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Faces of 2012

Alex Neil, who was promoted

Drawing by Bob Smith

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Drymen, Stirlingshire
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20 December 2012

A Christmas
Day letter many
Christmases ago

Charles MacDonald

From Private Charles MacDonald, 6th Seaforths

A Company
2/6 Seaforths


Dear Effie

I have just received your letter and card and as this is Xmas day it has arrived in good time. I am glad to know that everybody far and near is in good health. The weather is very cold here too but we have had no snow so far. I have had a letter from Peggie not long since.

I think the verse of Gaelic song [your card] contains is fine. I wonder who 'E.McD' is?

Donald wrote to me telling of his present work. It is a pity it would not last till the end of the war.

I hope that some of the good times we once had will come back after this horror has passed away. Surely the world will be wiser and never again allow such a madness to overtake it. It is terrible to think that millions of people should be sacrificed when the whole question could easily be settled by arbitration. I hope that there is truth in the rumours of an early peace that are so much talked about at present.

I hope the parcel arrives without damage. I see some arriving here in a fairly battered condition.

They tell us that we are to have a Xmas dinner today. I can't say what it will be like. Of course this is a holiday and that itself is something.

I don't think I can say any more at present except to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year if such things are possible at a time like this.

With love to all and best wishes


A relative of Charlie MacDonald wrote: As far as I can recollect through old bits of conversation, he studied for the ministry. I also think he was brought up by my grandparents in Middleton, Tiree. He had two sisters – Effie and Mary. I think he was a friend of the socialist John Maclean. He wrote the above letter while waiting to go to France. He loved nature and would sometimes leave the house at 4am to climb Ceann a'Mhara (Tiree) to watch the sun come up.

He was killed in action in 1918. His body was never found.