Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A silk from France .......... postcards from the Western Front

Now I have no idea if the soldier who purchased this embroidered silk postcard was from Eltham.

A message from the 8th London Regiment, date unknown
But given that it carried the badge of the 8th London Regiment the chances are he was from somewhere in the city.

These types of postcards are a favourite of mine.

They were made in France and Belgium and came with all sorts of designs from ones which carried a sentimental message to those with the badge of a regiment.

Many will have been sent in a letter which helped preserve the delicate nature of the embroidery.

To my dear daughter, date unknown
And here I have to thank my old friend David Harrop who has a large collection of silk postcards including this one from the 8th London.

It has has a special connection  with David, because the 8th London were also known as the Post Office Rifles and he worked for the Post Office.

The Post Office Rifles had been formed in 1868 following a bomb attack on a London prison.

After the attack the Government had created a body of special constables to protect public buildings and from a group consisting of postal workers came the request to establish a Rifle Volunteer Unit.

Detail of the London silk, date unknown
The unit saw action in Egypt in 1882 and participated in the second South African War from 1899 through to 1902.

At the outbreak of the Great War the existing Post Office Rifles were redesignated as the 1/8th Battalion, London Regiment.  A second battalion was formed in September 1914 and a third in 1915.*

And it appears that the third battalion was billeted at Blackheath from October 1915 till they went to Fovant in January 1916. **

All of which makes for a possible connection between Eltham and David’s silk.

Location; London

Picture; embroidered silk postcard, date unknown, from the collection of David Harrop

*Post Office Rifles, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_Office_Rifles

**The London Regiment, The Long Trail, http://www.1914-1918.net/london.htm

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