Thursday, 6 December 2012

Christmas 1944

Evelyn Dunbar Christmas Card 1944 Pre-publication presentation (?) 1955 © Estate of Evelyn Dunbar: private collection

Evelyn's husband Roger Folley, serving with 488 (N.Z.) Squadron based at Amiens-Glisy in northern France, is the subject of their Christmas card for 1944. Roger managed to obtain a few days' leave at Christmas time, which he spent with Evelyn at The Cedars, the Dunbar family home in Rochester.

Evelyn has drawn Roger in his flying kit, leather helmet with earphones, night-vision goggles, oxygen mask and very non-uniform cravat. She has signed her drawing E.F. on Roger's right shoulder, and beneath she has written 'From a drawing of Roger on leave from France'. (It should enlarge if you click on it.)

For the first time in their series of Christmas cards Roger has added his own poem:

Wrong was strong for Right to fight-
The struggle's on, it is not won.
Many are freed; they're still in need.
Our counterparts have thankful hearts.
We, their saviours, know what prayer does,
And intercede against self-heed.

During Roger's Christmas leave his pilot, Wing Commander Ron Watts, Commanding Officer of the squadron, had rostered himself for duty and had invited another navigator to take the seat beside him in his De Havilland Mosquito night-fighter. This team brought down a Luftwaffe Junkers 188 in the early hours of Christmas Eve, and I have sometimes wondered what Roger felt about having missed out on what his colleagues would have called a 'kill'.

Roger Folley would have been 100 on the day this was posted, 6th December 2012.

(Original text © Christopher Campbell-Howes 2012. All rights reserved.)

Further reading...
EVELYN DUNBAR : A LIFE IN PAINTING by Christopher Campbell-Howes
is available to order online from
448 pages, 300 illustrations. £25


  1. Hello Christopher. Of all your aunt's paintings that you have shown us, that one appears to me to be easily the best, the brightest, and the most cheering of them all. Thank you.

    P.s. But I've always enjoyed apples.

  2. Chnristopher. I'm sorry. This comment should have been on your previous entry about the apples. My apologies. Mike.

  3. Mike and Ann...

    No worries! You can so easily transfer your 'pippins' into the basket of your choice.

  4. Greetings, Mike and Ann: I agree - Evelyn was in a more relaxed mode when she painted this.

    Happy munching!