RAF PLAYS SANTA CLAUS TO DUTCH CHILDREN

Posted on Thursday 1st December 2016


RAF PLAYS SANTA CLAUS TO DUTCH CHILDREN

The support given to the occupied Netherlands by the Royal Air Force during

World War 2 is well known. While Dutch citizens were starving in the last stages

of the war the RAF regularly dropped parcels of food and other comforts which

helped this brave nation to survive and are remembered in Holland to this day.

Some elderly citizens who were children during the war will also remember the

Christmas of 1941 when the RAF became Santa Claus to Dutch children.

The principal Christmas celebration in the Netherlands is held on 6th December

when, according to their traditions, Sinterklaas (Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas)

comes to Holland and parades through a Dutch city. He arrives the night before

with his servants, the Zwaarte Pieten, Black Peters, who keep a record of which

children have been good during the previous year and which have been bad. The

children leave out clogs beside the hearth on the night of the 5th and the Black

Peters come down the chimney and leave presents in the clogs of the good children.

The bad children are put in the Black Peter’s sack and taken to Spain for a year,

where Sinterklaas lives, to learn how to behave.

If the children leave some hay and carrots in their clog, Sinterklaas’s horse, who

pulls his sleigh over the rooftops during the night, will leave them some sweets in

exchange. On the approach to St. Nicholas’s Day in 1941, it was decided that the

RAF should take over this duty.

It was winter and Bomber Command’s activities were very light in view of the

weather. On the night of the 5th visibility was down to zero and the operation had

to be postponed. It was the same the following night and it was not until the 8th

that the weather had lifted sufficiently for the mission to proceed. A scratch crew

comprising Sergeant Thompson, Pilot Officer Barrett, Warrant Officer Binns, and

Flight Sergeants Whittaker, Brownlow and Ollar took off at 4 am on the morning

of the 9th and dropped thousands of packets of Pascall sweets over the

Netherlands – a slightly late, but nonetheless very welcome gift from Sinterklaas.

The back of the packet shows a Black Peter giving Adolf Hitler a good thrashing

with a birch while a terrified Mussolini, his head poking out of Black Peter’s bag,

awaits his turn. The front of the packets showed St Nicholas with one of his Black

Peters flying in an RAF fighter and throwing out sweets for the children. This is

one of the unusual activities undertaken by the RAF described in a new book on

Bomber Command “The Night Hunter’s Prey” by Iain Gordon, published by Pen

and Sword Aviation and available through all good bookshops.

image

ST. NICHOLAS'S EVE 1941

RAF Rascal

Throw something in my shoe.

Throw bombs at the Krauts,

But scatter sweets in Holland.

HERE COME THE AIRCRAFT . . .

Here come the aircraft from

England again.

Bringing many bombs, Germany

bound

Promptly to fall on German soil

which will

Soon be gone should this be

prolongued.

Sender: St. Nicholas

SCATTERED BY THE RAF

image

SURPRISE FOR HITLER

See the moon shining through

the trees

Friends, hear the wild roar!

The RAF has returned once

more,

To rule the airs, watch how they

soar.

Our hearts beat in expectation,

Who gets the cake, who the

stick.

Hitler started this confrontation,

But it will be he who gets the

stick.

Sender: St. Nicholas

c/o The RAF

Further Reading


The Night Hunter’s Prey
(Hardback - 272 pages)
ISBN: 9781473882508

by Iain Gordon
Only £25.00

This is the story of two airmen – an RAF Rear Gunner and a Luftwaffe Pilot.

Alexander Ollar was raised in the Highlands of Scotland. He became an exceptional sporting shot and volunteered as an RAF Air Gunner in 1939. Helmut Lent enrolled for pilot training in the Luftwaffe as soon as he was old enough. Both were men of integrity and honour.

Alec completed his first tour of 34 operations with 115 Squadron and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal by the King.…
Read more at Pen & Sword Books...
image
The Royal Air Force in World War Two
Above photograph taken from Pinterest.

Of further interest...