As always the 9th of the month has caught me by surprise again, where has that month gone. I was wondering what I should write about when I saw Yvettes wonderful pictures of WWI on her post "World War I Photos". Such powerful photos!!
I was reminded of an amazing WWI family relic that I was privileged to see earlier this year. One of my second cousins contacted me last May, after he had read a post I had written about my grandfather Malcolm Michael Shepherd. His grandfather, Angus Shepherd, was my grandfather's older brother and they both enlisted in the Army and fought in Africa and Europe during the first world war. The following week, I met with my cousin at the 175 year celebration of the small town of Braidwood, the town that our great grandfathers had grown up in and was delighted that he had bought with him a wonderful collection of family photos and memorabilia to share with me.
|Malcolm Michael Shepherd (Angus's brother)|
Among my cousins collection of photos, cards and memorabilia, there was one item that really caught my attention. It was a menu hand drawn by Angus Shepherd for the 7th platoon, 33 Battalion's Christmas Celebration in France. The menu is drawn up on a target practice card, and the back the men from the 7 platoon have all signed across the target. I was very excited that he let me take a copy of this valuable piece of Australian World I history.
|Christmas Menu - Celebration of the 7th Platoon of the 33 Battalion 25.12. 1918|
|Back of Menu and Target Practice - Signtures of the men of the 7th Platoon, 33 Battalion|
I can't begin to imagine how these men felt at this time. They had fought and survived through some of the most horrific battles and living conditions. They had seen unimaginable horrors, witnessed the death and wounding of their comrades in a country so far from their home and families. You would think that their first Christmas celebration after the end of WWI would have been very bittersweet.