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« Gear Table | Main | Dying for Freedom »

Christmas 1941

I came across this Christmas Greetings message sent to me by my father in 1941.  It depicts a cartoon Santa, on a camel. With a “V” for Victory on the camel’s side. Mailed from somewhere in the Sahara Desert, North Africa. It is amazing this scrap of paper has survived all these years, still in its original envelope, addressed to "Master D. Moulton," as was customary.

Christmas 1941 was a historic date in time as America had just entered the war after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th. Britain and the rest of Europe had been at war with Germany since September 1939.

It was within a week or two of the declaration of war that my father had left. He went straight to North Africa where he remained fighting with the British 8th Army, and finally defeating Rommel's German army. A campaign that lasted almost five years. He came home briefly, early in 1944, before leaving again for France during the Normandy Invasion.

I was only 3 ½ years old when my father left in 1939 so I remember little of him before that date. This Christmas Greeting measuring 5 x 4 inches, appears to be a photo copy of a much larger sheet. The hand written message is so tiny, a magnifying glass is required the read it. The message said:

“From your loving father, to my ever loved son David. Merry Christmas, and may God keep you safe until I return home.”

His concern must have been genuine in those early dark days of WWII. Germany had overrun the whole continent of Europe, and was poised on the coast of France just 25 miles away across the English Channel. The threat of Britain also being invaded was very real.

My father, Edward (Ned) Moulton 1941 I was nine years old when the war ended. Sadly the promise of a loving relationship that this Christmas message conveyed, did not materialize.

My father must have gone through six years of absolute hell. He never spoke of it.

When he was in a good mood, he was extremely generous. He gave out cash in lieu of affection.

He bought me a lightweight racing bike that must have cost him a month’s wages. If it hadn’t been for him I never would have got into racing.

This of course led eventually to framebuilding. My father defined who I am today more than any other, and for that I am grateful.    

May I wish you a Joyous Christmas, or whatever it is you celebrate this time of year. 


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Reader Comments (7)

Merry Christmas, Dave! And Merry Christmas to your family and all your readers!

That Christmas message and the story associated with it are priceless. From your posts I know that your father was changed by the war, so I'm happy to see that you have some positive memories of him and that he influenced your career in some way.

December 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterYohann M


A touching and heartfelt piece. As a longtime reader, I've followed your writings about your father - as Yohann says, you've built a portrait in bits and pieces of your father, his complexities, and the complexities he brought to your childhood. One can only imagine how that war changed so many young men. Your own reflections speak of understanding and forgiveness, which is a gift to his memory..
Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas.

December 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterED

Merry Christmas, Dave! And a best-ever New Year!

December 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMaynard Hershon

Thanks for that Dave.

December 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMurf

HAPPY CHRISTMAS Dave,as we Brits say. Happy OR Merry all means the same. All the best next year mate. My Dad never encouraged my riding but he did fiance my first Claud Butler frame and forks,, I had an uncle that worked for Cyclo in Aston he gave me my first bike a Raleigh converted to a Cyclo 3 speed. Never worked right. Dad, did make me a wooden American Jeep model, on his freetwork saw one year I still have it.

December 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony J Crump

Happy Christmas, Dave.

December 25, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermike w.

Cheers Dave. Wishing you a Happy New Year.

December 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterStephen McAteer

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