‘Tis Christmas Eve. In all the camps
There gleam a host of tiny lamps
That make the hill on which I stand
A veritable fairyland.
For friends at home and far away
Have helped us celebrate the day
By sending each and every man
A present of a billycan
Crammed full of wondrous things inside,
You couldn’t guess them if you tried.
Tobacco, socks and butterscotch,
And for some lucky chap, a watch;
Tinned cheese, and ham, and bloater-paste,
Sweet biscuits (which we will not waste),
Toothbrushes, chocolate, lanoline,
Bootlaces, coca, Vaseline,
Stewed fruit, cigars, a Christmas cake,
And writing pad all helped to make
A gift as pleasant to receive
On service as it was to give.
Now the first excitement o’er
And as I listen from the shore,
A wave of song towards me floats
From fairy choirs in fairy boats
Bearing the message of love and praise
And a prayer for purer, better days.
The Spirit of God is hovering there
In the wondrous calm of the still night air,
For the roughest heart has seen again
A vision of peace and goodwill to men.
So here’s to you, good friends and true,
And ‘hands across the oceans blue’;
We wish you all both far and near:
A Happy Christmas, a prosperous New Year!
Sgt Alan J. Kerr
(AWM 1 DRL 397)