December 21, 2013

Another History Buff's Christmas Tidbit: PRINCESS MARY’S 1914 GIFT BOX

In November 1914, an advert was placed in the English press asking for contributions to a Sailors & Soldiers Christmas Fund which had been created by Princess Mary. She was the 17 year old daughter of King George V and Queen Mary. The aim was to provide everyone wearing the King's uniform and serving overseas on Christmas Day 1914 with a gift from the nation. With the money raised an embossed brass box was designed by Messrs Adshead and Ramsey which was engraved with an outline of the Princess, the monogram M and the words Christmas 1914. The contents varied depending upon who was to receive them. The majority contained a pipe, a lighter, 1 oz of tobacco and twenty cigarettes in distinctive yellow monogrammed wrappers. However non-smokers and boys received a silver and brass bullet pencil and a packet of sweets instead; Nurses serving abroad were treated to chocolate, and Indian troops often got sweets and spices.

 Many of these items were sent in a slightly larger cardboard box, as the photograph of a soldier receiving his shows, as once the standard issue of tobacco and cigarettes was placed in the tin there was little room for much else apart from the greeting card.

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