A modern table set for a Soldier's Christmas Dinner.
No Forgotten, Lonely Soldiers Among Forces At Home or Abroad
The Montreal Gazette; 24 December 1954
The Canadian Army has taken steps to ensure that there will be no "lonely" or forgotten soldiers at any Canadian Army camp or station at home of abroad this Christmas.
In Korea, Japan, Germany, Indo-China, the United Kingdom, and at all camps in Canada, including several isolated stations in the far north, special Christmas menus will include turkey and all the traditional Yuletide trimmings.
Christmas dinner at most camps will be served personally to privates, gunners and troopers by their officers and non-commissioned officers who will act as waiters.
Canadian Army troops stationed at Fort Churchill, Man., will play host Christmas Day to RCAF and US Army men stationed at the northern base. Christmas entertainment will include two parties for children of servicemen and a number of unit parties for servicemen and their families. Midnight Mass will be celebrated at midnight Christmas eve in the chapel of Our Lady of the Snows Church, one of two service chapels at the camp.
In Korea, Canadian troops have gone out of their way to add a typical Canadian touch to their Yuletide celebrations. Lighted Christmas trees have sprung up everywhere in a land now almost devoid of trees of any size. But first prize for Christmas ingenuity goes to members of the 42nd Infantry Workshop, Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers who have erected a huge neon sign in the Canadian sector. Winking on and off, round the clock, the sign wishes all who pass it "Christmas Greetings to all our Customers—the Management and Staff, 42 Infantry Workshop, RCEME, Light and Power Corporation."
The unit, one of the last of the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade to remain in Korea, handles vehicle repairs for all units of the brigade and spends much of its time keeping all units supplied with electrical power.
Christmas menu for Christmas in Korea this year includes shrimp cocktail, roast turkey with giblet gravy and cranberry sauce, steamed broccoli, buttered corn, cauliflower-au-gratin, Franconia potatoes, pumpkin pie, preserved peaches, fruit cake, nuts, raisins, candies and coffee.
Troops in Europe will be served a similar meal if they remain in camp, but many will enjoy Christmas dinners with their families in newly-built married quarters or with German families. Several hundred have accepted invitations to spend Christmas with German friends.
On the other hand, more than 1,200 German kiddies in the Soest area have been invited to a Christmas tree party being held for some 3,000 youngsters of Canadian Army personnel serving with the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade.
Midnight Mass and Christmas Day communion services in military churches in the five main Canadian Army camps in the Soest area will bring all ranks in close touch with the true meaning of Christmas.
Christmas Day menu for Canadian troops in Germany includes a choice of fruit cocktail or tomato juice, soup, combination salad with French dressing, roast turkey with savoury dressing, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce, whipped potatoes, buttered carrots, fresh green peas, plum pudding wil caramel sauce, hot mincemeat pies, fresh fruit, mixed nuts, candies, hot buttered rolls with cheese and a choice of Canadian beverages.
To help brighten Christmas, 280,000 Canadian cigarets and 18,000 bottles of Canadian ale will be distributed to all ranks of the brigade on Christmas Day. The cigarets are a gift of the province of Ontario and the ale was shipped to the troops by Labatt's brewery.
At typical Canadian camps such as Camp Borden and Petawawa, both in Ontario, soldiers will enjoy a break in training, a Christmas feast that can be topped only by Christmas dinner as "mother used to make it," and number of Yuletide parties, most of them for dependent children.
At Army Headquarters, in Ottawa, where several thousand officers and men are stationed, troops received an unusual but welcome pre-Christmas present. They were granted permission to come to work each working day from now till the New Year in civilian clothes.
In the Far North, Christmas will be a little different for some soldiers than the usual family Christmas they remember, but it will not be "lonely."
At 19 stations of the Northwest Territory and Yukon Radio System, manned by members of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals in the far north, Christmas will be a community effort planned and enjoyed by all.
Party in the Yukon
Six soldiers and their families, including nine children, stationed at Dawson, Yukon Territory, have planned a big Christmas Eve party in the settlement. Christmas Day, all member of the station have been invited to Christmas dinner at the home of Sergeant Major (WO I) R.A. McLeod, a native of Vancouver and station commander.
There are no married soldiers or youngsters at the Army signal station at Fort Reliance in the Northwest Territories, but the four unmarried soldiers and their civilian cook stationed there plan to have the best Christmas possible under the circumstances. They have been hoarding their turkey and other typical Christmas rations received before the freeze-up and plan a special Christmas dinner. However, work at the isolated station will be carried out as usual Christmas Day.
In Indo-China, Canadian personnel will enjoy a Christmas dinner with "all the trimmings," even though most of it will be out of tins. But their important job as members of the truce teams will go on as usual.