We have already had a good response to our appeal for objects that was announced in August. One of the objects received is an embroidered postcard sent by a soldier in the Somerset Light Infantry to his family for Christmas.
Silk Embroidered postcards were displayed at the 1900 Paris Exhibition, however reached the height of their popularity during the First World War. French and Belgian women weaved the postcards to sell to soldiers on the Western Front as souvenirs.
Opinions differ as to whether the embroidery was machine or hand-embroidered, but certainly as demand for them increased, the manufacturing moved to Parisian factories. Although aimed at a male market, many of the designs are feminine in nature, featuring flowers, such as roses or pansies, alongside romantic statements.
Other designs feature the flags of the Britain and her Allies, or French rural scenes. Some sent birthday or Christmas wishes, whilst others aimed to reassure families at home. Specific designs also featured regimental badges, whilst others formed an ‘envelope’ which contained a card conveying further good wishes.
It is estimated over 10 million World War I ‘silks’ were made; examples are contained within the Somerset Light Infantry Regimental collection held at the Somerset Heritage Centre.