By Jennifer Weymark, Archivist, Oshawa Museum
This article originally appeared in the Oshawa Express, Dec 21, 2011
In 2011, the archives acquired four Christmas cards sent from an Oshawa man serving overseas during WWII.
Pte. Earl Hann was overseas serving as a member of the Canadian Corps, under the 8th Army, as World War II battled throughout Northern Africa and Italy. This meant that he was away from his young family during the holiday season in 1944.
Standardized Christmas cards were made available to the soldiers so that they could let their family back home know that they were thinking of them. The cards were really a single sheet of paper with a drawing on it meant to represent the area where the soldier was stationed. Once the soldier had completed personalizing their card in the little space made available to them, and the card was passed by the censors, the army would copy the card and reduce the size so that it would be less expensive to send back home.
Pte. Hann made the best of the limited space available to let him family know just how much he was missing them. Three of the cards are addressed to his wife Irene with the fourth being addressed to his young daughter Joyce.
The lengthiest of the notes written by Pte. Hann also lets us know that the holiday season was extra special as his wedding anniversary also fell during that time. He writes:
“Happy Anniversary My love. With Best Wishes that this is our last spent apart.
All my love and Millions of Kisses
He chose to send his daughter a card showing where her day was when he wasn’t with her. The card has a map of the Mediterranean Sea, showing both Italy and North Africa. This time the card is simply signed from “Daddy with all his love and best wishes for 1945”.
Pte. Hann was happily reunited with his family once the war was over and he went on to become a 50 year member of the Oshawa Historical Society. It is fitting that these letters have found a home with a museum he loved so much.