B Coy. 4th Battalion Christmas 1944 - Wally Hibbard
We, the Lincolns, was the forward observation post of the line and held against the Gerrys, in little villages like, Bemmel, Angeran, Elst, Valburg, Halderen, just to mention a few.
[Wally is referring to an area of the Nederlands, just south of Arnhem. Click here for a map.]
We took up these positions in early December 44. No sooner had we took up these positions, the Gerry’s flooded the island, not only are floods unfriendly but at this time of the year, Bloody Cold! Especially when someone has to live with them come what may.
We occupied what few buildings were available to us, only to live in the upper part of these. When you are there for weeks on end, no lights, no heating, and only able to move at first light for a short period so as not to be observed by Gerry.
Every 14 days we was to come back to Nijhegen for field showers and a change of clothing. Talk about body odour! But it’s not so bad when you all smell the same!
I was asked what it was like for Christmas day 1944. Well apart from the conditions we was in everyday, you could say no different, but we did try to make the most of it.
Our headquarters was a farm at Bremmel, which was on a little higher ground. Everything was the same as other days but for the fact that meals was served in the traditional way. The officers and sergeants was split into two groups to serve the meals, only 50% to eat at a time. Someone had thought of most things like, crackers, mince pies, cake, rum, so while you are enjoying your xmas dinner, think of those soldiers of today wherever they are serving, their thoughts will be with you, they will crack a few off the cuff remarks, just to hold up their morale. When you are a member of the forces, it’s not just one xmas away from you loved ones. 1944 was my first. 1945, 1946 was to be in the Middle East. My daughter who was born in April of 1944 did not know me when we arrived back home. So not only me, but all those of you who served with the Desert Rats and the forgotten lads in Burma.
Strangely I cannot remember hearing any gunfire that day, whether it’s an unwritten law with enemy or not I don’t know, maybe some other reader can come up with the answer.
- Yours Wally
- 4th Lincoln
- Polar Bear Division
- The Polar Bear Association
- Of Polar Bears and Imps
- Submarines on the River Waal
- The Island, 1944/45
- Newsletters of the 2nd Bn - Palestine 1947-1948
- John Searby's photographs of Palestine 1947
- 1st Bn, Wellington Barracks, 1929
- Arras and Albert, 1916
- 1331 PTE William Barker
- WWI Medals
- The King's Drums, 1937
- Robert McAllister's History of the 7th Battalion 1940-1941 (PDF - may take a few seconds to download)