100 Years Ago: Christmas and New Year’s Day Overseas

The Intelligencer February 8, 1916 (page 3)

“Letters were received from Captain O’Flynn this morning, the last bearing the date of 18th January, 1916. He is in the best of health and has plenty of work to do. The battalion has been in rest billets for some time and the boys appreciate very much the chance of having a rest. …

The Captain had just received a box of Northern Spy apples from home, which were sent through the kindness of Mr. George Ketcheson, and wrote that they were very much appreciated by the headquarters staff.

In referring to Christmas and New Year’s day a very different spirit existed among our men than existed a year ago, and they would not fraternize with the men who represented the infernal spirit continued to be displayed by the German nation by the murder of Edith Cavell and the attacking of unarmed villages with Zeppelins. A few Germans started to shout across New Years’ greetings but the men answered with rifle grenades which apparently reached their destination.

The men say this fraternizing one day and killing the next is no good and they have no desire to fraternize with those who will fire on the Red Cross ambulances and hospitals and trample upon everything that is honorable.

From the letter it is apparent that a spirit of grim determination has taken the place of their former free and easy view, and they are doing their part with the judgment and enterprise, realizing more than ever the nature of the race they are fighting. …

The Captain expresses his great appreciation of the kindness of his many friends. …  He sends his greetings to all and looks forward to the day when he can be with those friends of his boyhood again.”