University of Oxford
2 files

A Christmas letter from Palestine

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 18:59 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

This letter, dated Sunday 9th December (which makes the year 1945, i.e. after the war in Europe had ended), is written by Percy Clements, who was conscripted into the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and stationed in Palestine. He is writing to his son, Donald, who would have been around 10 years old. He starts by telling Don about the presents he has for him, and some other things he is planning to find that Don has asked for. He hopes this will make up for the fact that there may not be many presents for Christmas, perhaps letting Don know that he won't be home for Christmas either.

But the main purpose of the letter is to ask Don to say 'happy Christmas' to his mother and sisters on his father's behalf on Christmas morning. The family consists of Olive (Percy's wife), Valerie, who would have been around six, and Margaret who had just turned two.

Percy survived the war and lived to tell me a little about his experiences in Palestine. I remember him saying how well he was treated by the Arab people, and - if I have remembered correctly - that a Palestinian soldier saved his life on one occasion.

After my uncle Don died, his wife, Ellen, sent me this letter in 2022. They had no children and she knew that I was very close to my grandad, and it would mean a lot to me.


Item list and details

A letter sent by Private Percy Clements from Palestine on 9th December 1945 to his son, Donald, in London.

Person the story/items relate to

Percy Clements; his son, Donald; Percy's wife, Olive, and daughters, Valerie and Margaret.

Person who shared the story/items

Jacquie Kelly

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

He was my grandfather, and Margaret was my mother.

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

Record ID