There must be millions of these embroidered cards sent back home by the Tommies. I believe that making them was quite an industry for French women. This one was sent by my husband’s great uncle. When you lift up the flags, there’s a little card inside and on the back, written in pencil, ‘Best love from Bert 9.9.16.’ I wonder where he was? Here’s some more of the cards he sent.
I find it touching to think of this country boy, who in his long life probably only left his village in order to go to war, sending these little tokens back home. I was lucky enough to meet him soon after I was married, when he proudly showed me his absolutely perfect vegetable garden. He was a real countryman, who taught the young cybersofa to shoot and took him out rabbiting. The only reason I have these cards is that his wife gave them to me, knowing that I taught history and thinking I’d be interested. I’m surprised she would part with them.
Here’s a snapshot of my husband’s grandfather Hugh with his first wife, who died after giving birth to my father-in-law.
Underneath is a ration book (unused) dated 1919. Note the ‘Special Military Surgical Hospital’. That’s because he lost an arm, which didn’t stop him working for the rest of his life. He must have been wounded very late in the war because here’s a card he sent his motherless son.
On the back is written, ‘For Derek from his loving Soldier Daddy in France 7-10-18’
The next letter from 'Dada’ is written in crude block capitals.