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  • Writer's pictureWendy Percival

#WWI Christmas

I'm lucky to have amongst my family treasures four beautiful embroidered postcards, known as "WWI silks" sent from the front during the First World War. According to the Imperial War Museum's website, the embroideries are believed to have been sewn by French or Belgium women and by Belgian refugees in the UK. They would be embroidered on to long rolls of silk before being sent to factories to be trimmed, glued and framed to make the finished cards.

Of the four cards I have, two depict a Christmas theme.


On the reverse of the card on the left, there is a message to my gran. "Dear Sister Edith, Merry Christmas and a bright new year." It isn't signed or dated, so it could have been from either of her brothers, Thomas or George Diggory. The pencil has faded over time and at some point someone has attempted to go over the writing to make it clearer to read.

There is a flap in the embroidery, following the line of brown stitching under the image, which creates a pocket where I believe it was customary to slip a letter or a tiny greeting card inside.

The other postcard (in red, on the right) has no message on the back and this wasn't unusual. These precious and fragile cards were often mailed together with letters, there being no need to write anything on the card itself.

A Christmas card

I also have a Christmas card sent to my granddad, [Ernest] George Shelley (below left) from his younger brother Percy (right).

It's dated Christmas 1918, by which time the Armistice would have been signed and the soldiers would be looking forward to going home.

The phrase on the front made me smile. Somewhat lacking in rhythm, I think!

Inside the card, the rhyme works much better. It even fits to the tune of Auld Lang Syne, as it suggests at the top of the page! Any idea who D. M. was, anyone?

So, on that note (if you'll pardon the pun), it just leaves me to thank you for dropping in on my blog and to sign off until next year.

Have a very enjoyable Christmas time and a Happy New Year. I look forward to your company again in 2020!



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