Sharing Xmas – A Letter and a Poem to Friends

That time of the year is arriving with its powerful message of love, giving and seeking peace. It is difficult to believe there are those who would ridicule such intent.

  A Letter to Friends

That time of the year is arriving with its powerful message of love, giving and seeking peace. It is difficult to believe there are those who would ridicule such intent.

I recall being on operations in the Malayan Jungle during the Festive Season. Just a very small group of us, several days march from the nearest human habitation which was a small cluster of grass huts occupied by the Sakai ( very primitive and friendly people complete with blow pipes and poisoned darts for hunting game.)

On Xmas Eve we received a radio message that the battalion’s Priest was arriving by helicopter to spend Xmas lunch with us.  We were of course delighted for the opportunity to have visitors from the outside world sharing a tin of meat and biscuits.

However a Priest in our midst smacked of religious rituals.  With two exceptions (both devout Catholics) our small band had already demonstrated reluctance to religion.  In Australia on many occasions at church parades, those of us who did not wish to attend Church service were left in the freezing cold and taken for a long run while our Christian mates worshipped in warm and comfortable surrounds.

We realised it would be perhaps uncomfortable for our pious mates to be the only ones taking Mass while the rest of us looked on as curious spectators so it was decided we would all attend the service and as the Preacher would say  “So it came to be”

Our two mates were happy, the Priest had a new story to tell of converting well known heathens in the middle of the Malayan Jungle and the heathens felt contented because they had been considerate enough to please everyone.

That night regardless of our short comings in regards religious instruction; we too had our dreams of our families far away and imagined them as they would be, together, happy and sharing gifts with each other on such a special day which reminded all of us of the importance of such precious values.

Many years later, those of us still standing reflect with fondness on the day we took communion…

What am I saying? Perhaps even if there is doubt, there’s no reason to ridicule Christianity and every reason to share with those that do. Besides, the thought of Christmas gives every soldier the chance for the sweetest dreams of home that can never be stolen.

Well, that is what I and my heathen mates reckon…

My best wishes to you and your family for a merry Xmas and Happy New Year

Luv ya all

George M


The Poem  

Dreams of Home on Xmas Day

Today’s military is no different to those who came before

Always the thoughts of loved ones when away on distant shores 

More so when sleigh bells are tinkling and Xmas trees alight

Love, happiness and peace on earth is the plea in early day’s light


Be they on the ground, at sea or in the air, there are dreams to be

Images of happy children finding gifts and shouting with glee

So much joy in the home, all are together, except one 

Who smiles from the wall and is far away until duty done


The thought of not being with loved ones stirs a heavy heart

Lunch on the beach and rafferty rules cricket is about to start  

Or perhaps at home with a table laden with meats and tart

Warriors also dream of going home and never more to part


To be there in fading light, dancing shadows ever so near

Safe, secure and no more the sense of danger and fear

At night in bed with comforting sounds of rain on a roof above

Reaching over to embrace a loved one and whisper your love


Such dreams are no different from the past that many of us knew

Who once wore the proud cloth and swore to serve a nation true

Today another generation is absent on this special day too 

To protect a precious way of life that belongs to me and you


So let make a vow that whatever the reason; no matter the threat

We stand together and our beautiful way of life we protect

To march forward united as one for what we know is right

For future generations where there are Xmas trees, tinsel and lights

George Mansford © December 2016



  1. Peter Feeney says

    Awesome as always sir. Best wishes.

  2. Ted Stapleton says

    Thanks George. I love your “thoughts” shared with us of that Special Christmas Day so long ago and your poem is to be shared with as many as possible. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  3. Well put, George, the best of us left, are right with you. We wish all our mates, our friends and their families a Very Happy Christmas an contented 2017

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