Manitoba-born John Hanlon was a sailor in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. In late November 1944, the frigate he was posted on was docked in St. John’s, Newfoundland. John decided he and some friends should cut down a few evergreen trees and stow them on the ship to surprise their fellow sailors on Christmas morning while they were at sea. On Christmas morning, they were in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean on their way back to Canada, when John and two friends brought the trees out of hiding. The other sailors on their ship were surprised and thrilled. They set about decorating the trees and celebrating Christmas. Other happy recipients of this unexpected Christmas gift were some small English children who were being transported to safety in Canada on another ship within their convoy. A tree was sent over to the children, on a line thrown between the two ships.