CHRISTMAS IS A time when normal routine is suspended for many people – and so it was in the depths of World War II. For civilians and military alike during the 1939-45 period, normality was a loose concept, but these archive pictures show how they attempted to put on a brave face and observe some of the traditions that they would have enjoyed during peacetime.
These traditions – the Christmas dinner, presents and parties – became hugely modified as the toll of food rationing, wartime separation and bombing raids took their toll. Some of the following photographs also betray a touch of propaganda, aimed to boost morale and support for the war effort (we have left in the original captions to give you a taste of the message they were supposed to send out to beleaguered troops and the public). All, no matter their intended effect, are incredibly poignant.