Defence Family Matters : December 2015
DFMDecember2015 29 Red Cross voluntary aids in Scone, NSW in 1914. Photo courtesy Australian Red Cross Heritage Collection. THE SPIRIT OF ANZAC INEGYPT IN 1915 AND THE WESTERN FRONT FROM 1916, A CAREFULLY WRAPPED CAKE OR PUDDING WAS A WELCOME REMINDER OF HOME AND FAMILY. Christmas a hundred years ago saw Australian families preparing gift packages for their loved ones serving overseas or in Australian ‘home camps’ as they were called. This tradition continued during World War I and was resurrected during World War II. The troops also received packages from the Red Cross or the various comfort funds, but these only included manufactured biscuits and cakes. Home-made Christmas cakes and puddings, made with love in the family kitchen, must have been a welcome delivery. The parcels from families contained presents as well as home baked goodies. Socks, balaclavas and jumpers were popular, as well as tinned food: tinned milk, cream, fruit, honey and even tinned dripping! The most requested items for Christmas were un-iced fruit cakes and puddings. Advice from the Queenslander on 22 December 1917 suggested a fairly rich cake or pudding containing ‘plenty of good [dried] fruit’ which would keep the cake moist and fresh. You could buy a cake tin with a sealed lid like a pudding bowl, ideal for sending overseas. The Queenslander provided a recipe for a pudding which was a good one to send overseas. We’ve put the original recipe on the DCO website with the metric conversions, if you’d like to make an authentic World War I Christmas pudding. And for those of you wondering if Anzac biscuits would have been included in the Christmas parcel – stay tuned for the next issue of Defence Family Matters! n ANZAC CHRISTMAS COOKING STEPHANIE MCNEILL The contents of a Red Cross comfort parcel, delivered fortnightly to Australian servicemen for the duration of World War 1. Photo courtesy Australian Red Cross Heritage Collection. Christmas billies are distributed to soldiers by workers for the Australian Comforts Fund in Egypt. Photo courtesy Australian War Memorial.