Saturday, February 03, 2007

World War 1 era embroidered postcards - Part 2

During my second trip to England (I think) my final stop was in
what we've come to consider our "home" town, which is Chichester in
West Sussex. My Mother's family on her father's side are pretty much
all living in that area. So whenever we go to England we spend at least
a few days there for visiting and exploring of our roots.

The hotel that I stayed at was right across the tree shaded street from
Chichester cathedral, and consisted of two old hotels that were combined
into one many years ago. The names of the two hotels were also
combined to name the single hotel...The Dolphin and Anchor. One of
those old buildings with multi levels, long winding hallways and no logical
floor plan. And uneven floors which made walking along them an
adventure. The Dolphin and Anchor was owned and run by the Trust
House Forte at that time, but I believe that it is now closed and last I
heard was not being used for anything. A pity.

Anyways, while I was staying there they had a small antique fair in one
of the larger rooms, and of course I had to pop in there to see what was
available. I don't remember what all else I might have bought there that
day, but I do very clearly remember the embroidered postcards that one
dealer was selling.

The dealer had at least one, possibly two binders full of these wonderful
postcards. They were a collection put together by someone who had also
obviously loved these small treasures and had gone to a great deal of
trouble to collect and save them. Unfortunately the man had passed away,
and I guess no one in his family wanted them, so they were sold to this
dealer, who was in turn selling them as part of his business.

I regret that by the time that I stumbled upon them the collection had
already been picked over and there were cards missing from the binders
as people bought individual cards that appealed to them. If I'd found the
collection intact I think I would have maxed out my credit card to buy
them and keep the collection in one piece, as it should have been. But I
bought six of the cards, keeping in mind that my Mom had six from our
family, and with the intention of having them framed the same as she'd
done. I made sure that I picked out six cards with sayings on them
different from the ones that we already had.

1) With Love to Mother
2) Happy Birthday
3) To My Dear Wife

1) To my Dear Sweetheart
2) Happy Christmas
3) Remember

It wasn't until later that I sat down to examine the cards closely and
discovered that the one that said "With Love to Mother" had a bonus in it.
Inside the sleeve of the postcard was a little card which said "Forget Me
Not" and a picture of a young man in uniform! I was astounded.
Sadly there was no information on the postcard or on the picture to give me
an idea of who this young man might have been, or what happened to him.
I'd like to think that he survived the war to live a long and happy life, but I
know that that might well not have been the case. But I'll treasure these
pieces, and even if I never know his name I'll still remember him and his
courage in going to war and serving his country. May he rest in Peace.


Gina E. said...

Oh Judy, if I found something like that with a wartime postcard, I think I would have been in tears. How sad that this has not stayed with the family to which it belongs. Maybe he was an only child and never came back to provide a continuation of the family... said...

These embroidered silk postcards were made by the displaced women of France and Belgium during WW1. They were bought by British soldiers fighting in France as keepsake for their loved ones at home. There are countless designs, some patriotic with flags etc, some romantic, some military with regiment badges. My own favourites are those with butterflys and insects with their wings embroidered in the colours of the allies flags. I've more info about them on my postcard blog (look in the section headed Military). They are gorgeous things.....