December : Training in sanitation, first aid and pioneer duties.
  • 28th December : Gas helmet demonstration.
  • 29th December : TAB inoculation completed.

At least Christmas was quiet for the cyclists!

4th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps (WO 95/4890)

At Kato Krusoves – at the southern end of the Struma Valley – Christmas followed on soon after the patrol described in my earlier post, which saw casualties and men taken prisoner.

  • 19th December : Capt. M L Buller [CO ‘A’ Company] went out with small patrol in the afternoon over the scene of the previous night’s fight, but only found the one dead Turk.
  • 25th December : Xmas Day – men had dinner of roast pork, roast beef, vegetables, plum pudding, jam tarts and beer.
  • 30th December : ‘C’ Company relieved ‘D’ Company at KUCOS.

Total casualties during month:-

5 killed, 3 wounded, 3 missing (believed prisoners).

You can find out more about the Christmases of the First World War – on all fronts – in the book Christmas in the Trenches (The History Press, 2013) by our very own Alan Wakefield.


Author: Andy Hutt

Andy's interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Arthur, who served in Salonika as a sapper with the Royal Engineers from 1916-1918. Opinions expressed in these posts are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

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