The Soldiers’ Party – Christmas Term 1917

As we ran over for “Matches” on Saturday we saw a familiar Ambulance car outside the School gate with khaki coats and blue legs coming out of it, and there were more khaki overcoats and blue legs coming up Milford Hill too, some on crutches, some with their arms bound up. We knew why they were coming, for hadn’t we spent three desperate breaks and half-an-hour on Saturday morning practicing songs, and trying to make our umph, umph, umphs, and wee, wee, wees pig-like! By 1.45 we were gathered into two masses, one red one white at each goal on pitch 1, shooting, running, wriggling, and on looking round towards the bank we saw the soldiers, they were going to watch the match! Before long they had all decided what side to back, or rather what colour, for they dubbed us the ” Reds,” and the “Whites.” Yells came from the bank of “Go it the reds,” “That’s it, that’s it, pass it to the Picaninny, run Picaninny, run. Ah that big white one is too much for her.” And I heard the familiar burr of a Scottie, “Go it the forwards.” They watched eagerly the whole time, and I believe they enjoyed the match quite as much as we did, and that’s saying a lot. After the match was over they went into a much transformed Hall. There were flags everywhere, flags festooned from the gallery, flags from the windows, flags under the platform, and a huge laurel wreath in the midst. It was a gay sight, the flags in their brave colours, the men in their hospital uniform (the uniform we all love, respect and would do anything to serve). And gay smoke wreaths from their cigarettes. Then the concert began. Old Girls, mistresses and present girls and one of our wounded guests performed. We all enjoyed Mrs. Leys’ singing immensely. Miss Foley and Miss Baker gave us delightful violin solos. Miss Atkinson, Miss Foley and Miss Lavender played several beautiful trios. Last term’s Special Singing Class sang several Shakespeare songs, and some middle-sized people amused us with the quaint Alfred Scott Gatty songs of our nursery days, always ending with a moral! But the songs we enjoyed the most were sting by our guest. We ended the concert with hearty cheers for the King, Queen, and all the Royal Family; the Navy and the Army; the Tanks (a happy thought just after a great Tank vic­tory), and our Guests. After three verses of “God Save the King,” the men made their way to the dining-room and School House sitting-room and St. Margaret’s for their tea. We hung eagerly over the gallery to see them, and felt a thrill of pride for Britain.

K.M. SEAL.

The following is a letter written by one of the men from the Red Cross Hospital
Red X Hospital, Salisbury,
DEAR MADAM,                                                       26/11/17.

On behalf of the boys of this hospital, we wish to thank you for the splendid concert and tea which you gave to us last Saturday. The boys wished to be remembered to you and to thank all those who were concerned in enabling us to enjoy ourselves, thanking you once again,
I remain,
Yours truly,
For the boys of the hospital.
CORPORAL J. BARNETT.

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