World War I – Postcards

The First World War, the “war to end all wars” 1914-1918, stirred the nationalistic pride and sense of duty to King and Country in our Canadian men and boys. Many hurried to join in the very beginning as it was felt that the war would be over before they got the chance to fight.

Postcards were a chance for those serving to send back home a glimpse of what life in the military was like. They give us a look into what daily life was like for those who served.

While our collection is small, we wanted to share with you what those who served shared with their family and friends back home.

We are always interested in increasing our collection so that we may share with everyone this glimpse into our past. If you have postcards there are three ways in which you could share them with us:

1) a direct donation to the museum

2) loan them to us, we will scan them and return the originals to you

3) if you have a digital image you can send it to us at our email address:

If you can identify some of the ranks and units of specific postcards we would appreciate hearing from you so we can add this information to the picture:

The War at Home


Post Office The Camp- Location is unknown
The Camp – Everyone can recognize the Eaton’s Store- location unknown








The Merry Cooks
This training march from Ottawa to Kingston, of which we have several photos was made into a post card. It was not uncommon to take photos and have them made into postcards. the year of this march was 1915
Another view of the 1915 march. The soldiers spent the night camped out on the “on the Bark Flats” right below the village. Their unit was the 5th Mounted Rifles.




Bustard Camp at Salisbury Plain

In 1914, when the British accepted the Canadian government’s offer of a contingent of 25,000 men, they decided to station the Canadians at Salisbury Plain for final training and work up before going to France.

Salisbury Plain, in central southern England, had since 1898 been one of the British Army’s main training bases. At the time they had nearly 300 square miles of grassy hilly terrain with an occasional stand of trees. There was a thin coat of topsoil on top of a chalk base. The Plain had been used to conduct manoeuvres, summer camps, and rifle and artillery training on the ranges.

In preparation for the Canadians arrival they had pitched floor-boarded tents and erected cook houses. The arrival of an additional 8,000 men above the 25,000 they had been informed to expect, the British Army had to scramble to find additional tents for the men.

12th Platoon, C Company




Training in camp









Unfortunately no information was available for this post card
Unfortunately no information is available


“For Auld Lang Syne”- Should auld aquaintance be forgot; And never brought to min’?; Shouls auld acquaintance be forgot.; And days o’ lang syne?


An enlargement of the above showing a woman pushing a stroller, possibly next to her husband


The men and women stationed sent postcards home of places they may have visited to send notes and to give them a glimpse of a peaceful England


The Castle from Connaught Park, Dover

The Castle from Connaught Park, Dover

Connaught Park was the answer to a long-felt need for a public park in Dover and was achieved in 1883 by the lease of land on rising ground to the north-west of the Castle. Voluntary public subscription covered the cost of landscaping, the lake, trees, shrubs, fencing, and the park-keeper’s lodge.

The Castle

King Henry II’s Keep (Great Tower) above Inner Curtain Wall (Inner Bailey) and Kings’s Gate. Also has a Western Outer Curtain Wall and Constable’s Gateway. The Park was opened by the Dutchess of Connaught in 1883.



Battle Abbey Gateway

In 1070, Pope Alexander II ordered the Normans to do penance for killing so many people during their conquest of England. In response, William the Conqueror vowed to build an abbey where the Battle of Hastings had taken place, with the high altar of its church on the supposed spot where King Harold fell in that battle on Saturday, 14 October 1066. He started building it, dedicating it to St. Martin, sometimes known as “the Apostle of the Gauls,” though William died before it was completed. Its church was finished in about 1094 and consecrated during the reign of his son William known as Rufus. William I had ruled that the church of St Martin of Battle was to be exempted from all episcopal jurisdiction, putting it on the level of Canterbury. It was remodelled in the late 13th century but virtually destroyed during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538 under King Henry VIII.

Battle Abbey Gateway

At the dissolution, the displaced monks of Battle Abbey were provided with pensions, including the abbot John Hamond and the prior Richard Salesherst, as well as monks John Henfelde, William Ambrose, Thomas Bede and Thomas Levett, all bachelors in theology.

The abbey and much of its land was given by Henry VIII to his friend and Master of the Horse, Sir Anthony Browne, who demolished the church and parts of the cloister and turned the abbot’s quarters into a country house. (Wikipedia)


Netley Hospital

Netley Hospital

The Royal Victoria Hospital or Netley Hospital was a large military hospital in Netley, near Southampton, Hampshire, England. Construction started in 1856 at the suggestion of Queen Victoria but its design caused some controversy, chiefly from Florence Nightingale. Often visited by Queen Victoria, the hospital was extensively used during the First World War. (Wikipedia)







Dover Marine Parade and Castle

over Marine Parade and CastleDuring both World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945) Dover became Fortress Dover – a military zone from where, amongst other things, troops embarked for Continental Europe and beyond. Indeed, Dover, besides being a port was also a major military base with huge barracks on both the Eastern – where the Castle is – and Western Heights. Because Dover was the military port, Folkestone remained the civilian port for the Channel crossing, supplementing as a military port when needs necessitated.  (The Dover Historian)







Some Post Cards had little pockets in which were a pull out section of smaller pictures, here is one such card.

One for the pot and a packet of views from Ramsgate
Inner and Outer Harbours
Sands from East Pier
Louisa Gap
The Sands
The Bandstand from Paragon House Hotel
West Cliff Promenade
Lighthouse, West Pier & West Cliff
Convalescent Home & Cliff
Granville Hotel from Promenade Pier



General View
Royal Victoria Pavilion
The Inner Harbour


Soldier’s Portraits               

During the period 1914-1918, local photographers in British towns, villages and training camps took hundreds of thousands if not millions, of portraits of soldiers in uniform. The photographers were simply responding to the demand of these young men who wanted their picture taken before leaving England for the Western Front and elsewhere. You will find WWI photographs taken in 1914-15, of proud young volunteers – ‘Kitchener’s Men’ – looking pleased to be in their new uniforms and soon to be doing their duty for ‘King and Country’. And there are WWI photographic postcards from 1916 on wards, showing not volunteers but conscripts now, who also look happy to be photographed in khaki – but not always!

Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3a
Photo 3
Photo 4
Photo 5
Photo 6
Photo 7
Photo 8
Photo 9
Photo 10










Photo 11
Photo 12
Photo 13


HMS Thunderer was the fourth and last Orion class dreadnought battleship built for the Royal Navy in the early 1910s. She spent the bulk of her career assigned to the Home and Grand Fleets. Aside from participating in the Battle of Jutland in May 1916 and the inconclusive action of August 19th, her service during Word War I generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea.

Sailor on the right is from the HMS Thunderer


HMS Thunderer














WWI Silk Post Cards

The embroidered silk postcard is a common souvenir of the First World War.  They are blank postcards onto which an embossed paper surround has been glued, to frame and hold a central piece of silk.  On the silk, a design is hand-embroidered in coloured thread.

The embroidered postcards were very popular with British soldiers who often sent them home. They were sold in thin paper envelopes but were seldom sent through the post in them.  They were too fragile and, more particularly, they represented quite an investment – they were not cheap souvenirs.  Usually they were mailed with letters.  For this reason, they are often unwritten, with no marks on the back, any message having been sent in an accompanying letter.

A Kiss from France
Best Christmas Wishes
England Forever
This card has a front pocket
To my Sweetheart
Happy Birthday
Forget Me Not
1915- Sincere Friendship
17 or Glory – 17th Lancers
Brittons All
This card has a pocket on the front
Flowers of France- Gathered for You
From Your Soldier Boy
I’m Thinking of You

Comic Postcards

The Great War of 1914-18 was certainly not one of the funniest events to be recorded on picture postcards, especially for those men fighting in the mud-filled trenches of France and Belgian. However, there were artists – both military and civilian – who were willing to inject a little humour or satire into their postcard drawings and paintings – even when depicting the gloomiest of situations. (Tony Allen)

Photo 1
Photo 2







From a soldier of the King
A Loving Kiss

Rembering someone left behind

Some people found in verse cards the sentiment that they wanted to convey to another but could not express it themselves. In addition, if the verse was not signed perhaps it gave more of a feeling to the receiver that their soldier had created it. Some of these postcards ran in series. (Tony Allen)

Down Texas Way (3) I keep hearing a Southern tune; Makes me feel like a crazy loon; Want to dance ‘neath a harvest moon, The family’s expecting me along home soon.
Down Texas Way (1) I can picture a spot so fair; Smiling faces are ev’rywhere; Wish some fairy would take e therre; And drop me nice and comfy in an old arm-chair















If I could turn the clock back a year (1) I listen to the old clock chime, when shadow-time is due, Somehow it seems to speak of happy days and you; Old Father Time goes creeping on through all our joy and care, With vain regrets my lonely hours I share.
If I could turn the clock back a year (2) If I could turn the clock back just one year, If angry words might be forgotten too, Whether sleeping or waking, my heart is aching, I can think of nothing in all the world but you; I miss those nights of gladness, days of joy, And all those blissful moments ever dear; I dream of you and sunny flow’rs, and all the love that might be ours, If I could turn the clock back only just one year.
If I could turn the clock back a year (3) I wonder if you dream like me, and wish that dreams come true, I wonder if you miss the arms that ache for you; I ponder in the gloaming, when the day has reach’d its close, And whisper as I kiss a faded rose.






Good Luck to You Here’s to the laddie so far away We know you have the pluck To make you a winner where you are That’s why we wish you luck
The White Comrade never lets a friend go under, but says-‘Lo I am with you always’
The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.- From All Saints’, Haggerston, R.E.- Where we are praying for you at our Christmas Communion
Prohibited During The War
The clouds will soon pass by…
Memories of You When I come Back to You There will be sweet birds calling when I come back again, Songs of deep joy awaking, after the storm and the rain; There will be sunlight gleaming, skies will be shinning and blue, When I am by your side, when I come back to you.


Postcards From France

A variety of post cards were sent from France and Belgium during the war. Some were depicting scenes of the war and destruction, while others depicted Allied Forces united in fighting the Germans. Others were general in nature trying to not focus on the day to day misery that the men and women endured.

Greetings from Afar
Best Wishes for a Happy Future
A Good Joke Behind the Lines
Scots Tried and True







Tommy finds shell holes comfortable to sleep in
France’s Principal Occupation of Belgium
Daily Mail War Pictures – R.A.M.C. Picking up wounded in a captured village








Photo No. 1 War in France
Photo No. 2 War in France
Photo No. 3 War in France


13th R.H.C. – Cooks- West Down South 1914

13th Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada), CEF

The battalion was formed from volunteers from the Royal Highland Regiment of Canada (The Black Watch), a militia regiment based in Montreal, as well as men from other militia regiments. Sent to England as part of the First Contingent in September, 1914, the 13th Battalion became part of the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Canadian Division. The 3rd Brigade had the distinction of containing the 13th Battalion (the Royal Highlanders of Canada), the 14th Battalion (the Royal Montreal Regiment), the 15th Battalion (he 48th Highlanders of Canada) and the 16th Battalion (The Canadian Scottish). (Wikepedia)


Photo No. 4- War in France
Photo No. 5 – War in France
Photo No 6 – War in France
Photo No. 7 – War in France
Three Loyal Scots
British Tank in Action
Crossing a canal
Allies No.1
Allies No.2
Allies No. 3
Allies No. 4
















To my dear sister
A Kiss from Belgium
Greetings From France

Loved Ones Left Behind

It was very common to have photos of loved ones made into postcards and mailed to those serving overseas. Other cards were sent to boost the spirits of the men. Here are some examples of such cards. carried by the men in France to remind them of home.

A series of two cards, they could be general greeting cards or someone’s girl left behind.
The second in the series












Loved Ones No. 1
Loved Ones No, 2
Loved Ones No. 3
Loved Ones No 4
Loved Ones No.5
Loved ones No. 6
Loved Ones No 7
Loved Ones No. 8
Loved Ones No.9