Up at usual time. Worked from 6.30 until 8.30 at night. Wood went to headquarters and I carried on. Pretty busy, but not unpleasant day. The men had presents tied to their stretchers in the morning. Sister gave Wood and I some soap and stuff. Went to bed about 9.30 feeling pretty tired.
Up at about 7.30 after rather restless night with the cold. Paraded at 9 o’clock and did a small fatigue job. Cleaned canteen and wrote up diary. Two dining sessions and I went into the second one at 1.15. Very good spread. Menu and all the rest of it. C O and officers came in and made usual speech. Room very nicely decorated. Concert at 3.30. Steve Bott and John Dory pretty good and the others pretty awful. Corporal Chapman and Cotter about the worst singers. Went to A section billet to hear the R F’s1 band. Returned about 9 o’clock and went to bed.
Received letter from home saying that they had heard from Charlie dated 18th November.
R F’s: probably Royal Fusiliers ↩
[First line of entry badly smudged.] Up and to the hospital as usual. A * * dinner at 4.15. A good spread. Social at 7.30. Ludd, Webb and John Dory in. Spent a pleasant day in spite of being away. Rained heavily at night.
Got up late. Willie came up about 11 o’clock. Went for Blaikie with Joe and Willie. Had cake and wine at their house. Henry Blaikie and Willie called after dinner and we walked round by Hylton1. Went to pictures at the Picture House at night and saw the Star of Joseph, and the Legend of Provence. Both very good. Went to Whittakers’ to supper. All our family there. Came up home about 12 o’clock. Wondered how Charlie was getting on.
“Hylton”: probably South Hylton (A), about 2 miles W. of Eldon Street (B), on S. bank of Wear; North Hylton is directly across the river, and Hylton Castle (C), restored in recent years, is about 1½ miles NNE. of N. Hylton. ↩
[Christmas day – see footnote1.]
Had walk round town with Father before dinner. Had roast pork and onions for dinner. Ernie came in for dinner and stayed a short while. I set him up to the station. We were rather too soon and walked about town talking. Played the piano and played a few games amongst ourselves at night. Went to bed about mid night. British Air Raid on Cuxhaven 2 by 7 aviators. 4 machines lost but all the men safe.
While ALL routinely included brief notes on War events in his diary entries, often writing them on the date they had happened and not necessarily on the date he became aware of them, he never made any reference to the ‘Christmas truce‘. Histories of WW1 which mention a truce generally say that any such events, with or without impromptu games of football or exchanges of gifts, were localised, informal and strongly deprecated by Army commanders. ALL’s silence may be interpreted either as confirming that censorship of news about truces, if not complete, was fairly successful, or as suggesting that if anything was known about them, it was not considered significant in Britain at the time. The former seems the more likely explanation. ↩