The Christmas Ship

This Christmas postcard, sent from Camp 59 by Robert Dickinson to his parents and young brother Len, reads:

Nov. 2nd.

“To Mum, Dad, and Len.
Laden with Good Wishes

“This sailing ship is carrying
A load of Xmas cheer
And luck and happiness enough
To last another year

“Greetings and Best Wishes

“Xmas 1942”

Robert’s ocean scene is full of happy detail. Wind fills the sails of the ship, named Len, and sends it on it’s merry way toward “Blighty” (a nickname for Britain). A gull carries a sign that reads “Good Luck” as it sails on a breeze overhead. One sailer, playing an accordion, balances on the bowsprit. Another, with broad-brimmed hat, lands a fish at the back of the ship.

Although the card is addressed to Mrs. L. Dickinson, the drawing is clearly meant most of all for Len, who was seven at the time.

Robert on duty at the local barracks (Burton Road, Lincoln), just about 300 metres from the family home.

Len Dickinson’s son, Steve, says this of his father:

“My father remembers little of Robert, as he was only five when the war broke out and Robert enlisted and left home. All he has are a few visual memories.

“He says Robert did return home for a short period after Dunkirk. It was during that time that my father had his last vivid memory of Robert, standing guard at the gates to the local army barracks. He said that he was on his mother’s hand and shouted across the road ‘Hello Robert,’ to which his mother hurriedly moved him on, saying that he could not speak or wave whilst on guard duty.”

Young Len with Robert (left) and an unidentified boy, perhaps a friend of Robert’s (at right).

Robert’s drawing