[Editor: This Christmas card, with a photo of HMAS Canberra, and bearing the HMAS Canberra badge, includes the British flag (Union Jack) and the Australian flag (blue ensign). The card is undated, but was presumably printed between 1929-1941.]
[HMAS Canberra, Christmas card]
[Front of card]
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
[A photo of H.M.A.S. Canberra, decorated with the British flag (Union Jack) to its left, and the Australian flag (blue ensign) to its right. The badge of H.M.A.S. Canberra appears in the bottom left section of the card.]
Full mast ahead
and carry on
with Christmas pleasures
this old song
[Inside of card, middle]
[Handwritten text, in italics]
To Ma Pa Nip an Snoopy
With Best Wishes
a Happy Christmas
and a Bright New Year
[Inside of card, end]
[Handwritten text, in italics]
Well, wishing don’t make Xmas happy for you, but that’s about all I can do just now, Wish you a Happy Xmas.
I won’t send any presents, I’ll wait till Jean goes back to Melbourne.
Wish I had one of your chickens here just now ma, I’d sure make a mess of it.
All the Best.
[No identifying information about the manufacturer was included on the postcard.]
Dimensions (approximate): 114 mm. (width), 158 mm. (height) (measurements of front cover).
Considering the light-hearted or humorous nature of the writer of this card (as evidenced in the signing-off line “Cheerio herd”), two phrases have been left as is, rather than being changed or corrected, as they both may have been written tongue-in-cheek: “Nip an Snoopy” (“Nip and Snoopy”) and “Dear Fambly” (“Dear Family”).
On the back of the card are two handwritten notations, “Sunk 1942” and “£6”; these were presumably added some years later by a seller.
The writer of this Christmas card may have been James William Clifford, who enlisted on 4 September 1939, and who served on HMAS Canberra (discharged 15 November 1939).
See: “Clifford, James William”, Virtual War Memorial Australia [Service Number: PA1506; Enlisted: 4 September 1939, Port Adelaide, SA; Last Rank: Seaman; Last Unit: HMAS Canberra (I); Born: Pt Pirie, SA, 12 November 1919]
1) Genealogy SA has a listing for James William CLIFFORD, born in 1918 (Father: James Alfred CLIFFORD; District: Clare; Book/Page: 27A/485; Birth Year: 1918) [the year of birth given by Genealogy SA (1918) is different to the year given by Virtual War Memorial Australia (1919), but there may be a transcription error involved on one of the sites]
2) The National Archives of Australia site has a digitized copy of James William Clifford’s “Record of Mobilized Service” (Royal Australian Naval Reserve), which records him as being on Cerberus IV (4-9-39 to 4-9-39), on the Canberra (5-9-39 to 7-11-39), and then on Cerberus IV again (8-11-39 to 15-11-39).
3) However, the signatures does not appear to match. Whilst the RANR form does not include his full signature, it shows that his initial “J” is different. On the “Record of Mobilized Service” the J curves out directly to the left at the top, whilst on the Christmas card the J curves to the right at the top and then over to the left.
See: “CLIFFORD JAMES WILLIAM : Service Number – PA1506 : Date of birth – 12 Nov 1919 : Place of birth – PT PIRIE SA : Place of enlistment – PORT ADELAIDE SA : Next of Kin – CLIFFORD F”, National Archives of Australia (“Record of Mobilized Service”)
auld = (Scottish) old
HMAS = “Her Majesty’s Australian Ship”, or “His Majesty’s Australian Ship”, depending on the sex of the ruling monarch; a designation given to a base or a ship of the Royal Australian Navy (the designation may be rendered as “HMAS” or “H.M.A.S.”)
HMAS Canberra = a heavy cruiser of the Royal Australian Navy, built in Scotland, commissioned in 1928, arrived in Australian waters in 1929, performed military patrol and escort duties during World War Two (1939-1945); it was severely damaged by Japanese warships during the Battle of Savo Island (8-9 August 1942) and was subsequently scuttled
See: 1) “HMAS Canberra (I)”, Royal Australian Navy
2) Lt. Cdr. Geoffrey B. Mason, RN (Rtd.), “HMAS Canberra – County-type Heavy Cruiser”, Naval-History.net
3) Dr. Chris Clark “Remembering 1942: The Loss of HMAS Canberra”, Australian War Memorial (Canberra), 9 August 2002
4) “HMAS Canberra (D33)”, Wikipedia
Ma = mama, mother (commonly capitalised when used regarding a specific person, such as one’s own mother)
Pa = papa, father (commonly capitalised when used regarding a specific person, such as one’s own father)
should auld acquaintance be forgot = the first line of the song “Auld Lang Syne”; the song was written by Robert Burns (1759-1796) in 1788, based upon an old Scottish folk song
x = a symbol for a kiss (depending on the circumstances, it may indicate a loving kiss, a familial kiss, or a friendly kiss)
Xmas = an abbreviation of “Christmas”