1916 – December 29

Devons’ Pantomime very good – Yesterday we had ten South Devon men* to tea. One of them, Stoneman (now at Sidmouth), was at our wedding. The Christmas week, with its revels and drunkenness is nearly over, thank goodness! – we have such a weird way of celebrating the birth of our Saviour. The women by balls and parties, with nice decolletée dresses, and the men by drinking too much. Poor old humans, we are comic or tragic – I don’t know which.

* In researching this, I came across this link here, which suggests the men could be either from the 1/5th (Prince of Wales’s) Battalion or the 2/6th Battalion. If anyone has any firmer ideas, I would very much appreciate knowing a bit more.

1914 – December 19

The Germans have bombarded Scarborough and Whitby and at last some of the English people will be able to begin to think. They think it is a dreadful thing, a few villas and a hotel or two knocked about and an odd hundred people damaged. It will help them to realize that the whole of Belgium and North of France is like that. One old bounder who was wounded by a fragment of shell said the fright had turned his hair white.

My last Xmas in England was in 1883, 37 years ago, and I was looking forward to this one with all the beloved children, but it is not to be alas!