WW1 Patriotic and Jingoistic Postcards
Within days of the outbreak of the conflict, some publishers had realised the commercial potential of projecting stirring images of patriotism and rallying cries to the flag, on their picture postcards and soon had their artists at work.
Patriotic postcards were on sale within a week of the declaration of hostilities and well before the first British troops landed in France. Two early patriotic cards are illustrated below. Both postmarked 23rd September 1914, they superbly reflected the patriotic fervor being expressed in Britain in the late summer and autumn of 1914.
Promoting patriotism was one aspect of propaganda and bright and colourful postcards on this theme appeared in abundance. For instance, a set of three cards in the 'Bamforth's Song Card' series is a splendid example and the set is shown below.
This set of three Bamforth's song cards displayed a number of patriotic images. For example, a map shaded in red, depicted those country's that made up the British Empire. Each card had a different version of the image of Britannia. Symbols of strength were depicted - the British lion, the bulldog and the Royal Navy, There was an image of the Imperial Crown, The Union Flag and a flag carrying the symbols of Scotland, Wales and Ireland were displayed. There was a depiction of the vanquished enemy. And of course the stirring verses of "Land of hope and glory"
Numerous patriotic slogans and rallying cries appeared on postcards,
with calls asking "ARE WE DOWNHEARTED?" to which the reply was a resounding "NO!!!" This card was number 1247 in the 'H.B. Series'.and rather curiously depicts a group of young men waving an older generation off to war. The artist's initials appear on the card - but who was he?
During the first patriotic wave of 1914, cards appeared which displayed images of the national flag and it was portrayed in a number of imaginative ways. For instance, card number 702, published by 'E.J.H. & Co.' in their 'Ludgate Series', depicted a 'jack tar' standing in front of a huge Union Jack, and saying "When you're ready, Kaiser." The artist was T. GILSON.
A card by 'BROWN & CALDER' and illustrated by J.L. BIGGER, depicted a wounded Tommy amidst a scene of battlefield desolation. In one hand he held a pistol while in the other a large union jack. Below the picture was the legend "British to the backbone." Above, was a quote from Lord KITCHENER, which said "We are proud of you". Other slogans with appeared on patriotic cards were "For king and Country", "Rally round the flag boys","Do or die", and "United we stand for the dear homeland."
"UNITED WE STAND" Flags of the Allies and hands across the sea. A British soldier and sailor - back to back with a Union Flag between them - face the enemy with bayonets at the ready. A |British soldier and sailor clasp hands as warplanes and ships move around the coast of the British Isles.
The three patriotic cards shown above, made full use of the the Union Flag, as did the three featured below.
A number of patriotic cards on other pages on this site, called upon the British Empire to come and support the Mother Country. The cards displayed flags and symbols of Britain and her colonies. Here are a few more..
Some of the most popular images in this category of picture postcard, were those featuring an adult lion calling its cubs to respond to its call.
A patriotic card from 'Boots the Chemist'
"The Glory of a Lion is his Mane." The card on the left was published by 'Boots the Chemist'. The card on the right is a hand-drawn copy of the former. It was probably done by a child and sold for one penny, with the proceeds going to a good cause.
1914, not long after the outbreak of the Great War, the chain of Boots the
Chemist printed and published the fund-raising postcard. Captioned 'The Glory of a Lion is his Mane',
it was a clever drawing, which upon close inspection of the lions mane reveals
the names of Britain’s colonies who were flocking to her aid.
The card was described as "A TRIBUTE TO OUR COLONIES" and was published for the benefit of the Prince of Wales National Relief Fund. A statement on the back said it was; "a happy conception of Mr. William Armitage, the artist." The firm had been "favoured with an order from Her Majesty Queen Alexandra for two gross of these cards, and she has graciously expressed her wish that they may have a large sale." It seems Her Majesty's wish was probably granted, as the cards are quite easy to find today!
The example of the 'Boots' card was mailed from Cardiff on 6th October 1914, to an address in Ilfracombe. An inscription on the back of it said; "THE MANE IS NOT MERELY A GLORIOUS ORNAMENT BUT A REAL PROTECTION TO A LION." On 30th September 1914, family member Jessie Boot, was confident the card would be extremely popular with the public and said; "We are selling them at 10d. per dozen, and give half this amount, that is 5d. on each dozen, to the Fund. We hope to sell one million cards, in which case something like £1,750 will be contributed to the benefit of the Fund." The postcards were on sale at every branch of Boots and had already raised over £525.