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December 24, 2020

Vintage Photos of British Army and Royal Navy Celebrating Christmas in World War II

Christmas is one of the few times during the whole year people briefly pause their busy life to gather with loved ones to celebrate the season, which was immensely difficult during wartime, as families were forced to separate: men were battling on the front line, women were serving in the military or working in factories for war effort, and children were evacuated to safer areas far away from home. Nevertheless, people still tried their best to make the most of it. Take a look back at the men and women of the British Army and Royal Navy celebrating the season during the Second World War through 19 fascinating vintage black and white photographs:

Men of the Border Regiment enjoying Christmas dinner at Mouchin in France, 1939. (IMW)
A member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service kissing a soldier under the mistletoe, 1939. (Hulton)
A couple kissing under the mistletoe before the soldier leaving London to re-join his unit, 1939. (Gerry Cranham)
A bomber pilot of the British Coastal Command affixing a sprig of mistletoe to his aircraft to acknowledge Christmas, 1940. (Reg Speller)
Royal Navy sailors drinking rum to celebrate Christmas on a British minesweeper on patrol off the coast of England, 1940. (Popperfoto)
Royal Navy sailors was served a roast turkey dinner to celebrate Christmas on a British minesweeper on patrol off the coast of England, 1940. (Popperfoto)
British soldiers tuck into a Christmas pudding at their post on the British coast, 1940. (David Parker)
Two sailors carrying Christmas tree for Christmas festivities with the destroyer flotilla at Gladstone Dock, Liverpool, 1941. (Lt. H W Tomlin)
Christmas dinner celebrations on board HMS Westminster at Rosyth, 1941. (IWM)
Crew men enjoying their Christmas mails on the deck of HMS Dunluce Castle, 1941. (Photo by Lt. J E Russell)
A nurse feeding a patient with a spoonful of Christmas pudding at a naval hospital at Kingseat, Scotland, 1941. (IWM)
Sailors enjoying a Christmas sing-song on the mess decks of a warship of the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow, 1942. (Lt. F A Hudson)
Christmas dinner in the wardroom of HMS Malaya at Scapa Flow, 1942. (IWM)
A soldier in Santa Claus costume handing out gifts, 1942. (David E. Scherman)
A soldier wearing Santa Claus costume to celebrate Christmas, 1942. (David E. Scherman)
Men of the 2-6th Queen's Regiment celebrating Christmas in Italy, 1943. (IWM)
Royal Artillery cooks preparing Christmas dinner near Geilenkirchen, 1944. (Sgt. Midgley)
A group of cheerful men from the Royal Artillery display chickens acquired for their Christmas dinner, 1944. (Sgt. Laing)
The ground crew of No. 122 Wing singing Christmas carols by a Hawker Tempest at Volkel airfield (B80), Holland, 1944. (IWM)


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