Wednesday, December 13, 2017

"When They Sound The Last All Clear"

When they sound the last 'All Clear'
Wartime music sheet
During the Second World War, the British singer Vera Lynn became known as "the Forces Sweetheart". As part of ENSA, Vera Lynn toured overseas to entertain the troops in Egypt, India, Burma and elsewhere. In 1941 she began her own radio programme, "Sincerely Yours", sending message messages to tthe troops serving overseas, The songs she sang on "Sincerely Yours" included requests for service men and women serving away from home. 

One of Vera Lynn's most popular songs was "When the sound the last 'All Clear'", which was first broadcast in 1941. An original wartime song sheet of this can be seen above. As with many Vera Lynn songs of the period, it was one of optimism, when sweethearts would be reunited at the end of the war and the church bells would once again ring out in peace time: 

"For the peace bells will ring,
And the whole world will sing,
When they sound the last All Clear."

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Season's Greetings 2017

Season's Greetings 2017
1. Christmas Tree, Covent Garden

2. The Cenotaph, London
Wishing all members and visitors to this site seasonal greetings of peace and goodwill. Regardless of Creed or nationality peace and goodwill are common to all mankind. They are surely better than war and hostility . 

During the six years of the Second World War there were many changes to the hitherto familiar wintertime festive rituals. Celebrations were largely scaled down due to restrictions and shortages in Britain and elsewhere. Nevertheless, for many it was still possible to collect greenery from the countryside and have a Christmas tree and other greenery such as holly, ivy and mistletoe continuing what seems to be a timeless tradition transcending international boundaries. 

A visitor to London's Covent Garden around Christmas time will see a large decorated Christmas tree [Photograph No. 1]. According to the Canadian writer and politician AndrĂ© Laurendeau: 

"Childhood is to believe that a with a Christmas tree and three snowflakes all the world is changed.

Can a simply decorated Christmas tree and a few snowflakes really transport young children into another world? It does seem so. During the war many children were set the task of collecting the greenery and the tree and perhaps make the decorations for the tree. With snow on the ground children can enter a new playground and perhaps build a snowman and in wartime spend a little time a long way from the war. 

While in London, a visitor can take a short walk from Covent Garden to Whitehall and in a central location will see the Cenotaph [Photograph No 2]. The poppy wreaths seen at the Cenotaph have been left here by Armed Forces Veterans and relatives of those who have died in wars and conflicts. Think of why the Cenotaph was built and why there should be peace and goodwill to all on earth. 
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