Christmas 1943: From No. 1 “Y” Depot in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Seventy-five years ago, in 1943, Christmas was very different for most Canadians and their families. The Second World War had been ongoing for more than four years, with the accompanying separations and losses of loved ones.
No. 1 “Y” Depot in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was an embarkation depot for Air Force personnel heading overseas to Europe and the crucible of war. The depot newsletter, “Y’s Cracks”, was doing its best to keep morale high with station news, jokes and gossip (some of which would be quite out of place in today’s Canadian Armed Forces!). The Christmas 1943 edition was no different but some of its pages also reflected the sombre reality of 1943.
Three chaplains, Flight Lieutenant K.G. Sullivan, Squadron Leader M.J. McNeil and Flight Lieutenant D.T.A. Haviland, wrote columns for the newsletter, encouraging depot personnel to keep up their spirits, and emphasizing the true meaning of Christmas in the face of global tragedy. However, the harsh reality was never far below the surface though. As Squadron Leader McNeil wrote:
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