Blake, Gerald, Letter, 21-27 December 1914

to Clive Blake


Case Study: 
Gerald Blake, an English Participant in the Christmas Truce of 1914
Blake, Gerald
21-27 December 1914
Place: France
McMaster University Libraries
Copyright, public domain: McMaster University owns the rights to the archival copy of the digital image in TIFF format.


cooled his ardour.
We see a lot of talk of "home defence", do we not? I must confess it annoys me. It is all very well, and quite proper to form "home service" corps for men over age for our army, men who would be in a foreign "Landsturm", and so liable for service at home only; (though German is flatly ignoring the provision of her military law) but the War Office is completely correct in casting all the cold water it can upon any scheme which could enable men to consider they are performing adequate military service who are eligible and free to perform their military service in the theatre where it is needed. I believe that enlistments in the home service territorial battalions are, since the beginning of war, confined to lads below the age for foreign service; (i.e. between 17 & 19) anyway the authorities are showing pretty plainly that our military need is a large army here in Flanders and nowhere else. We will always have a sufficiently large home garrison in the home service territorials (now well trained troops, I suppose) to say nothing of the levies in course of training and corps of men of Landsturm age should such be formed. You know I have never believed in "invasion" in any way, and have only given what face to the cry that I have, because I believe it necessary to Great Britain to have a large body of men trained for military service and available for an emergency like the present; and that the public could never have been roused to our needs without some simple cry such as "invasion". We could never have brought home to the people our need of a large army for the continent but for this war. Now I believe we will get not compulsory military service, but compulsory military training, with voluntary war service. This would be in accordance with the spirit of the nation and would ensure that any future "Kitchener's Army" would be able to proceed to business with the minimum of delay; assuming of course that an adequate supply of army material was maintained ready.
Dec 27th 1914
I have since received Mother's box for Christmas, the Times of the 19th, letter from Mother of the 18th and letters from you of the 18th and 20th.
My card was wrong after all for we did spend Christmas in the trenches. We filed up on Wednesday night and have just come out on Sunday morning. Luckily, a heavy frost came on towards Wednesday evening, rendering the trenches much more habitable. We were not in the same portion of them each night,