Wartime Christmas

Discussion in 'General' started by Owen, Dec 16, 2006.

  1. David Layne

    David Layne Well-Known Member

    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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  2. David Layne

    David Layne Well-Known Member

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

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  3. David Layne

    David Layne Well-Known Member

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

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  4. David Layne

    David Layne Well-Known Member

    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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  5. David Layne

    David Layne Well-Known Member

    1944 Lancaster

    Downham Market

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  6. CL1

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

    53rd Welsh Division Christmas Card 1944

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  7. David Layne

    David Layne Well-Known Member

    Liberator 1943

    Navy POW Christmas Card

    Stalag viiib POW card

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  8. David Layne

    David Layne Well-Known Member

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

  9. Susan Smethurst

    Susan Smethurst Senior but too talkative

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

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  10. Susan Smethurst

    Susan Smethurst Senior but too talkative

    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."
  11. paulcheall

    paulcheall Son of a Green Howard

    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.


    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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  12. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    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:

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


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


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

    THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939-40. © IWM (O 529)IWM Non Commercial Licence
    THE BRITISH ARMY IN BURMA 1944. © IWM (SE 2747)IWM Non Commercial Licence
    THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939-40. © IWM (O 517)IWM Non Commercial Licence
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  13. Drusus Nero

    Drusus Nero Banned

    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.
  14. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  15. TriciaF

    TriciaF Junior Member

    My Dad used to talk about swimming in the sea off Alexandria on Xmas Day. Not sure of the year, maybe 1943.
  16. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    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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  17. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    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.

  18. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Dads Christmas cards, 1940 Liverpool Scottish, 1942 Desert photo of Dinner being prepared, 1943 Sicily (though he was on his way home to UK for D-Day) and 1944 sent from Holland.

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  19. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  20. ritsonvaljos

    ritsonvaljos Senior Member

    What is arguably the best known 'Chritmas son was featured in a 1942 Hollywood musical. The film was "Holiday Inn" starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Virginia Dale and the Christmas song was "White Christmas". For the many service men and women away from home during WW2 this was a song that reminded them of loved ones at home.

    In 1954 another Hollywood film was built around this one song and set partly during the war and partly a few years later at a hotel owned by a well loved General, and called after the title song, "White Christmas". Here is a song that can recapture the war years, the camaraderie among servicemen and women and those left at home wherever they are, "White Christmas":


    Happy Christmas everyone, whether it be a white one or not.

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