The Regimental Dance is over – tonight I am certainly going to hit the hay very early. Nothing much to report today. I sat around and talked to Parley until nearly midnight.
It’s been a wonderful Christmas and birthday for me. I received a couple of surprise gifts that once belonged to my grandfather. For Christmas, my uncle, Don, gave me the brown leather box that contains his watch, a Gruen with his initials and the year, 1939, engraved on the back, a King’s Own Calgary Regiment patch and three of my grandfather’s medals: his Victory medal from the Great War (engraved with his name and serial number) and two medals from the Second World War, the 1939-45 Star (surprisingly, with the France and Germany ribbon attached to it) and the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal. My parents, meanwhile, passed on to me for my 43rd birthday, which was Dec. 28, one of the commando daggers my grandfather sent home from England shortly after the Dieppe Raid. Two beautiful and meaningful gifts for which I am very grateful! I’m a happy man!
We had our 2nd Xmas dinner at Harrison’s in Seaford. Isn’t it strange to be at the same house for a Xmas Dinner in England, twice in succession. We had a very lovely time. Got up early this a.m. and Jim (Furman) and I drove to Ford Manor to a Gas Course. For a one day course is was very good, but we nearly froze to death. Timmy Cameron and I are starting for Scotland on Saturday morning. No plans beyond that yet. Tonight is regimental dance – will have to show up but am going stag. These social activities are getting too much for me.
General clean up today. Am very happy today – at least I have succeeded in getting two stripes for Jim – he is a Corporal and very happy. John, Stoney, Dave Clapperton and I go over to Harrison’s for dinner.
Boxing Day – went to see “Blossom Time” in Brighton, then joined a party at Bedford Hotel in Brighton for dinner. Saw a marionette show. It was awfully good.
Got up at 9:30 a.m. and got cleaned up – went over to RAP (Regimental Aid Post) then drove out to “B” Squadron, then back to our own Mess for a while – when we officers went down to the drill hall to be with the men and help them with their meal. The Brigadier visited the men and spoke to them briefly – after which Tommy Johnson, Perc Wakeford and I took the Turkey to the mess in my Jeep.
We all gathered in the Mess for awhile and then went in for dinner. I only ate Turkey as I was going out for dinner. At home, beautiful Xmas Tree and decorations and a real old fashioned place. I mean a quiet but very pleasant Xmas. The only ones present were Mr. and Mrs. Spofforoth – Ian and his Nanny (old family Nurse) and George – a L/Cpl. in 1st. Canadian Ordinance.
We had a wonderful Turkey dinner with all the wines etc. – the old man took a little too many wines and went to sleep – George very promptly did likewise, so the rest of us listened to the King’s broadcast, McNaughton’s broadcast to Canada – and several marvelous choirs singing Xmas Carols.
This evening we played cribbage. It is now midnight and I have returned home – my second Xmas away – but aside from my homesickness it was a perfectly lovely day – and once more the English have opened their homes to me and have done all in their power to make things pleasant as possible. Nobody could possibly ask for better treatment. There is a welcome there for all time if I play the game as I most certainly should.
Kiddies Xmas Party in drill hall this afternoon. About 200 children from six to ten years old from Broadwater district. Picture, Punch and Judy and singing, then lunch and candies. The children sang “Sussex by the Sea” gloriously – will never forget that setting. Brig Bradbrook and Mrs. Bradbrook called at the Mess and we had a lovely visit for a few minutes. I have now cleaned up my room – piled my eight parcels on my table and am going out to spend the evening with a Mr. Spofforth, a Chartered accountant. I will also spend Xmas with them tomorrow after our boys are fed.
Xmas Eve – too homesick and full (Not of drink) to attempt to write home tonight. What a relief it will be when this is all over.
Twenty-eight letters yesterday and five or six today. Parcels to open – one from Muriel, one from Bobbie, Ollie, Old Mo, Mona, Atkins, Chittick, Bensons. Must get down to the door now to Mr. Spofforth.
Went down to Spofforoth’s and spent Xmas eve. Had the pleasure of filling the stocking for young Ian – about Bobbie’s age (three). Returned home about 2 a.m. and opened all my parcels. They were grand, but oh, the loneliness of sitting all alone in a big drill hall doing the things I used to love to do so much at home. Went to bed after this and went to sleep. Was very tired.