Before and after Christmas, the Field Comforts Commission received letters of thanks for its parcels from officers on behalf of their men, and from individuals.
A bugler hoped that the staff of the commission would have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, “as we will all try to have one also. Well, I’ll thank you again for the present [of writing paper and cigarettes]. We are all in good health. But the trenches are a little muddy.” (1)
A private offered his benefactors the compliments of the season: “We will not be able to spend a very happy Christmas, as we will be in the trenches that day; but still we will have to make the best of things, and try and look on the bright side of things as much as possible.” He was grateful for their efforts “for us while we are trying at the same time to do our bit.” He had already eaten his chocolate, which he pronounced splendid, and he felt sure that his new khaki handkerchief would be very useful.(2)
One officer expressed thanks for twenty-four tins of peaches which “helped so materially to make the Christmas dinner of my men a success. We were back from the trenches in billets; and in the spacious bay of a barn we set our table. With about a hundred candles burning, the sight was good to men undergoing the hardships of a soldier at the front.” (2)
Certainly it was a more comfortable dinner than this one:
(1) The Canadian Field Comforts Commission. Field Comforts. 2 (June 1916). 19
(2) Field Comforts. 2 (June 1916). 21
The photograph shows soldiers eating Christmas dinner in a shell hole at Beaumont Hamel, 1916. © IWM Q 1631.