Christmas for service personnel around the world is always a difficult time but people make the best of it, just as they did 100 years ago.
This picture below was published in the Richmond Herald on 30 January 1915. The quality is poor but it is just possible to make out the Christmas wishes – below a more sombre motto; ‘DO YOUR DUTY’. It was taken in the mess hall of the 6th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, at Christmas 1914.
The 6th Battalion, in which many men from across the Richmond area served, was stationed in ‘Fyzabad’ (Faizabad), in Uttar Pradesh, India. The Herald recorded that they celebrated Christmas there with turkey, goose, and traditional decorations.
The more celebrated Christmas kick-about in No Man’s Land is the stuff of legend – and now adverts! – in the UK.. However it has been largely uncelebrated on the continent.
Christian Carion’s 2006 film, Joyeux Noel (Happy Christmas), was based on extensive research into the incident. In this article for the BBC, Carion talks about his delight at discovering the story.
The Museum of Richmond’s scheduled public showing of the film on 10 December unfortunately had to be cancelled. There may be the opportunity to schedule another showing; please email the museum to express an interest.