December 1916


David Childs


Private William Hull, 1st Battalion, the Wiltshire Regiment was just 23 years old when he died on 31st December while manning his trench by the River Lys north of Armentieres. He is buried at Tancrez Farm Cemetery, Ploegstraet (Plugstreet) in Belgium. His parents were George and Martha Hull who lived in Church Street. An indication of the fierce fighting taking place at the time is that the Regiment did not eat Christmas dinner until 1st January.

The December Poem

In celebrating Christmas and commemorating William Hull two poems by ladies that one was, until recently, allowed to refer to as poetesses. Winifred Wedgwood served with the Devonshire 26th Voluntary Aid Detachment while Ada Harrison was a student at Newnham College, Cambridge during the war.

Christmas, 1916
Thoughts from a V.A.D. kitchen

There's no Xmas leave for us scullions,
We've got to keep on with the grind;
Just cooking for Britain's heroes,
But, bless you! We don't really mind.

We've scores and scores of potatoes,
And cabbages also to do,
And onions, and turnips, and what not,
That go in the Irish Stew.

We're baking and frying and boiling,
From morning until night;
But we've got to keep on a bit longer,
Till Victory comes in sight.

Then there's cutting the thin bread and butter,
For the men who are very ill;
But we feel we're well rewarded;
For they've fought old Kaiser Bill.

Yes! We've got to hold on a while longer,
Till we've beaten the Hun to his knees;
And then 'Goodbye' to the kitchen;
The treacle, the jam and the cheese.

M. Winifred Wedgwood

New Year

Those that go down into silence ...
There is no silence in their going down,
Although their grave-turf is not wet with tears,
Although Grief passes by them, and Renown
Has garnered them no glory for the years.
The cloud of war moves on, and men forget
That empires fall. We go our heedless ways
Unknowing still, uncaring still, and yet
The very dust is clamorous with their praise.

Ada M. Harrison


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