What a disappointment it is to the friends and relatives of the local volunteers at the front that their lads have to celebrate their Christmas in South Africa only they can realise. This feeling is all the greater because it was so confidently expected that the volunteers would be back at any rate in time to be amongst their friends to join them in the annual festivities. But military exigencies have ruled otherwise, and on the one hand duty has to be done and on the other, circumstances which cannot be altered have had to be accepted. But on both sides there have been many reminders of the fact that the great festival is not forgotten. The mail which has just arrived from South Africa bears ample evidences of this fact. One of our local lads at the front has sent his parents at home a novel Christmas card. It consists of a rough piece of khaki uniform cloth stitched to a sheet of notepaper, on which is inscribed: -
The compliments of the season to you I send
From a soldier not amongst the best of friends.
It's a piece of khaki from a jacket I've worn,
Discarded now, all tattered and torn;
'Tis not a gilt-edged or princely card,
But it conveys to you my kind regard.
Needless to say, this will be the most treasured of the Christmas mementoes received in this home, the occupants of which are thinking lovingly of the lad who is out there doing his duty when but for his devotion to Queen and country he might have been at home enjoying his Christmas with them in the old-fashioned way.
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all members of the Forum from a bright and sunny OZ!
Attached are a couple of pics from APGW -
The caption to the second pic says "Distributing Christmas Presents to Colonel Byng's Column". As a matter of interest, Col. Byng's column was engaged in the Great De Wet hunt towards the very end of 1901.