Christmas stories from the archives: One Leeds child will have a cold Christmas lunch

Jessie Macdonald of Francis Street, Leeds, will have a cold lunch on Christmas Day.

Jessie is one of the Leeds children evacuated to Australia, and in her latest letter to her mother she writes:

“I hope I shall be making the fare for next Christmas - puddings, cakes, etc. as I did the year before last, for this year I shall probably have a cold lunch.”

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Jessie is staying at Sydney, in the suburb of Turramuia. and her guardians are two delightful spinsters who live in a beautiful bungalow.

Yorkshire Evening Post - Tuesday 24 December 1940

Christmas graphicYorkshire Evening Post - Tuesday 24 December 1940

Christmas graphic
Yorkshire Evening Post - Tuesday 24 December 1940 Christmas graphic

“The garden is a perfect dream,” says Jessie, “with some of the most beautiful and brilliant flowers you ever saw.”

“Petrol is rationed in Australia, and they have to be very careful with water.” as there has been no proper rainfall for seven years.

The drought is getting rather severe now, and I have been told that in the oountry sheep are dying in hundreds.”

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Jessie’s evacuee companion is a girl from Glasgow, aged 16, and when the letter was written they were the starting a new school life at Mornesby High School, Sydney.

Jessie writes that she is getting a new school outfit, as her own gym tunic is “much too warm for Australia”.

In an earlier letter, written while she was at sea, she says: “At the moment I am dressed in khaki shorts and shirt, boy’s socks and a sun hat. I also have a little moustache, and I am a soldier.

We are having charades this afternoon.”

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