Sunday, 18 December 2016

What To Buy A Soldier for Christmas, December 1916


Mackintosh's Toffee de Luxe

In this Blog, we primarily take a look at what Christmas gifts for 1916 were being recommended by British manufacturers and retailers of the period as being suitable for servicemen in the military and naval forces during the 'Great War' of 1914-1918. These are taken from "The Graphic", a magazine which was widely sold throughout the British Empire including the United States of America through their agents, "The International News Co." of New York. All items are from my own collections.


This charming embroidered Christmas Card with the NZEF Army Badge
emblem was sent by my Uncle to his Mother in December 1918
[From my own collection]

Obviously, servicemen and servicewomen serving overseas were themselves limited in what they could send back home. The New Zealand military authorities (and no doubt other countries) helpfully provided all members of their forces serving overseas with a pre-printed Christmas card to send back home to friends, family and loved-ones. Although dating from December 1918, this embroidered example was sent to my grandmother by my uncle while awaiting his return home from England after the end of the war.


The "Army Button" Charm
[From my own collection]

A couple of small items I hold could just as easily have been sent by servicemen to a wife or loved ones at home. The above World War One era "Army Charm" button would have been the ideal small present for a soldier on active service overseas to send to his wife or mother back home to wear "in solidarity" and for good luck.


Silver pin made by Alex Wood, 1915
[From my own collection]

This skillfully engraved pin, being made from a silver UK sixpenny coin, was sent to my 16 year old aunt around Christmas 1915 by her own aunt in Edinburgh. The latter records that it had been made by a soldier named Alex Wood (possibly of Colinton), who had been at Gallipoli, and then France and was probably back home recuperating from war injuries and making these brooches as a form of rehabilitation. I would love to find out more about this serviceman. 

So, let us now look at some of the gifts suggested for servicemen and military workers (also for women serving in the forces), including those who were recuperating from war injuries or had been disabled. I found the five shilling hampers for "starved prisoners [of war]" in Germany very interesting and the fact that it did not need to be for any particular allied prisoner but a straight out gift for a prisoner of war to be chosen by "The Daily Graphic". I do hope the hampers arrived before Christmas Day and what a thrill it would have given the recipients as indeed all these gifts would have been.


Phillips' 'Military' Soles and Heels


Carters Self-Propelled Bath-Chairs and Hand-Tricycles


Watson's "Spansa" Pocket Set


An original colour tinted Advertisement
for McClinton's Shaving Cream


"Valet" Auto Strop Safety Razor


Waterman's Ideal Fountain Pen


Finest Sheffield Steel "Service" Knife


Adjustable Wheel Chair and Adjustable Reclining Couch
from J. and A. Carter, New Cavendish Street, London 


Wright's Coal Tar Soap and Shaving Soap


The "Onoto" Fountain Pen


"Gillette" Safety Razor


"Gong Soups" Made by
"OXO Ltd", London


"Foot's" Adjustable Chair-Couch


A Silver Cigarette Case with the Allied Flags
From J.C. Vickery 


A Sterling Silver Double Row Cigarette
Case with Enamelled Regimental Badge


"Smith's" Luminous Allies Watch
From C. Smith & Son, Ltd, Piccadilly  


"Royal Vinolia Cream" for the Munitions Worker


"Spinet" Fine Old Virginia Oval
Cork Tipped Cigarettes


Christmas Hampers for Starved Prisoners
in German Prisoner of War Camps


"Evans' "Antiseptic Pastilles


"Beetham's" La Rola Toilet Milk
for the Nurse & Munitions Worker


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