100 Years Ago: Christmas Letter from P.A. Boland

The Intelligencer January 17, 1916 (page 3)

“The following letter has been received from Pte. P.A. Boland, by his mother: Belgium, Dec. 25, 1915. Dear Mother—Just a few lines to let you know I am still alive and well.

This is Xmas day. We are in the front lines but there is not much doing in the way of fighting. The Huns have hardly fired a shot to-day. Our boys are just waiting for them to start something. They, I mean the Huns, have never showed their heads above the trenches. A few stray bullets are about all they got from us. Last night we could hear them singing some kind of lingo. In return our chaps kept shouting to them that we were going to have turkey for dinner to-day. By the way our X-mas dinner consisted of beef-steak, plum pudding, cheese, jam and tea. Some class to us!

The weather over here is not so bad at present. If it wasn’t for the mud we would just be fine. We are up to our necks in it. Still we don’t mind it much after three months and a half. The boys are as hard as nails, although it is a hard old game. You never hear any of us kicking. We know it won’t last for ever. As long as I am in good health I don’t care.

Well, Mother, I think I told you I received all your boxes so far. The next time you send me a box I would like very much if you would put in some short-cake. You know the kind I mean, those home-made chaps. We are getting lots to eat over here, but the same thing day after day don’t go very good. I spend nearly all my month’s pay in food. There is a little store behind the lines where we order our groceries. They charge us eighty-five cents a dozen for eggs. That’s going some, isn’t it?

Tell Kathleen I received her letter of December 1, also Minnie’s card. I will write to you often, so cheer up! Better days are coming. I think I have told you all for this time. Give my love to all. I remain, Your son, Pte. P.A. Boland.”