Untold lives blog

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30 November 2020

Celebrating St Andrew’s Day in the trenches

In December 1914 an Army chaplain serving in France wrote to a friend in Edinburgh who had sent him a haggis for St Andrew’s Day.

‘Will you please accept my best thanks for the excellent haggis you so kindly sent me?  It was duly cooked and enjoyed very much on the day of days.  We even had a taste of the “Auld Kirk” to wash it down, for by a stroke of luck I had ninety-six hours’ leave in the beginning of last week, and took back a flask in my pocket in anticipation.

Scotch whiskiesAdvertisement for Holroyd’s Scotch whiskies in Saul Smiff, A Modern Christmas Carol (London, 1898) BL flickr

You may be sure the Scotsmen hereabouts made the most of the day, and the fact that we are at present far from the sound of guns helped to make matters more lively in one sense if not in another.  I suppose we will be at it again very shortly, but I think we are ready.  My short holiday home gave me a curious sensation.  Folk in the old country seem in a blue funk over an expected invasion, and I believe that you folk in Edinburgh are making strenuous efforts to prevent this.  What beats me is – from whence do you expect the invasion to come?  If our friend the enemy cannot break through our thin line here, how is he to manage to get troops over the Channel?  As for Zeppelins, I have not seen one in my three months or more in this country, and I have been at the front all the time.   But at all events I think you may sleep soundly at night as I do when I know the “Hielanders” are in the trenches.’

Margaret Makepeace
Lead Curator, East India Company records 

Further reading:
The Scotsman 8 December 1914 British Newspaper Archive also available via Findmypast


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