Cat no. 1537

Christmas Party

Running time10:33 Black & White Silent 1944 Watton, Norfolk

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The 25th Bomber Group Entertains 250 Orphans at a Christmas Party.

Genre:

Archive AliveMilitaryWartime

A poster announces the "Christmas Party for English Orphans" is to take place on the 25th December, 1944, where the orphans will have a "Dad for a Day". American servicemen sign up to donate their American candy to the orphans. They place Hershey Bars, amongst others, in a drop box for the children. The orphans, all boys from the age of 4 to 14, dressed in long coats, all rush to meet the airmen at their jeeps. The boys run round excitedly before being lifted into the back of the vehicles by the men. The Americans smiles match those of the young children, huddled expectantly together. The waving children are driven off in the jeeps through snowy weather to a civic centre ready for their Christmas Party.

The orphans join other children and families piling into the building to find Christmas decorations, trees and a US Airman chaperone each for the party. The Americans sit with the children showing off their uniforms, telling stories before dancing, hand in hand with their children, round the Christmas tree. A throng of children mass to meet Father Christmas, who gives out presents and sweets to each child, aided by his little helpers, the Airmen. One serviceman dresses up in his cowboy gear and sings to infatuated children. The chefs prepare the food for Christmas dinner as the Americans sit talking with their wards. Dinner is heartily dispatched with, followed by extra servings.

Background Information:

The 25th Bomb Group was designated as a reconnaissance group. It formed part of the 325th photographic wing, it was commanded by Col (later Brigadier General) Elliot Roosevelt. On the day it was activated (Easter 1944) the 25th Bomb Group moved into its permanent base, Station 376, at Watton. It occupied the permanent site, the 3rd SAD having moved over to Griston. The group consisted of three squadrons, the 652nd Bomb Squadron Heavy, 653rd Bomb Squadron Light and the 654th Bomb Squadron Special.

Featured Organisations:

25th Bomber Group

Eighth AAF Combat Camera Unit

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