Festive Cards show humour and propaganda of WW1

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Father Christmas is a regular on festive cards these days but his image was not as common on cards sent from soldiers in the World War One trenches.

Santa appeared on some cards but often those sent back home included regimental badges and images of soldiers often containing messages wishing for a speedy end to the war.

Regimental Cards sent home by soldiers at the front

Regimental Cards sent home by soldiers at the front

Many show humour and are on display as part of Christmas at York Castle Museum over the festive period. One features a British Tommy and a French soldier holding a circular bomb captioned “Somme” Pudding.

While one sent by a prisoner of war trying to portray a positive slant on Christmases spent captured behind enemy lines shows the duplicity of war.

Faye Prior, collections facilitator at York Museums Trust, said: “Regimental cards were not new to the First World War, but the growth of the regiments and the recruitment of Kitcheners’ new armies meant the market for regimental cards grew exponentially. These cards often portrayed the dark humour and “stiff upper lip” attitude which were strongly associated with British trench warfare.

“Cards were also produced by German prisoner of war camps, to try to convince British families that imprisoned soldiers were being treated well.”