WW2 Christmas: Home and Away by quietpurplehaze

WW2 Christmas: Home and Away

HOME
This display, as are all my Christmas posts, is part of Hinton Ampner's presentation of Christmas traditions this year.

A family in wartime Britain would have found it almost impossible to scrimp and save enough to buy even a small chicken for Christmas dinner.

An alternative might have been a home-reared chicken or rabbit. Imagine the consternation of the small children in the family to discover what had been the highlight of their Christmas dinner.

AWAY
My dad spent Christmas 1942, 1943 and 1944 as a PoW and wrote about them in his diaries.

In 1941, not yet captured, he was in the Western Desert and devoted just one paragraph in his writing to describe Christmas:

"Christmas Day, 1941, saw us at a place known as Point 20Y. This was near Halfaya Pass and was an old fort where the enemy was holding out. The weather at that time was extremely cold. Our Xmas Day rations consisted of the usual bully and biscuits. We were promised a Christmas dinner by our officers who told us they expected it to arrive some time later on. We were denied this however and where the feed went nobody seemed to know. In spite of this, we managed to enjoy ourselves to a certain extent. During the evening, we played cards and tried to imagine it was Christmas."


from the diaries of
Bertram Haig Martin, Gunner 943454 - Royal Artillery - 67th Medium Regiment - Prisoner of War 229846

© 2017 The Second World War Experience Centre.
© 2017 IWM (5193) 1981.
Hard times for every one in war time especially for all those POW, lovely reminder and capture Hazel love those reproduced posters:)
December 10th, 2016  
Very touching post Hazel, brought tears to my eyes at the thought of Christmas Incarceration.
December 10th, 2016  
My grandmother's terraced house in Salford had a walled front garden, the width of the house and maybe one yard deep. I was told that this was covered by wire netting during the war and that chickens were kept there, though that was primarily for eggs.
December 10th, 2016  
Fascinating post Hazel, thank you
December 10th, 2016  
@laroque

I remember the magic of collecting eggs from the chickens when my dad kept them. I hate to say that those eggs in the front garden would be a bit vulnerable maybe nowadays...
December 10th, 2016  
bep
"... tried to imagine it was Christmas." Very touching, Hazel.
December 10th, 2016  
Four Christmases away from home must have been hard on both your Dad and your Mum.
December 10th, 2016  
@quietpurplehaze Not too vulnerable, grandad was a policeman!
December 10th, 2016  
@gijsje

Yes that touched me too, Bep.
December 10th, 2016  
@onewing

When my dad got early retirement (made redundant) age 61 one of their friends read the situation optimistically and remarked that he had been given those 4 years back again.
December 10th, 2016  
Such a moving story Hazel. It certainly makes you appreciate what you've got. As a child our annual treat was the Christmas chicken.
December 10th, 2016  
My Dad was in North Africa at about the same time as yours. He came back with a few coins and notes which we thought were fascinating and a tattoo of my mums name Doris on his arm which again fascinated us when we were children after the war.We had chicken for Christmas in the 50's but never realised at the time it was one of our own.
December 10th, 2016  
I'm reading "All the light we cannot see" by Anthony Doerr, set during WW2 and partly about a blind girl's experiences. Fictional but a very interesting point of view, I'd recommend if you haven't read it already.
December 10th, 2016  
@wendyfrost

Oh gosh, these Christmas posts from Hinton Ampner are really making history come alive! I was born in Dec 46 (I have a landmark birthday coming up and don't remember how I got here!!!) and remember having roast chicken also in the 50s (must have been from the butcher - but hang on, now was it?) for Christmas but never at any other time of the year.

December 10th, 2016  
@thistle

The same for us, Joyce!
December 10th, 2016  
@will_wooderson

Oh, thank you, I'll find it on Amazon - always receptive to a good read.
December 10th, 2016  
Great history that you are sharing with us, Hazel...great image
December 10th, 2016  
Oh Hazel...Your beautifully poignant post should serve to remind us all how fortunate we are to live as descendents of men who wanted us to have all this and a better world. It was a great sacrifice and a blessing to us all. Thanks for the reminder to never forget and to be appreciative!
December 10th, 2016  
Chicken was a luxury when i was a child ... we ate well when dad brought home a rabbit
December 10th, 2016  
@pennystot

Yes, remember my grandmother cooking a rabbit, and chicken was just once a year.
December 10th, 2016  
@Weezilou

Thanks for your comments, appreciated. At least my dad came home eventually.
December 10th, 2016  
Very much the same here
December 10th, 2016  
What hard times this is a harsh reminder Hazel , I remember we had a lot of rabbit that my father went out to shoot ! and what a treat was the Christmas chicken which as the war years were left behind soon was up graded to the goose and turkey ! Hope you will get rid of the cold pronto !! --so much of it going around !
December 10th, 2016  
@beryl

I'm on the mend today Beryl, thank you. We have a weekend away this Thursday so have to be fit! I have never had such a dreadful cold.
December 10th, 2016  
We take so much for granted. Lovely shot and interesting commentary and reminder.
December 10th, 2016  
A great shot and reminder of other times.
We grow our own rabbits and chickens to have them with Christmas and Eastern. In spring we got the baby ones so there was a cyclus of live.
Many years this was the only meat we could afford. ( And we had eggs from it)m
December 11th, 2016  
Love your narrative with this shot. :)
December 11th, 2016  
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