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The World War 1 Christmas Gift Box to Soldiers and Sailors

Updated on August 8, 2015

The WW1 Princess Mary Christmas Box

If you are one of the many patriots who send boxes containing toiletries, small gifts and letters of support to our troops serving overseas, then I salute you. You are following a proud tradition which started in October 1914 when 17 year Princess, HRH Princess Mary, daughter of King George V of England approached the British Government with a proposal to create a fund for soldiers and sailors serving at the front. (World War 1)

World War 1 (The Great War) commenced in July 1914 and by October 1914 there was a realisation that this was wasn't going to be the quick and decisive military action originally envisaged and which saw young men enlisting in their thousands for what they believed would be an adventure.

By October 1914 it became clear that the troops wouldn't be home for Christmas and Princess Mary persuaded the British Government to commence and promote a 'Sailors & Soldiers Christmas Fund' and run national press advertisements.

The public response was beyond expectations and it was decided to send a Princess Mary 1914 Christmas Gift to Soldiers and Sailors. The gift was an embossed brass box with tobacco, pipe and lighter or 20 cigarettes for smokers and a bullet pencil and a packet of sweet for non smokers and boys serving with the military. Nurses were treated to chocolate and Indian troops who have a proud history of serving with the British army often got sweets and spices.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Tommy's War: British Military Memorabilia, 1914-1918

Tommy's War: British Military Memorabilia, 1914-1918
Tommy's War: British Military Memorabilia, 1914-1918

The First World War has left an almost indelible mark on history, with battles such as the Somme and Passchendaele becoming watchwords for suffering unsurpassed. The dreadful fighting on the Western Front, and elsewhere in the world, remains vivid in the public imagination. Over the years dozens of books have been published dealing with the soldier's experience, the military history and the weapons and vehicles of the war, but there has been little devoted to the objects associated with those hard years in the trenches. This book readdresses that balance.


Do you Support our Troops - Forget the politics of military deployments.

Service personal don't have a choice where they are sent or why. Please just consider the question alone.

Do you agree with the practise of sending parcels to our troops serving overseas?

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Thank you for visiting - please checkout my other World War 1 Lens

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