Christmas day 1943 began well with the singing of Christmas carols at dawn by a choir organised by L/Cpl Ralph Green. This was followed by early morning Church Parades. The battalion 2 i/c Padre and representatives of each company then visited members of the Battalion who were patients in the 2/4th and 2/6 Field Ambulances.

So liberal had been the Unit’s response to an appeal for magazines, tobacco and other Christmas cheer, that there was practically
enough for a general distribution to all patients
in the two hospitals.

In the afternoon it rained heavily, but the “Kuba” Lake Aquatic Sports Meeting, patronised by Major-General Vasey himself, was none the less a great success. The event of the day was won by B Company’s frail craft, Atrebin, propelled by L/Cpl Dick Slattery and Pte. Peter Benson. Second was A Company’s graceful boat, named the Bruce Kingsbury VC, and rowed by Lieut. Young and Sgt. Sandy Perkins, with Pte Ernie Morris as cox.

The “racing eight” hewn from a tree West Australian by Pte. “Groper” Kennedy for HQ Company began well, but took half the lake to turn and sank some distance from home.

The rain stopped in time for the despairing cooks to turn out an unbelievably good Christmas dinner of poultry and vegetables, followed by plum pudding, served by the officers in accordance with tradition.

On the following morning Lt-Col Rhoden presented the trophies. To Capt. Schwind, for A Company, as winners, an embossed silver tray (a threepenny bit); to Capt. Beggs, for C Company, a bronze medallion engraved with the Kings head (a penny); and to Capt. Christopherson, a stocking full of appetising delicacies (bully beef, M. and V. etc.) as third prize.

The next day saw the first major advance along Shaggy Ridge, when the 2/16th attacked the Japanese positions.

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