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WW2 Christmas -wartime memories, stories, photos and wishes


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#1 Susan Smethurst

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 10:16 PM

I thought it would be good to start a Christmas thread-for anything related to this special time of the year. These are my initial offering but so many of us must have either direct memory or photos or documents from our research that relate to Christmas in WW2.

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Susan


From mud, Through blood, To the green fields beyond.....1st Royal Tank Regiment

Dont mention the war. I mentioned it once but think I got away with it alright Basil Fawlty

#2 son of a rat

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 10:31 PM

Wow a desert rats xmas card i have 2 one of which my father sent two his mother from Sittard Holland xmas 1944 he says they were given one card each. He also remembers xmas dinner in Sittard with a mug half rum and half calvados he says what a (something)mix.
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#3 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 11:13 PM

BBC - WW2 People's War - New Years Day 1944, Snowed in at Carovilli

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If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps.

 

Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#4 RosyRedd

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 11:50 PM

Christmas Greetings from 1 ABW R.E.M.E.

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#5 tmac

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 12:45 AM

92nd LAA Bofors crew near Oploo, Holland, December 10, 1944

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#6 dbf

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 12:54 AM

http://www.ww2talk.c...athe-films.html
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#7 17thDYRCH

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 02:45 AM

edit

Edited by 17thDYRCH, 04 December 2011 - 08:40 PM.
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Avatar: 17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars (7th Recce Regiment )

#8 Gage

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 01:41 PM

A Wartime Christmas (Christmas Anthologies): Amazon.co.uk: Maria Hubert, Andrew Hubert: Books
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'There I stood at the bar, wearing a Mae West, no jacket, and beginning to leak blood from my torn boot. None of the golfers took any notice of me - after all, I wasn't a member!' Kenneth Lee - after being shot down on the 18th August 1940.

Andree Borrel (Denise) SOE

♫ Now wicked tongues can speak and rewrite history But you can't keep the truth contained And like the song was sung Realize we're one and we're here to stay 


#9 Kbak

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 02:07 PM

53rd (London)Medium Regt RA Christmas day in the Ardennes

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C.W.G.C Community Involvement/Adopt a War Grave volunteer
Ann's Hill Cemetery Gosport Hampshire


http://www.wix.com/t...-art-of-kgbaker



http://53rdmediumregtra.webs.com/

:poppy:Serjeant F J Baker RA:poppy:


#10 son of a rat

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 03:14 PM

December 1944 my father and two others stopped outside a row of houses in Born nr Sittard in very snowy conditions a young girl about 5 years old was sent from one of the houses to ask the soldiers inside each house had a small hole joining each house so children could pass from house to house if need be as the house was only 7 kms from the German border. Father stayed there for a few days waiting orders and the weather to settle sharing food with the family and playing with the children. When he left the husband gave dad a spoon in a box for christmas with a thank you note written on the box. After i took dad for his first return to Normandy 2004 he went to his draw and got out the spoon and said how thankfull he was to the family and others during that awful winter and wished he had kept in touch with the family. After two years work a friend found Ingrid and in to 2007 i took my father to holland to return the spoon with Anglia TV behind we left Beccles down to Dover over to Calais half of the stern was taped of for the camara man.Then of to Deinze in Belguim were he was ordered to blow up the towns bridges, Then of to Born to return the spoon. Quite a trip for dad we are still keeping in touch and good friends.
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#11 Cee

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 04:27 PM

Susan - a nice idea for a thread.

While searching the source for another card I came across yours and few others from the same unit on this page:

Artefacts - Memorabilia

I'll include my favourite here and perhaps the same referred to by son of a desert rat?

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#12 son of a rat

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 04:40 PM

Yes the same so nice that these are kept mine says to all love Fred.
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#13 Bluebell21

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 05:09 PM

Christmas card received from my Dad (REME. LAD) on the way to the Ardennes with 1st. Northamptonshire Yeomanry.

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#14 David Layne

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:37 PM

I have a number of Christmas related items that I trot out every year so some of you will have seen them before.

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Veni, Vidi, Velcro...I came, I saw, I stuck around.


Researching my father's time with 50 Squadron, 97 Squadron, Dulug Luft, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357 and Stalag Luft III.

http://wallyswar.wordpress.com/

#15 David Layne

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:39 PM

I found these on the web last year, maybe here.

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Veni, Vidi, Velcro...I came, I saw, I stuck around.


Researching my father's time with 50 Squadron, 97 Squadron, Dulug Luft, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357 and Stalag Luft III.

http://wallyswar.wordpress.com/

#16 David Layne

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:41 PM

These Christmas Cards were sent to my mother by her father from France in 1917

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Veni, Vidi, Velcro...I came, I saw, I stuck around.


Researching my father's time with 50 Squadron, 97 Squadron, Dulug Luft, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357 and Stalag Luft III.

http://wallyswar.wordpress.com/

#17 David Layne

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:44 PM

This Christmas Card was sent to the N.C.O.'s of 50 Squadron by their ex C.O. Gus Walker, Christmas 1941. Fortunately my father saved the card which is in my possession

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Veni, Vidi, Velcro...I came, I saw, I stuck around.


Researching my father's time with 50 Squadron, 97 Squadron, Dulug Luft, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357 and Stalag Luft III.

http://wallyswar.wordpress.com/

#18 David Layne

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:47 PM

1944 Lancaster

Downham Market

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Veni, Vidi, Velcro...I came, I saw, I stuck around.


Researching my father's time with 50 Squadron, 97 Squadron, Dulug Luft, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357 and Stalag Luft III.

http://wallyswar.wordpress.com/

#19 CL1

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:48 PM

53rd Welsh Division Christmas Card 1944

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#20 David Layne

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:49 PM

Liberator 1943

Navy POW Christmas Card

Stalag viiib POW card

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Veni, Vidi, Velcro...I came, I saw, I stuck around.


Researching my father's time with 50 Squadron, 97 Squadron, Dulug Luft, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357 and Stalag Luft III.

http://wallyswar.wordpress.com/

#21 David Layne

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 07:56 PM

My father's Christmas menu from 9 B&G R.A.F. Penrhos.




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Veni, Vidi, Velcro...I came, I saw, I stuck around.


Researching my father's time with 50 Squadron, 97 Squadron, Dulug Luft, Stalag Luft VI, Stalag 357 and Stalag Luft III.

http://wallyswar.wordpress.com/

#22 Susan Smethurst

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 09:33 PM

Found this 7th Amoured Brigade Christmas menu from 1942 on the web.. (is labelled as courtesy of Tim Oughton).

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Susan


From mud, Through blood, To the green fields beyond.....1st Royal Tank Regiment

Dont mention the war. I mentioned it once but think I got away with it alright Basil Fawlty

#23 Susan Smethurst

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 08:21 PM

Found this from 9RTR war diaries

20th December 1944 The possibility of Xmas celebrations seemed remote though various greetings were received from old friends of the Regiment, the most subtle and attractive being from our original Brigade Headquarters, 31 Tank Brigade.

On December 23, the German offensive looked less dangerous and the Regiment was placed at 3 hours’ notice – there were also rumours that Xmas would be celebrated and these were proved true the following day. In consequence the Regiment decided to move to more comfortable billets but owing to unforeseen difficulties and a number of false starts, the move was not completed until midday of Xmas Day. Nevertheless, there was time to lay on the traditional meal by the evening.

But, during the afternoon, a warning order had been received whereby the Regiment would be ready to move by 0700 hours the next day and the C.O. was informed that he would report to 51 (H) Division at Tilff (K 4921) that night – a poor sequel to the cancellation of his special leave that was to cover the Xmas period. A Christmas meal was thus the only celebration and the only amusement was caused by Capt. Lord appearing with a broken nose after he had lost a wheel from his Scout car. This was considered amusing only as a sequel to his summer escapade when he had tried to drive across a bridge that the retreating Germans had unkindly blown.

On Boxing Day the Regiment detached from 34 Tank Brigade came under command 51 (H) Division in reserve to the First American Army and after another difficult road march in thick fog concentrated in Ougree, south of Liege. It was here that the Regiment had its first experience of flying bombs. They were heard chugging in the skies at frequent intervals and though some fell unpleasantly close, destroying billets, there were no casualties."
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Susan


From mud, Through blood, To the green fields beyond.....1st Royal Tank Regiment

Dont mention the war. I mentioned it once but think I got away with it alright Basil Fawlty

#24 paulcheall

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:16 AM

In my Dad's memoirs, he recollects 1942 aboard the Queen Mary ...
"We sailed on 23 December 1942 and without an escort, which surprised us, but we were told that the ship's speed made it unnecessary. All I could feel and hear was the steady powerful throb of the engines and the rise and fall of the ship as we headed out into the Atlantic. It was not very long before we were feeling most miserable - anybody who has never been seasick cannot have a clue how rotten it makes one feel. Well, despite the size of the ship, the speed of it was causing it to toss about quite a bit, consequently we were all very seasick and it was awful. I was sick for three days and didn't care whether I lived or died; that's how bad it was. Christmas had been and gone before I recovered. I will never forget Christmas 1942. My best pal, John, and another pal, Norman Young, had it really bad. I looked after them both, feeding them and putting them to bed, as the sickness can play havoc with your strength."

Click here to read a little more about Dad's christmasses. Christmas at War.

Paul

Attd is a pic of the Christmas card Dad received from his Canadian Medical orderly who looked after him when he was wounded.

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Researching my dad's war diary, now published by Pen and Sword. Called Fighting Through - From Dunkirk to Hamburg. Dad was at Dunkirk and in the first wave of troops landing on Gold beach on D-Day. He was also in North Africa, Sicily, and Hamburg. He was a batman, cook, No 1 Bren, No 1 mortar, wounded in action. Regiments were Green Howards, East Yorks and East Lancs. For more info, pics and ephemera please visit Fighting Through where you can read the first chapter, located on the beaches at Dunkirk. Also, over 200 names of comrades and contacts are listed which may be of interest to geneology enthusiasts.


#25 von Poop

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 09:37 AM

Since it's now the first of December and I can stop scowling at the lights outside people's houses...

 

My new favourite IWM collections photo:

 

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THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORTH-WEST EUROPE 1944-45. © IWM (B 13124)IWM Non Commercial Licence

Object description

Rifleman Corker of 1st Rifle Brigade enjoys Christmas lunch in his foxhole on the front line, Nieuwstadt, 25 December 1944.

 

 

 

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THE ROYAL NAVY DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR. © IWM (A 6666)IWM Non Commercial Licence

 

Object description

Two sailors carrying the Christmas tree and holly for Christmas festivities with the destroyer flotilla operating in the Battle of the Atlantic at Gladstone Dock, Liverpool.

 

 

 

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THE BRITISH EXPEDITIONARY FORCE (BEF) IN FRANCE 1939-1940. © IWM (O 2182)IWM Non Commercial Licence

 

Object description

Men of the Border Regiment enjoy Christmas dinner at Mouchin in France, 17 December 1939.

 

 

ce.png

 

Object description

Interior view of a camp hut showing prisoners' accommodation and possessions on Christmas Day 1944. Homemade Christmas decorations hang from the ceiling and the overcrowded, cluttered conditions endured by the prisoners are evident.

 

 

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Send Them to Your Friends for Christmas.... © IWM (Art.IWM PST 15610)IWM Non Commercial Licence

 

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THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939-40. © IWM (O 529)IWM Non Commercial Licence

Object description

A soldier tucks into his Christmas pudding, December 1939.

 

 

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THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1944. © IWM (SE 2747)IWM Non Commercial Licence

Object description

Troops at a Christmas dinner in Burma, 18 December 1944.

 

 

large.jpg?action=e&cat=photographs
THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939-40. © IWM (O 517)IWM Non Commercial Licence

Object description

Injured soldiers open Christmas presents with nurses in their ward at a military hospital, December 1939.


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Cake?

 

Any questions about life, the Universe and everything else; ask Owen, he loves all that stuff.


#26 Drusus Nero

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 12:28 PM

This Christmas is also the 100th anniversary of the most inspiring soldier festive season of all.

 

The Legendary Christmas Truce of 1914.

 

The most emotional documentary I have ever seen was shown in Australia sometime in the early eighties about this very event. It went to air on Christmas eve, and I always looked for it around the same time every yuletide, but alas, it was never re-screened.

 

I have a copy of Stanley Weintraub's "Silent Night", a comprehensive book that attempts to list first person accounts, stories from both sides, as well as a short history of the events and their origin.

 

Several football matches were also played, including a memorable encounter between the 133rd Saxon Regiment  and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in the area of Ypres. It was reported not only in a letter to "The Times" on January 1st, 1915, but also in the war diary of the 133rd, who reported the score as "3-2" in favour of the Saxons, and mentioned exchanges of "bottles of rum for schnapps".

 

In 1969,  Oberstleutnant Johannes Nieman recalled the scene and the score, adding,

 

 "At this soccer match our privates soon discovered that the Scots wore no underpants under their kilts so that their behinds became clearly visable anytime their skirts moved in the wind. We had a lot of fun with that, and in the beginning we just couldn't believe it....I myself got a private lesson one later time when I was seriously wounded and lay on the floor of a British ambulance, with four lightly wounded Scotsmen sitting on a supporting bar right over me."

 

It is significant that Weintraub does not mention a single example of this occurance on the Eastern Front. It seems to have been something only Westerners engaged in.

 

Merry Christmas to all on the Forum, and all those people who will be armed and sitting in a hole in the ground on Christmas Eve.


Edited by Drusus Nero, 01 December 2014 - 12:32 PM.

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#27 von Poop

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 12:36 PM

Argh! Somebody mentioned 'The Football Match'. Don't tell Twitter...

 

I hate Football, but @Taff_Gillingham was recently rather interesting on that particular Christmas story:
http://www.mrallsoph...er-combined.pdf


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Cake?

 

Any questions about life, the Universe and everything else; ask Owen, he loves all that stuff.


#28 TriciaF

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 01:28 PM

My Dad used to talk about swimming in the sea off Alexandria on Xmas Day. Not sure of the year, maybe 1943.

Edited by TriciaF, 01 December 2014 - 01:28 PM.

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#29 bexley84

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 02:02 PM

Swimming in Stanley Bay in Alexandria during August 1944 put my Dad in hospital for a month - probably saved his life.

 

These menu cards from 25th Dec 1945 suggests that my Dad and his mates had a far better 1945 Christmas lunch near Villach than the previous three which had been spent in

 

1942 - near Goubellat, Tunisia.

1943 - in Campobasso, Italy.

1944 - near Monte Grande, Italy

 

possibly the model for the time my Dad later used to cook for Mum and the six kids, although thinking about it. I hadn't ever eaten turkey until I was 30 or so..

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Edited by bexley84, 01 December 2014 - 02:19 PM.

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#30 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 02:59 PM

On Xmas Day 1944 I was at Rieti in Central Italy being re-trained as a Driver/Loader/Wireless operator in the RAC.

This was my diary entry for the day:

Monday 25th December 1944 Xmas Day.
Tea in bed. Good breakfast & fairly good dinner. On the dodgems & rifle ranges, listened to the band in the square.
Wrote letter to Jean (my younger sister) Draughts with Steve at the YMCA.

Ron
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If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps.

 

Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503





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