Wednesday, December 23, 2015


In 2014, the 70th anniversary ceremonies honoring the Allied Forces who served and died in Normandy in the summer of 1944 ended, but a small British village quietly observed its own sacrifice made to the ravages of World War II. The residents of Freckleton in northwest England on Saturday saluted the memories of 61 people killed Aug. 23, 1944, when an American bomber undergoing a test flight became entangled in severe weather and nose-dived into the village. Thirty-eight of the fatalities were children ages 4 to 6 who were attending their second day of school for the semester.

Bing Crosby was in England doing a tour with the USO and heard about the tragedy at the school and wanted to visit and talk with some of the surviving children.

One of the three children in the school's toddler wing to survive was Ruby Whittle Currell who was four at the time of the crash. She was taken to the base hospital, burned over 40 to 50 percent of her body.

Ruby was all wrapped up like a mummy, all in gauze and Bing Crosby started talking to her and he asked her, ‘What would you like me to sing?’ and all she knew was "White Christmas."

Crosby tried three times to sing the song by the burned child’s bedside but kept choking up. Finally he walked out into the hall and sang from there.

At first he just couldn’t look at her. After he sang "White Christmas", he came back into the room and apologized. He explained to her that he was not sad at how she looked but upset at what the war was doing. According to Ruby, he pulled out a pen and paper and wrote his address and personal phone number down. He also paid for her extensive hospital bills, which included various operations.

She survived though, and is now 75 years old, but she will never forget how touching and kind Bing Crosby was to her. He wrote to her off and on until his death in October of 1977...



  1. Shows that Bing deep down in him was a deeply feeling man. Many wrote how cold and detached he could be but a lovely story like this warms my heart for Bing. Hearing White Christmas always sends me back to my childhood Christmases with love ones long gone. I'll remember them and Bing more deeply now. Thank you for this story.