Afghanistan veteran with medals and child

A soldier's Christmas

Len remembers Christmas during World War Two

12 December 2014

A soldier's Christmas: Len remembers Christmas during World War Two

D-Day veteran Len remembers spending Christmas away from home during World War Two and salutes those he left behind.

A soldier's Christmas: Len remembers Christmas during World War Two

Len Fox is 89 and a D-Day veteran. He remembers spending Christmas 1944 in the Netherlands.

I was a motorcycle dispatch rider and in December 1944 I think we were in Hengelo in Holland. It was one of the coldest winters in living memory but we had a reasonable time. We were staying in an old brewery, if I remember correctly, and we were well stocked-up with liquor, cigarettes and cigars! We had turkey from the officers and we relaxed. But we always had hanging over us the fact that we were then going to progress into Holland. We didn't know what was going to happen the next day.

I was 19 and a half years old that Christmas. I'd never been away from home before and I missed it very much. I had three brothers and a sister and I was thinking of them, as well as my mum and dad. One of my brothers was a prisoner of war in Poland and my sister was working on an AK-AK battery at Whalley Range in Manchester. I don't remember having any Christmas messages from my family, although some of the men did have letters from home.

I didn't come back to Britain until 1947. By Christmas that year I'd just got married. We were living with my in-laws and rationing was still going so we didn't have much. But we still had quite a jolly time.

Christmas is a really significant time for me. I have three children, seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. I go to my son's, or one of my daughters' houses, and have a wonderful time with them all. They would never let me spend Christmas on my own, they do look after me!

This time of year I always think of friends I left behind. I've been going back to Normandy to pay my respects for the last 25 years and I will keep going for as long as I can, as I turn 90 in January

Len shared his #MySalute to remember the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces. Show your support by posting your own #MySalute to our heroes, or text ‘HERO29 £3’ to 70070 to help continue SSAFA’s vital work with the entire military community.