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First World War Greetings Cards

Love and patriotism 

These cards were sent to Jennie Compton from Frank Burbury (1895 – 1977) while he was serving in the British Army during the First World War. Frank was born in Rugby and started his working life at Rugby School and then worked for British Thomson-Houston. He signed up in September 1914 and served as a private in the Rifle Brigade.

Embroidered cards of this kind were a common gift for soldiers to send back to their loved ones. They have a fine mesh silk fabric fixed in a frame on which a motif has been hand embroidered with silk thread. Some also have a small silk pocket containing a smaller card with a printed message. With this in mind they would be considered a pricier gift for a soldier to send, so the recipient would be someone particularly special.

They are postcard sized and consist of a single piece of card with the template of a postcard printed on the reverse. Too fragile to send as a postcard it’s more likely they would have been posted in an envelope with an accompanying letter so the written words to go with these we do not know.

Some of these cards also have a patriotic feel featuring flags of the different nations involved in the war.

Frank was injured at the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 and was taken as a Prisoner of War in 1918.  

After the war he married Jennie in 1921.  They settled in the Rugby area and had three daughters.

These cards are featured in our exhibition Every Object Tells a Story opening on 12th February.

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