Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Christmas Letter Home from the Trenches

This is a letter from Letter from Lt. Willy Paton Berthold (Wilbert?) Spencer, Wiltshire Regiment, to his younger sister Helen, Christmas 1914.

My Dear little Helen

I hope you had a Happy Xmas. I wish I could have been at home but I had a very funny Xmas in a hole in the earth. We had a sort of plum pudding but I could find no sixpence in it. Thank you very very much for your lovely Xmas tree and the little pudding. I am longing to see you again and to give you a big hug.

I must stop now.

Heaps of hugs and 100 kisses

From your loving Booba

Lt. Spencer was killed in the Battle of Neuve Chappelle the following year at age 17. He is listed on the Le Touret Memorial, his body never identified.

Source: War Letters 1914–1918


  1. Sad, but the tree and pudding brought home to a young officer gone too soon.

  2. A sad commentary on the youth of today. A young man of 16, already commissioned and in battle. Imagine the responsibility.