Thursday, 19 January 2017

Tommy's Christmas Pudding

Christmas pudding [Wikimedia

Friday 19th January 1917: We heard in November how the people of Luton were contributing generously to provide Christmas puddings for all soldiers on active service with Bedfordshire Battalions. 
One Luton lad serving with a machine gun team was told by his father not to expect a share of the pudding as he was in a separate unit. However a recent letter shows that the intention that every soldier should have a piece of plum pudding was fulfilled, even if some had to wait a little longer than Christmas Day:
“I was in the trenches for Christmas, and had a pretty good time considering. Parcels were very slack – we had one in my team throughout Christmas, and, ‘mirabile dictu,’ yours truly received nil. Of course, it takes more than that to dampen our spirits, and on Christmas Eve we sang carols, etc., and spent our first Christmas in the trenches very happily. We were soon out of the trenches and back for a few days’ rest and the New Year. Well, New Year’s Eve soon came, and we had a big ‘bust up’, N.C.O.’s in the sergeants’ mess – first course, roast mutton, potatoes, greens; second course, Christmas pudding, given to us by the readers of ‘Daily News’ and ‘Telegraph’.”
 Many letters of thanks have been received from the officers and men of the Bedfordshire Regiment and the other local units.  The appreciation inspired by the puddings is also illustrated in this letter from a Luton man serving as a Corporal in the London Engineers at Salonica. He writes:
“The two papers have made a magnificent effort. The pudding was worth it, too. The fund provided us with six ounces a man, and it was excellent stuff. I ate mine after a hard day’s march over very rough country, and lay me down after it under a little bivouac – a roof certainly, but open to the winds of heaven – to think of home and to sleep. And although I believe the ‘Luton News’ and ‘Saturday Telegraph’ money was earmarked for the county troops, yet I could not help thinking that three ounces of my pudding came from Luton and three ounces from London. And the good wishes and kind thoughts that we know are behind the gift help us to face one’s duty with a brightened outlook and a firmer conviction of victory to come.”
Source: Luton News, 11th and 25th January 1917

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