Dec. 13–Dec. 26, 1944: Christmas in Holland

Dec. 13 — Gordie and I drove up through Eindhoven, Tilburg to Breda to Army H.Q. After getting there found that Army had moved to Tilburg. In the evening I went out to dinner with Al Williams, at the airport. Saw Bill Mustard while there.

Dec. 14 — Ronnie and Vic Railton went to Paris on leave today. Dibb is still not home from England. Wish he would hurry up and get back. Tonight it was a grand service at dinner. Tony, Cal Stone, the Pay Master and the Auxiliary Service man were all here.

Dec. 16 — Gordie, Arnold Hodgkins, Marion Thompson, Joep and myself went into Ghent to do the Xmas shopping for the mess Xmas and to buy toys for the kiddie party. Had a very nice trip and did not get back until 1 A.M. Coming back through Antwerp we saw where a buzz bomb had landed a short time before. One bomb fell on Eindhoven today demolishing thirty houses.

Dec. 17 — Sunday — Two Nurses, Miss Bright and Miss Murray flew to Brussels on leave today. Eddie Walstein down to dinner today. Nothing exciting.

Dec. 18 — Started for Breda and Tilburg and had to call in at 6 Gen. Hosp. Met the people I needed to see in both other places there, so spent the day at the hospital. Everything was quiet.

Dec. 23 — Mess Xmas dinner in the hospital. Quite a success, but was very glad when it was over. On the 22nd, Gordie, Arnold, Joep, Get and I went to Ghent on a buying expedition. Had a very good trip and in the evening went to the Theatre to see “The Lady from Edinburgh,” a very good comedy.

Dec. 24 — Andre arrived — the brother of the kids here. He is a priest in ’s-Hertogenbosch and is home for a few days holiday. In the afternoon we held our kiddies Christmas Party. We had a picture show “The Three Bears.” The kiddies loved it. Had never seen a moving picture before. Afterwards Santa Claus came. All in all a grand party. In the evening the Officers had their Xmas Eve Party in the mess. The Officers present were: N/S Thompson, Bright, Vincent, Murray, De Rosiers, Maj Railton, Wolstein, Robertson, Ralph Turner (Legion Man), Capt. Dorman, Pay Master, Capt. Melon, Capt. McDonald, Place, Carson, Dibb and myself — the Civilians present were: Mr. Baselman, Mary, Ricci, Carrie, Lizzie, Maggie, Nellie, Harold, Wintermann, Bob Williamson, Mr. Wilbers, Mrs. Wilbers, Andre, Marie, Jeop, Johnnie and Get. It was a lovely party with Santa Claus and everything complete. The Canadian Legion put on a picture show, after which we had dancing. The party lasted until 4 A.M. after which Get, Joep, Johnnie and I went to Midnight mass in the Village Church.

Dec. 25 — Xmas Day in Holland. We have our room all decorated. A Xmas tree and a Manger scene. Everything is very Xmasy. At 11 A.M. we had Church Service conducted by Lt. Col. Stone, Senior Chaplain in 2nd Corps. Our orchestra and choir were present. I read the lesson and really it was a beautiful Christmas Service, held in a tobacco factory in Zielst. At 7 P.M. we went in a body to Mr. Baselmanns home, which is where the mess is, and had a beautiful Xmas dinner and spent another evening in dancing. It was a wonderful Xmas — we can never be too appreciative of the Dutch — they are grand. Xmas mail did not arrive, but we all hope it will be here soon.


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About Rob Alexander

I am a writer, photographer and historian and the author of The History of Canmore, published by Summerthought Publishing of Banff, AB.

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