Images and information on First World War

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Transcript Images and information on First World War

Teachers’ First World War
Resource Pack
Slideshow of images and information about artefacts from
Gunnersbury’s First World War Collections
Tin of Mustard Leaves
Object No.
Tin of Mustard Leaves
Yellow tin with black geometric border, one long
side open: “MUSTARD LEAVES Guaranteed to keep
in any climate. Directions: Immerse the leaves
thoroughly in water before applying...” Included in
contents of V.A.D (Voluntary Aid Detachment)
Further information: For external use as a poultice.
Mustard leaves dilate the blood vessels, thereby
increasing blood flow to the surface of the skin.
This warms the skin, helps to remove toxins and
speed recovery. Mustard poultices can also provide
pain relief.
Princess Mary
Christmas Box
Object No.
Princess Mary Christmas Box
Description:Brass box; hinged lid relief design wreathed
portrait “M” either side. Above “Imperium Britannicum”;
below “Christmas 1914”; in corner, sides: “Belgium, Japan,
Russia, Montenegro, Serbia, France”. Gift box for First World
War troops and military nurses.
Further information: In keeping with the previous century’s
Victorian traditions of charity and philanthropy, there were
many charitable funds set up during the First World War.
Princess Mary was the only daughter of King George V and
Queen Mary and she led a national campaign to raise funds to
send a gift to soldiers, sailors and nurses who were on active
service during Christmas 1914. A total of £162,591 12s 5d was
collected and used to fund the manufacture of embossed
commemorative gift boxes and their contents. Smokers
received one ounce of pipe tobacco, twenty cigarettes, a pipe,
a tinder lighter, a Christmas card and photograph of Princess
Mary. For non-smokers the contents of the box were altered
to include a packet of ascorbic acid tablets (Vitamin C) and a
khaki writing case containing pencil, paper and envelopes. The
dietary rules of different religions were also taken into
consideration; for example, Sikhs were given a box filled with
sugar candy, a tin box of spices and a Christmas card. Military
nurses were given a box containing a packet of chocolate and
a card.
Steel Dart
Object No.
Steel Dart (German flechette)
1914 - 1918
Description:Steel dart dropped from German aircraft
during First World War. On associated card William S.
Smyth explains it fell close to him during an air-raid in
London. Steel cylinder with sharp pointed tip at one end
and four grooved “fins” at the other end.
Further information: Steel darts such as this were used as
weapons by German, French and British troops during the
First World War. They were dropped in large quantities
inside canisters carried by aeroplanes and airships. The
canisters were attached under the fuselage and a wire
was pulled to open the canister and release the darts.
Each canister could hold between 20 – 250 darts.
Dropped from a great height, the darts would gain
sufficient momentum to pierce heads or bodies of enemy
soldiers or civilians. They were dropped over British front
line trenches as well as during air-raids in Britain. Steel
helmets were not issued to British soldiers until March
1916. Prior to this they wore khaki cloth caps which
provided very little protection against weapons such as
Child’s Ration Book
Object No.
Child’s Ration Book
145 x 95mm
Description:Part of 12 items of ration books/purchaser’s
cards used by the donor’s family during the First World
War. (Maiden name was “Cayley”). Donor noted that they
used to evacuate from their home in Kenilworth Road
(Ealing, W5) when there was a full moon to avoid being
bombed during 1914-1918.
Further information: Food became scarce during the First
World War. Men and farm horses who had once farmed
the land were now away fighting in the war. Although
many women then stepped in to help, such as the
Women’s Land Army, it was very hard work without any
horses to do jobs such as pulling ploughs. Food that was
imported from abroad often failed to arrive because the
ships carrying the food were bombed by German aircraft
and submarines (U-boats). Food became scarce and
expensive. To make sure everyone had equal access to
food the Government introduced ‘rationing’ in 1918. Every
person had to register with particular shops, such as a
baker, grocer, butcher etc. and their ration book held
coupons that allowed them to buy a limited amount of
food each week. Rationed items included sugar, tea,
butter, margarine, meat, flour and milk. The Government
also created posters encouraging people not to waste food
and to grow their own.
1914 Star Medal
Object No.
“1914 Star” Medal
1914 - 1918
50 x 45mm
Description:“1914 Star” star-shaped bronze medal,
coloured ribbon. Relief design of 2 crossed swords, oak
wreath, imperial crown, scroll winds around the
wreath with words “Aug – Nov 1914”. Ribbon is red
merging into white and then blue. In original box.
Soldier’s name, regiment and number inscribed on
rear of medal. Awarded posthumously to William
Henry Belston, killed in action 9th May 1915.
Further information: The 1914 Star medal was
awarded to all those who served in the Armed Forces,
including military hospitals, in France and Belgium
between August 5th 1914 and midnight of November
22/23rd 1914. William Henry Belston (aged 24) and his
brother Walter Sidney Belston (aged 23) both lived in
Acton and were both killed in action at the Battle of
Aubers in France on 9th May 1915. Their medals were
awarded posthumously to their father, William Henry
Belston Snr.
British War Medal
Object No.
British War Medal
1914 - 1918
Silver circular British
War Medal. Obv: dated 1914-1918, relief design
of St George on horseback. Rev: head of George
V. Soldier’s name, regiment and number are
inscribed on rim. In original box. Awarded
posthumously to William Henry Belston, killed
in action 9th May 1915.
Further information: All soldiers from the
British Empire who left their native home to
serve in the First World War were awarded this
medal. William Henry Belston (aged 24) and his
brother Walter Sidney Belston (aged 23) both
lived in Acton and were both killed in action at
the Battle of Aubers in France on 9th May 1915.
Their medals were awarded posthumously to
their father, William Henry Belston Snr.
Victory Medal
Object No.
Victory Medal
1914 - 1919
35mm diameter
Description:Victory Medal struck in bronze: Full length
figure of Victory, “The Great War for Civilisation”. Soldier’s
name, regiment and number inscribed on rim. In original
box. Awarded posthumously to Walter Sidney Belston,
killed in action 9th May 1915.
Further information: This medal was awarded to all
soldiers who fought in battle during the First World War.
Victory medals continued to be issued after the Armistice
for British soldiers who saw action in Russia and TransCaspia, both in 1919. Walter Sidney Belston (aged 23) and
his brother William Henry Belston (aged 24) both lived in
Acton and were both killed in action at the Battle of
Aubers in France on 9th May 1915. Their medals were
awarded posthumously to their father, William Henry
Belston Snr.
When the Star, Victory and British War Medals were worn
together they were known colloquially as "Pip, Squeak and
Wilfred". Pip, Squeak and Wilfred were popular cartoon
characters at that time in the ‘Daily Mail’ newspaper.
St John Ambulance
Instructional Bandage (Sling)
Object No.
Instructional Bandage (Sling)
1914 - 1918
Description:Triangular cotton sling printed with black
line drawings illustrating first aid procedures and at
encircling the Association’s emblem, and along base:
Further information: Bandages of this type could easily
be carried around by nurses and other medical staff,
enabling them to wrap an injury in a trauma situation
until medical attention could be obtained. During the
First World War St John Ambulance (Order of St John)
and the British Red Cross joined forces to form the Joint
War Committee. They pooled their resources and fundraising activities to supply medical services, including
the Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs), both in Britain
and in areas of conflict abroad.
Silk Postcard
Object No.
Silk Greetings Card
133 x 104mm
Description:Muslin embroidered with flags, floral wreath
and “A.S.C.” in coloured silks. Mounted in white card:
“J.J.Saint Omer – Paris (ModŠle d,pos,)”. Inscribed: “Wishing
all the Lovegroves a Happy and Prosperous New Year. From
Further information: Soldiers away from home would often
buy these silk postcards, known as “silks”, as souvenirs of
their involvement in the war, and send them home to their
families. Women in France and Belgium would hand
embroider decorations such as flags and flowers onto a silk
or muslin mesh and the material would then be sent to
factories to be mounted onto cards. The money raised was
often used to support local charities. Troops were entitled to
free postage so there is no postage stamp on cards such as
these. ‘A.S.C.’ stands for ‘Army Service Corps’, which later
became the ‘Royal Army Service Corps’ in 1918. The A.S.C.
provided vital support, using motor and horse drawn
vehicles, railways and waterways, to transport equipment,
food and ammunition to the Western Front.
Trench Art Vase
Object No.
Trench Art Vase
1914 - 1918
200 x 100mm
Brass vase made out of First
World War German shell casing with flower
(marigold?) decoration. On side: “SOMME 1916”,
on base: “St/Rh.M.F.99/OCT 1914/DUSSELDORF”.
Further information: First World War Trench Art,
such as vases, letters openers etc. were often
created out of used shell casing from weapons such
as field guns and rifles. Although known as Trench
Art, the objects were usually made away from the
trenches in places such as Prisoner of War Camps
and Convalescence Hospitals. They were made as
souvenirs to be sent home to families and
sometimes sold to raise money for local warrelated charities.
Ealing War Dressings
Association Badge
Object No.
Ealing War Dressings
Association Badge
1914 - 1918
32mm diameter
Description:Circular metal badge with head &
shoulders of nurse depicted in centre superimposed on
Red Cross background. Around edge is blue band with
Further information: This badge was worn by
volunteers of the Ealing War Dressings Association. The
volunteers, who were mostly women, provided
“comforts” for the troops on the Western Front and also
raised money, partly through voluntary subscriptions, to
help wounded Belgian servicemen and refugees who
were living in Ealing. “Comforts” sent to soldiers might
have included items such as chocolate, beef tea (e.g.
Bovril or Oxo cubes), bars of soap (e.g. Lifebuoy and
Sunlight), novels, and knitted items such as socks,
mufflers and cardigans.
Memorial Plaque
Object No.
Memorial Plaque
121mm diameter
Description: Framed bronze medallion depicting Britannia with
lion. In framework: "HORACE GEORGE DAWN", around
circumference: "HE DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR". H G Dawn
(633.804, C of E, 2/20 London Regt), Ealing resident killed during
First World War.
Further information: The Government issued bronze
commemorative memorial plaques (and an accompanying paper
scroll) to be given to the next of kin of men and women who died as
a result of the “Great War”. Production of the plaques did not begin
until December 1918 due to the scarcity of available metal for the
plaque and high quality paper for the scroll. Initially they were
produced at the Government's Memorial Plaque Factory in Acton at
54-56 Church Road, London W3. Later, production was moved to
the Woolwich Arsenal munitions factory in South London. Due to
the coin-like appearance of the plaque it became widely known as
the “Dead Man's Penny”, the “Death Penny”, “Death Plaque” or
“Widow's Penny”. This particular plaque commemorates Horace
George Dawn who was killed in action on 30th August 1918, just 43
days before the Armistice. He is commemorated in the H.A.C.
(Honourable Artillery Company) cemetery at Ecoust-St. Mein and
on the Ealing war memorial outside Pitzhanger Manor. He is
recorded as the son of George and Louisa Dawn who lived at 16
Loveday Road, West Ealing, London.
Images are of objects from Gunnersbury’s First World War Collections