Thursday, 22 December 2011

Uncle Harry's Wartime Christmas Meal - France, 1939: Military Monday

This signed menu of December 25th 1939,   written in French and typed on flimsy paper,  was found amongst the papers of my Uncle Harry.  He was in France with the British Expeditionary Force, 9/17th Field Battery.  In the Sergeant's Mess,  breakfast was cold ham with piccalilli, eggs, coffee and roll and butter;  for dinner  - turkey with chestnuts, pork with apple sauce, potatoes, and cauliflower followed by Christmas pudding, apples, oranges, and nuts, with cognac, rum and beer.  

Five months later Harry was one of the many men evacuated from Dunkirk, saved by the flotilla of small ships.  Sadly many of the men who were at this meal may not have survived.  

Harry Rawcliffe Danson (left)  was my uncle on my mother's side of the family from Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire. (In this photograph I think there is an Errol Flynn look about him!) 

 He arrived back home from Dunkirk  still in the uniform in which he entered the sea to be rescued.   He never talked about his wartime experiences, but seeing commemoration services or documentaries on TV could bring tears to his eyes, so the memories remained very strong. He later served in North Africa and lived to the age of 89.

Military Monday is one of many blogging prompts from to encourage people to write about their family history.  This posting first appeared Decmeber 2010.  

Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved


  1. It's amazing that something as simple as a menu has survived...I hope they all enjoyed it and felt the Xmas spirit. He definitely has the look of Errol Flynn about him in this pic. Have a happy Christmas!

  2. What a wonderful treasure! Isn't it interesting how an item so simple can become so special? I would be interested to know what became of the other men. You are very lucky to have this!


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