Picture Postcards from the Great War

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Is it to be goodbye, old pal ww1 postcard
The song It's a long, long way to Tipperary
ww1 novelty type postcard
Sets and series of ww1 postcards
RAMC postcard
ww1 postcard Scottish Pipers
British prisoner of war postcard
ww1 Poetry postcard
ww1 postcard Illustration by Bert Thomas
six real photo ww1 poistcards

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First World War Postcards

Most of the cards on this page are there to represent a subject or theme from the Great War. Simply click on the link below the card and you will be taken to a page on that subject.

Direct links 

The story behind a number of Great War postcards

The story behind a set/group of ww1 postcards

ww1 real photographic postcards

ww1 publications as eBooks

This link will take you to a page that describes and illustrates WW1 postal history.

This link will take you to a page of eBooks relating to prisoners of war and the camps they were in.

Please Note: One or two pages contain a large number of images and may take a few moments to load - please be patient.

Please advise of any broken links.

Picture Postcards from ww1

We will remember them ww1 postcard
This card was number 525  in Valentine's "Helpful Thoughts" Series. On the reverse a handwritten message reads, "Dear Mr & Mrs Roberts, May you be given strength to pass through the great sorrow that has fallen upon you, earth is poorer & heaven the richer with the passing of such heroes. Mrs Fox & Dorothy."
"Highland Cathedral" written by German musicians Ulrich Roever (R.I.P.) and Michael Korb in 1992 for a Highland games in Germany. This performance of the popular tune took place in 2008 at the AWD Dome, Bremen, Germany. Picture postcards and more videos featuring Scottish pipers and drummers can be found here.

During the Great War, when the only means of communicating news to the masses was by newspapers and weekly illustrated magazines, the ‘war’ or 'military' picture postcard with its often colourful image and printed message or caption, was a welcome means of personal communication for many people.

In Britain, cards that showed the effect the war was having on the home front were frequently on sale in the shops - within days of an ‘incident’ happening.

Before the outbreak of the First World War, the trade in picture postcards was firmly established with numerous categories and themes available. People purchased them, not just to convey messages to friends and relatives but also to collect and save the cards in special albums.

When war erupted in August 1914, picture postcards were already the perfect medium to provide a link between the men on active service and their families and friends at home.

Throughout the war, postcard publishers, printers, photographers and artists helped to boost the morale of the people both at home and the soldiers, sailors and airmen on the war fronts.

ww1 The East Surrey Regiment postcard
Many picture postcards from World War1 were released as single cards and some had a fascinating story to tell.

Click the above link to view some of these cards.
Huge numbers of cards contributed to a photographic record of the conflict and many more colourful ones - which were artist’s images and impressions of battle scenes and incidents - reflected the government and public attitude to the war at that time. Other cards expressed the thoughts and fears, sentiments and emotions of the millions of people who bought and received them.

The newsagents W.H. Smith displayed numerous categories of war related cards in the postcard racks of its 2,000 shops. In addition, booksellers, cinemas, corner shops, stationary stores, newspapers, public houses, haberdashery stores, post offices and branches of Boots the Chemist and numerous other commercial outlets sold war related cards to the public.

By 1915, ‘war cards’ were also been displayed and offered for sale in the thousands of YMCA canteens and rest huts in military training camps at home and on the Western Front and elsewhere.

This real photographic postcard of the interior of a YMCA recreation hut was taken by the photographer 'Duncan' of 15 Anlaby Road, Hull. The card is full of interesting detail. For instance, on the back wall of the hut behind the counter, is a poster inviting soldiers to join the YMCA's Snapshot League. A variety of picture postcards are clipped to a length of string suspended above the counter and stacks of many more appear on the left side of the back counter. Several of the men seated at  writing tables - are enjoying a drink of lemonade from 'glass-marble' bottles YMCA Postcards from the First World War
Many of the postcard images from the 1914-1918 War are not found anywhere else except as picture postcards and are immensely informative and could even be considered as important historical documents.

During the first weeks of the Great War a number of wounded Belgian soldiers were evacuated to military and Red Cross hospitals in the UK.   M. Emile Collette was one of those who learned that his soldier son was missing in Belgium and was perhaps now in England. So he set out to find him.

By November 1914, M. Collette had arrived in England and set up his base in the Salisbury Hotel in London. He had a number of special  postcards printed and in a desperate bid sent them to hospitals in southern England requesting any news of his son.

Missing soldier son
ww1 hospital cachet
On 6th November 1914, this postcard was sent from London to the Royal Naval Hospital in Plymouth. On 8th November the card was stamped with the cachet of the ”SURGEON GENERAL R.N./R.N. HOSPITAL PLYMOUTH” and there was also an annotation “for enquires please.”  Did Emile Collette ever find his son?
Almost every conceivable subject about the Great War 1914-1918, can be found on contemporary picture postcards and at present (2014) they are generally an under-valued source of illustrative material from the conflict. At present WW1 cards are still reasonably priced starting at say, 50p for one showing battlefield destruction in France or Flanders to say, around £20 for a real photographic card depicting a British hospital ship.

However, an average price would be £3-£5 for the majority of ww1 postcards. As an example, this would be the price range for most of the 176 cards in The Daily Mail War Postcards series -  which are extremely popular, well worth collecting and still available in reasonable numbers.

The field is vast.
daily mail war cards ebook

This eBook, The Daily Mail Official War Postcards is an informative 80-page illustrated book which looks at this extraordinary series of 176 ww1 picture postcards. There are many illustrations.

Included in the download are three FREE Books relating to the 'Battle of the Somme'.

ww1 ymca ebook
This 73-page eBook, Y.M.C.A. Postcards from the First World War describes the foundation and the later activities of the Y.M.C.A. during the 1914-1918 conflict. There are many illustrations.

Included in the download are three FREE books relating to the association, its work and its leaders.


Edith cavell postcard
Bruce Bairnsfather postcard
lampooning Kaiser Bill postcard
ww1 comic card
ww1 lice infestation postcard
ww1 christmas greetings postcards
ww1 patriotic card
St Dunstan's postcard
ww1 xmas greetings postcard
Douglas Haig postcard
ww1 ambulance train card
ww1 fund postcard
East Yorkshire Regiment card
louis raemaekers postcard
Here is a sample from a collection of digital copies of ww1 booklets, pamphlets, brochures, leaflets and manuals, that can be downloaded from this site - at low cost (some for just pennies). One or two are quite rare and all are interesting and informative and could contain just the information you are seeking.

Selection of ww1 ebooks for sale
Lord Roberts stamp album
daily mail ww1 postcard
ww1 consientious objector postcard
ww1 comic postcard
defenders of the empire postcard
ww1 ymca postcard


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