This year we thought it would be fun to ask a handful of our Normandy veteran friends if they had an enduring memory of Christmas during WWII. Three came forward with very different stories; Christmas in America in 1942, in Holland in 1944 and in Hong Kong 1945.
On D-Day these three men were brought together in one of the most important events in contemporary world history and – along with tens of thousands of other allied soldiers, sailors and airmen – turned the tide of the Second World War. In preparing for D-Day, they had undergone different training depending on the roles they would be expected to play. Some were battle-hardened and for others Operation Overlord would be their first taste of action, but for all three D-Day was by no means the end. The war would take them on adventures all over the globe in a time when travel was beyond the means and expectations of the vast majority of people.
Being so far away from home at Christmas time was difficult, but for young men forging their way in the world it was also exciting! It gave them a rare opportunity to see how people celebrated the festive season in different countries; to witness foreign cultures and traditions first hand. Christmas was then, as it is now, a time to be thankful and come together with those around us in the spirit of peace and goodwill. Perhaps these sentiments are even more poignant in times of such intense conflict.
We have created three short films in which veterans John Dennett, Bob Laverty and Patrick Thomas recall their Christmas memories. We hope you enjoy them and we wish you all a very Merry Christmas!