Set of World War 1 Christmas Cards

Contributed by Louise Maudsley

Set of World War 1 Christmas Cards

These Christmas cards were sent by a soldier called Harry to his family in the First World War. Harry addresses his family as Mother, Father and Brother. The cards are all different and depict happy, smiling soldiers surrounded by bombs, grenades, shell casings and explosions. We think that the soldiers were issued with the cards as they were published by Raphael Tuck & Sons LTD - Publishers to the King and Queen.
The Christmas 1916 card shows soldiers (possibly one German) sharing a "Somme" pudding. The 1917 card was published in Paris and shows a soldier wearing a gas mask, walking a plank surrounded by a battle zone with an explosion; he is wearing fireworks strapped to his back. He is watched by a smiling soldier who peeps out from a makeshift shelter. Inside the card is an Almanack for the coming year. The 1918 card shows 5 smiling soldiers with the depiction "We're still smiling". We thought these cards were very poignant and that Harry had done well to keep safe through the war. The cards happy pictures are so at odds with what we know about how the soldiers must have been feeling; so we thought they must have been sent to keep the truth from the soldier's families.

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