Princess Mary Christmas Gift Fund Box
This object tells us about daily life for a soldier in World War One. In October of 1914, Princess Mary set up a fund to raise money for Christmas gifts for the troops, sent in a tin. Most tins were intended for smokers and contained cigarettes, tobacco and a lighter.
Non-smokers could receive writing paper and a pencil. Princess Mary’s image appears on the front surrounded by a wreath (a Christian symbol associated with Christmas). Over two and a half million were produced in total though some were not delivered until as late as 1920.
Smoking was a common habit at this time and many men would have carried smoking paraphernalia. Troops were issued with rations of two ounces of tobacco per day. Because of the highly addictive nature of smoking, this was often insufficient for many people so cigarettes were regularly swapped for other items as a form of ‘trench currency’.
Memorialising… Life in the trenches of WWI