Christmas on the Home Front

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by ritsonvaljos, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Christmas 1940 on the British Home Front

    Christmas 1940 was a very different time from anything that took place earlier, or since. It is a time that has been featured by a number of different BBC radio and TV programmes over the years. Links to some of these are available on the BBC History website (see following link):

    This may of interest to some people.

    Season's Greetings to one and all.
    CL1 likes this.
  2. Rav4

    Rav4 Senior Member

    I think 1940 was the year that was exceptionally cold in the UK and Europe. Also probably the year that my dad made my brother and me a draught set (Checkers) from a broom handle and a piece of plywood with the squares painted on it. Strange how that set is the only Christmas gift I can remember. :)
    Shiny 9th likes this.
  3. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I remember the 1939/40 winter very well..........heavy downfall of snow but life went on......children struggled to school and I cannot recollect that any school which shut or buses which stopped...the local bus company, the West Riding buses carried as normal well covered in snow....the buses had only one internal heater which was at the front of the bus....a seat at the front meant that one could seek warm for the hands...roads heavily sanded by men who were stationed at the back of the lorry and shovelled and threw out the sand manually on to the road.I well remember the chapped hands .....using an ointment by the name of greenxxxx ,green in colour .....may have been a vaseline give relieve to chapped hands.

    At home we had a main fire in the living room which also supplied hot water.....this fire was well stoked in the winter and as a result our hot water system was always rumbling.We had two bedrooms with fireplaces so that if anyone was confined to bed,the bedroom was kept warm.The living room fireplace incorporated a cooking range,complete with an oven which was always kept up to temperature and as such was a source of heat. ideal for roasting spuds....the oven plates were utilised as bed warmers when covered with a piece of old blanket...refractory bricks were also used with the source being from industrial boiler brickwork liner on the inside of the windows of unheated rooms.....central heating and double glazing unheard of.

    Then the following spring and summer all hell broke out.....the phony war was over.
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    ARPCDHG Member

    Amazing memories Harry, thanks for sharing them - and have a warmer Christmas!
  5. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Yes, thank you Harry and Rav4.

    Propaganda it may be, but I watched this video late last Christmas Eve and, I confess, shed a tear at the ending:

    Medwyn Edwards, Mr Jinks and CL1 like this.
  6. Rav4

    Rav4 Senior Member

    Thanks for the post Charley. Merry Christmas!
  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Excellent post and thank you
  8. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    :ukflag[1]: :ukflag[1]: Thanks for Posting this topic I am proud that I am by the grace of god an Englishman :ukflag[1]: :ukflag[1]:

  9. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    Interesting memories Rav4 and Harry. I think the green hancream would be this:
    There was another similar one for chilblains.
    Which I do remember but not the rest of Christmas 1940. I think we might have been evacuated then.
  10. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member


    Ointment was something similar and the name is familiar but f I recall it was bought as like a round tablet of soap wrapped in cellophane paper.....sticky ....difficult to apply to the hands without being exposed to we have Neutrogena hand cream...what a difference.

    Regarding chilblains,my mother always warned us of the risk of chilblains from warming bare feet against the open fire but it was such an inviting relief for very cold feet. I do not think I have experienced cold as I did in those days although the winter of 1962/63 was similar but some housing stock had been improved to cope with a bad winter.

    Incidentally the bad winter was 1939/1940 and by Christmas 1940,the Battle of Britain had been won and the likelihood of a German invasion was somewhat receding.
  11. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    Many Christmas gifts, made specially for the children. were home made (e.g. a wooden 'dolly' for a girl could be made from a wooden clothes peg and pieces of remnants of cloth from home made clothes or a castle for a boy could be fashioned from a strong cardboard box). Small stars to decorate a Christmas tree could be made from another piece of cardboard and a piece of silver paper or coloured paper.
  12. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    A brief look at the first wartime Christmas in Cornwall, UK.

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  13. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Thoroughly enjoyed watching this. Thank you for posting


  14. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    Thanks for the feedback Peter. You are most welcome.
    Will post one on Christmas 1940 by the end of the year.
  15. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    A brief look at the festivities of the Blitz Christmas of 1940
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  16. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    clicked link & got this message.

    An error occurred during validation.

    This video does not exist.
  17. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Got the same
  18. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    Humble apologies. I have real problems adding links and embedding videos on this forum.
    I believe it is working correctly now.
  19. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    Yes all is ok with this link now.
  20. CornwallPhil

    CornwallPhil Senior Member

    A video-book style presentation of the festivities in Cornwall during the third Christmas of the war. It uses some great newsreel film clips to put the year in context before embarking on an A-Z tour round Cornwall.
    CL1 likes this.

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