Christmas 1914 for Essex Armed Forces

At the declaration of war in August 1914 most of the rush of patriotic volunteers felt that the war would be over by Christmas yet at Christmas 1914 the war had not yet started in earnest for most of these men and the next three Christmas's would feel very different.

The list below indicates where the Essex men and some of those from other Regiments who were stationed in Essex spent Christmas 1914.


1st Essex Yeomanry

On front line near Hazebrouck, France

2/1st Essex Yeomanry

Stationed at Wickham Market

A turkey lunch was carved by the Officers.

In the evening a concert was arranged by Sgt McEnvery and Bandmaster Cocks which was attended by a large number of people including Colonel and Lady Colvin.

3/1st Essex Yeomanry

not yet formed

Essex Yeomanry Reserve

Stationed at Melton

A concert was arranged by Lt Myers and Lance Cpl Powditch for local people and Officers who included Major R Woodhouse ( OIC) Lt Winter, Lt Rose, Lt Pelly and Lt Hoare.


1st Essex Battalion

Stationed at Harwich

The Battalion was mainly at Harwich having just arrived from postings at Pretoria, South Africa and Mauritius

2nd Essex Battalion

In front line trenches at Ploegsteert, Belgium.

Corporal Basham, who was formerly caretaker at Braintree C of E School and a Regimental reservist who was called up, sent a Christmas greeting to the school.

He said that he was quite well but that he would reserve his own Christmas celebration until he returned home to Braintree and he did not think that the war could last long at the rate that things were being made warm for the Germans.

3rd Essex Battalion

At Harwich

4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Essex Battalions

At Norwich

4/4th Essex Battalion

Stationed at Stanford

2/5th , 2/6th and 2/7th Battalions

Stationed at Peterborough

Mr Silas Pledger and Mr Sampson Marriage at the suggestion of Col Taylor undertook a collection at Chelmsford Market Place for a fund to provide Christmas fare for the men of the 2/5th Essex who are stationed at Peterborough. In just one hour they raised 41 pounds.

8th Essex Battalion

On coastal duties for whole Essex Coastline

F Company enjoyed  a concert with entertainment by Captain Taylor.

B Company of the 8th Essex stationed at Rochford dined on Christmas Day at the Congregational hall.

On Boxing night there was a dance and on 30 December the Officers gave a dinner for the NCO's and men.

9th  Essex Battalion

In training at Shorncliffe, Kent

10th Essex Battalion

Stationed at Hyderabad Barracks, Colchester

Had competitions for best decorated dining halls with excellent Christmas fare provided by Master-Cook Hurrell

11th Essex Battalion

Stationed at Shoreham

12th Essex Battalion

Stationed at Harwich

13th to 17th Essex Battalions and 1st/2n Garrison Battalions

Not yet formed- 13th would be formed 27 December 1914

18th Essex Battalion

Stationed at Great Yarmouth


Essex Royal Field Artillery (RFA)

Stationed at Colchester

East Anglian Field Ambulance Brigade

Stationed at Colchester

Essex Royal Horse Artillery

Stationed at Woodbridge

Officers and men enjoyed a turkey lunch and then an evening concert.

Those present at lunch included Major W A B Daniel (OIC),  Captain Gordon Dickson, Captain A Thurk, Captain Gwynne, Lt Busbow, Lt Dawson, Lt Flannery, Lt Warrell and Lt Bowers.

Essex Royal Horse Artillery ( Reserve)

Stationed at Colchester

Held festivities in the evening arranged by Quartermaster Sgt Johnson in presence of Lord and Lady O'Hagan, Mrs Munro (wife of General Munro), the Misses Edwards, Major W A B Daniel (OIC), Lt F Flanery and Lt Calrow.


Field Ambulance Corps

Stationed at Colchester

Held festivities attended by Col Cross (OIC) Major Archibald, Lt Coombes, Lt Fawsett and Lt Ashurst.

Army Service Corps

Stationed at Colchester

Had decorations made out of cotton wool that included their crest and a dedication to Captain & Mrs H W Farrow, Lt & Mrs J H Showell and  Lt & Mrs A L Purkis

4th Berkshire Battalion

Stationed at Chelmsford

The Officers of the 4th Berkshire gave a dinner on 28 December 1914 for Military and civilian guests. The military guest included Major-General H N C Heath, Brig-Gen W McClintock, Col J H Collett and Lt Col A L C Clarke.

Notts and Derby Regiment

Stationed at Braintree

On Christmas day the Bishop of Derby arrived in Braintree and officiated in a holy communion at Braintree Parish Church for a large number of soldiers.

Gifts arrived for each man from organisations in Notts and Derby.

On Christmas Night the soldiers met for a smoking concert  at the church hall.

6th Battalion Notts and Derby Regiment

Stationed at Ongar

A church parade was held for the 6th Notts & Derby and the RAMC billeted in Ongar

Royal Army Mechanised Corps (RAMC)

Stationed at Ongar

A church parade was held for the 6th Notts & Derby and the RAMC billeted in Ongar

5th and 8th Royal Warwickshire Battalion

Stationed at Coggeshall

B Company of 5th Warwick's  were entertained to a turkey dinner and concert  in Feering village hall on Christmas Eve and C Company on Boxing Day.

The men of both Battalions were well looked after although many were disappointed when home leave was cancelled at late notice.

Colonel Innis of 8th Warwick entertained the officers to dinner at the Chapel Hotel on Christmas Eve.

The Officers entertained the Sergeants on Boxing Day.

A smoking concert was given on boxing night in a warehouse owned by W King & Sons for the men of the 8th Warwick's. On 28th December 1914 a similar concert was given for the men of the 5th Warwick's.

6th Sherwood Foresters

Stationed at Bocking

The band of the 6th Sherwood Foresters played a programme of music in the public gardens where there was a large gathering.

On Christmas Eve the band of the 6th Sherwood Foresters conducted by Bandmaster McFarland gave a ball for Commissioned and Non Commissioned Officers at the Corn Exchange. A number of local young ladies attended.

South Midlands Royal Engineers - 2nd Field Company

Stationed at Wickham Bishops

On Boxing Day the Company, led by Acting Sgt Major H Hurley were invited to  tea and entertainment in the Parish Hall.

6th South Staffordshire Battalion

Stationed at Epping

A dinner was enjoyed by 280 men followed by a smoking concert was held in the Drill Hall which was tastefully decorated.

On 29th December 1914 a concert party was held for the troops in the Church Room.

Worcester Royal Field Artillery

Stationed at Ingatestone

The men were split into four and provided Christmas dinner and entertainment.

200 men from the 1st Battery were hosted at the Working Men's Club

200 men from the 2nd battery were hosted at the Girls Schoolroom in Fryering Lane

The 3rd Battery were hosted in the Boys Schoolroom in Fryering Lane

The Ammunition and Small Arms Column were hosted at Ingatestone Court

The OIC Col E C Bullock visited each place

Yorkshire Hussars

Stationed at Harlow

The 500 Hussars billeted in Harlow were given Christmas Lunch. 300 were seated in the Drill Hall and 200 in the Victoria Hall.

They were visited by Col Viscount Helmsley who is in command of the Regiment.

He told the men that they were unlikely to be uses as a cavalry at the front but that he had offered their services in any work including fighting on foot.

Boxing Day road race for soldiers stationed at Southend on Sea

Southend Harriers organised a race open to soldiers who were stationed at Southend on Sea on Boxing Day 1914.

There were 61 competitors with 31 from Kings Royal Rifles, 17 from the Border Regiment and 13 from the Rifle Brigade.

1st Sgt Raby Border Regiment , 2nd Rifleman Smith of the Kings Royal Rifles, 3rd Rifleman Jarvis.

1st prize for race of men in full uniform was won by Private Dutton of the Border Regiment.