Document Type

News Article

Publication/Presentation Date

Winter 2017


One hundred years ago, 1917 was a momentous year. The battles of Arras, Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele were fought without significant result. At the battle of Messines, mines were exploded under the German lines killing 10,000 people. The German air force carried out the first major bombing raid on London. The United States declared war on Germany. T E Lawrence (of Arabia) led the Arab Revolt and captured Aqabar. General Allenby accepted the surrender of the Ottoman army. In Russia, revolution led to the abdication of the Tsar. On a more pertinent note, a report in August recommended formation of the RAF. Many features of our world were taking shape.

Seventy-five years ago, in 1942, the Pacific war was not going well; the Japanese took Guam, Hong Kong, Wake, Singapore and the Philippines, although in June, the tide started to turn after the Battle of Midway. But admit the turmoil, the Declaration of the United Nations was signed on New Year’s Day by 26 Allied nations laying the foundation for the United Nations.

And one of the most popular songs of all time, “White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby in the movie “Holiday Inn”, premiered in August. "White Christmas" topped the charts in October 1942 and stayed there for 11 weeks.

And I am sure that however much they were enjoying the Florida sun and having plentiful food, every RAF cadet must have thought a little wistfully about their homeland on Christmas Day – and in the words of Bing Crosby:

1. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas Just like the ones I used to know Where the treetops glisten and children listen To hear sleigh bells in the snow.
2. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas With every Christmas card I write May your days be merry and bright And may all your Christmases be white.

In the words of Gerry Beardsmore, 5BFTS Chairman from 1998 to 2005:

“From me and mine to you and yours
Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas and
Health and Happiness and Peace in the New Year”



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