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1917: The Last Christmas

Over the festive period, 5 live Breakfast has teamed up with Imperial War Museums to bring you some of the letters, diaries and memoirs of the men who were serving in the armed forces in December 1917. Unbeknownst to them, it would be the last Christmas of the First World War.

The Gunner's view

Gunner Thomas George Edgerton served in Palestine in 1917. He was part of C Battery, 301 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.

Gunner Edgerton was stationed just outside Jerusalem and describes the days over Christmas as he waited for an Ottoman counter-attack.

1917: The Last Christmas - Gunner Thomas George Edgerton

Thomas George Edgerton served in Palestine at Christmas during the First World War.

"We look like having a nice Christmas for once in a while"

2nd Lieutenant Harold Ridsdale, of the 76th Field Company, the Royal Engineers was on the Western Front in December 1917. After the war he went on to became the director of a colliery.

He wrote home to his brother Jack, on 22nd December 1917.

1917: The Last Christmas - 2nd Lieutenant Harold Ridsdale

2nd Lieutenant Harold Ridsdale was on the Western Front in December 1917.

"The war didn't quite stop"

Captain Eustace Vachell was serving on the Western Front during Christmas in 1917. The words are taken from his diary.

1917: The Last Christmas - Captain Eustace Vachell

Captain Vachell served on the Western Front during Christmas in 1917.

Christmas Dinner in the shell holes

Private Alfred Lewis served at Ypres Salient with the 6th Battalion the Northamptonshire Regiment on Christmas Day 1917.

1917: The Last Christmas - Private Alfred W Lewis

Private A W Lewis served in the 6th Northamptons at Ypres Salient in December 1917.

"The worst Christmas"

Private Jim Sams, 3rd Area Detachment, Royal Engineers Signals Company (1st Army) was on the Western Front in December 1917.

In a letter to his sister Maud, Private Sams describes "the worst Christmas" he ever spent.

1917: The Last Christmas - Private Jim Sams

Private Jim Sams was on the Western Front in December 1917.