Lieutenant Kenneth Edwin Wootton was a tank operator in the trenches of the Western Front during World War I. He operated the lead tank in his section and was on the front lines of many battles, taking out machine gun emplacements.
He also happened to be an exceptional artist with pen and ink and watercolors who kept a journal of what he experienced and saw in battle between 1915 and 1917
He also records a Christmas Truce in 1916, which is notable because after the first and most famous Christmas Truce of 1914, the commands on both sides did everything they could to discourage such spontaneous eruptions of humanity, including resorting to threats of hard punishment for any soldier engaging in fraternization with the enemy.
Christmas Day 1916, Ypres: Distance between the line was 100 yards. Had an excellent Christmas dinner in a dug out, turkey, Christmas pudding, mine pies, fruit and champagne. Both sides stopped. Did patrol from midnight till 3am and felt very merry.
So there were no twinkling lights, no hanging out, sharing food, cutting each others’ hair like there had been in 1914, but at least they stopped shooting at each other long enough to enjoy a decent Christmas meal.
Peace and goodwill doesn't seem to be prerequisite for some Christmas
shoppers who seem to think that being tired and stressed
gives them the right to abuse retail staff, who are themselves under
tremendous pressure at the busiest time of the year.
Don Farmer, Senior Reporter on the Wairarapa
Times-Age, wrote the Saturday editorial about the sickening
behaviour of some members of the public.
worker I have known for years stopped me to tell me a sad tale of how
he and his colleagues were being treated by Joe Public.
"This is the worst year ever, you wouldn't believe the abuse we are
having to take."
This was backed up by others in the
Many Wairarapa shop staff are having to endure unprovoked abuse for
what is perceived as the smallest shortcomings - like the store being
out of a particular line of stock for a day or so, or for being in the
aisles as shoppers rip past (even though they were stocking shelves.)
Staff at other shops told me they had been roundly abused, with many
customers freely using the infamous F word.
One woman said she had been spat at and another told she was bloody
useless because she was unable to supply an item the shop had never
A man, estimated to be in his 60s, walked out of a shop, then pressed
his face against the window and gave staff the two-fingered salute.
Remember that retail staff are people too, with feelings, who reach
Christmas Eve in a state of exhaustion, only to return to work on
Boxing Day so big-box retailers can cash in on the post-Christmas