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At War

Condolence Letters

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Condolence Letters

"We were resting for a few minutes on what is known as Rhododendron Ridge when the Turks began to shell us and a piece of shrapnel struck your son on the head, it knocked him unconscious. ... I can assure you he never knew what hit him...."

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Shoe Bag, Egypt 1914 - 1918

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Shoe Bag, Egypt 1914 - 1918

This shoe bag is typical of the embroidered items that were sold in the Egyptian bazaars to soldiers in World War I. These were very popular during the First World War due to their colourful nature and the fact they were easy to fold and post home.  Soldiers bought them while travelling to or from the Western Front (via Egypt) or while they were serving or training in Egypt.

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Trench Periscope

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Trench Periscope

Periscopes like these were produced in World War I so soldiers could view out of trenches without having to put their heads over the parapets and risk being shot.

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Water Flask/Canteen 1914-1918

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Water Flask/Canteen 1914-1918

This canteen is a standard issue World War I water bottle for British troops, known as a Mark VI bottle of a 1903 pattern. They were made in blue enamel to indicate they were for water; the khaki woollen felt cover was used to hide the enamel and prevent reflection and noise.

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The "Digger's" Field Writing Pad - Large

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The "Digger's" Field Writing Pad - Large

"[A]ctive service / military duties can make it difficult to write letters. The Diggers Field Writing Pad has been issued to facilitate letter writing, is supplied free, with refills available at any branch of the NZ YMCA.

The average soldier does not realise fully just how eagerly his letters are looked for and it is hoped this pad will make it easier for him to keep in touch with the Home Folk"

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First World War Souvenir Postcards

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First World War Souvenir Postcards

During the early 20th century, postcards weren't bought solely for communication purposes but also used as souvenirs to be kept in albums. Though personal cameras were available during the First World War, postcards were a way for those without a camera to remember where they had been and things they had experienced. 

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Tobacco Tin - Christmas Gift from Princess Mary, 1914

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Tobacco Tin - Christmas Gift from Princess Mary, 1914

Tobacco tin issued as a Royal gift  to members of the British, Colonial and Indian Armed Forces for Christmas 1914. This is the officer's tin, made of silver, all other ranks received brass boxes. It included a variety of goods, including tobacco for soldiers who smoked and sweets for those who did not. The boxes were paid for from the 'Sailors & Soldiers Christmas Fund' which had been created by Princess Mary in 1914. When the fund finally closed in 1920, almost £200,000 had been donated for the provision of more than two and a half million boxes with contents."

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