The Daily Postcard No. 11

Two cards today, both of which were bought, along with a couple of others, in the early 1980s for a few francs from a seller outside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, so I suppose these are what, decades later when Ebay reared its ugly head, turned me into a Great War postcard collector, of sorts, for my sins.

I do not collect them for any other reason than the direct link they provide with the professed war to end all wars.  I have no interest in what is rare, what is expensive, or anything else other than the insight which the images and text (when I can read it) give us into the minds and lives of the writers and recipients, and by extension into society across Britain & continental Europe at the time.  Many of these cards were penned by men with grubby hands who knew not what the future held for them, nor how long that future might last, and if the cards reached their destination, which nearly all did, they were then held by mothers and wives, girlfriends and fiancées, fathers and brothers, sons and daughters, treasured, most of them, the joy of communication tempered by the pain of separation.  I imagine a few might have been met with emotions other than those the writer anticipated, as little war-induced family tragedies were acted out on the Home Front.  I imagine some spent time on mantlepieces; I imagine one or two were removed, suddenly, from those same mantlepieces one day, perhaps not seeing the light of day again for a generation.  I imagine a few were held by the same hands who wrote them, later, much later, in a time of peace, and perhaps stories were told of the circumstances of their writing.  Postcards, above all other Great War ephemera, are a veritable feast for the imagination.

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11 Responses to The Daily Postcard No. 11

  1. Sid from Down Under says:

    The top postcard is very solemn and as you rightly say, ephemera of the day. It also underlines the importance of your posts for future researchers.

    You raise yet more imagination and another intriguing question MF – after these postcards with lets say poignant written messages lay in drawers or wherever for whatever length of time how and why did they find their way into sellers hands rather than just being thrown in the rubbish bin?

    Your link to the tragedy of HMAT Boonah is psychic – our today’s Sunday newspaper has a long article on the Boonah – centering on a message for today about how following draconian isolation regulations can limit the spread of the current frightening disease.

    • Magicfingers says:

      I am usually very careful to keep my psychic abilities quiet, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. Send the paper a link!!
      Your question is a good one. I always assume that house clearouts must account for a lot, and I presume an awful lot DID get thrown out, but I really don’t know.

  2. Morag Sutherland says:

    what a wonderful post and amazing photographs- thanks to all involved
    Blessings on a very different Palm Sunday. I once spent Easter Sunday in Talbot House as a warden -the only reason I mention is that the inscription featured in this post
    loved in life
    honoured in death
    cherished in memory
    is on a grave marker in Ljissenthoek cemetery……..and so my thoughts turned to Flanders

  3. Daisy in Indonesia says:

    Bonjour Monsieur Doigts Magiques,

    La Ferme Pierquin, ‘Pierquin Farm’, was on the outskirts Rheims, between Betheny and La Neuvillette but is likely now part of expanded Reims. Today there is a Rue de la Ferme Pierquin fronting the local McDonalds franchise!

    Rheims was briefly occupied by the Germans in September 1914 but they were quickly pushed out by the French Army. I figure the burials shown at La Ferme Pierquin in October 1914 were a result of enemy artillery… the city was relentlessly shelled by the Germans until September 1918 when French and American troops disengaged the city from the German guns. Rheims was in ruins including the magnificent Notre-Dame de Rheims cathedral.

    I found an amazing study by the Project Gutenberg eBook of the Battles for Rheims from 1914 – 1918 using the Illustrated Michelin Guides to the Battlefields. The link is;

    Incredible photos and detailed history of the battles with mention of violent fighting at La Farm Pierquin. A tour with the Michelin Guides in 1919 would have been an eye-opening experience. I presume there are Michelin Guides to the Battlefields for just about every battle?

    Aimez votre travail,
    Daisy, Isolating in Bali…

    • Magicfingers says:

      You’re a star mate! Although I cannot believe I never looked up Pierquin Farm before!!!! Doh! The Gutenberg stuff is excellent, too. Too late – past 3 – to add more, but check out tomorrow’s card. Your fault this time.

  4. Daisy in Indonesia says:

    Hi Sid from Down Under,

    Psychic about HMAT Boonah? How about this communication below, sent yesterday, to the Secretary of the MHSA and the historian at the Collingwood FC. There is a book written about Walter Young, an Australians experience on a Spanish Flu hell ship in 1918.

    To Collingwood FC; I belong to the Military Historical Society of Australia and during this COVID-19 situation they have been sending items to members to read. One story details Walter Young’s journey to England and mirrors Sam Campbell’s journey. Walter made it back to Australia, however, as you know, Sam lies lonely in Sierra Leone. Walter‘s tale sheds some light on what Sam must have been through. It’s interesting reading…

    To Secreatry MHSA; In May 2015 I travelled to Turkey, France and Belgium and part of this trip was to visit the graves and memorials to the 8 Collingwood Football Club footballers killed in the World War One. Collingwood FC has its own historian and the basic information on each player is pretty decent including the 8 WW1 casualties. I figured nobody had ever been at their graves…

    One is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli for his body was not found after landing on 25 April 1915. He was last seen sprinting away from Plugge’s Plateau. There are 4 buried in France, one in Belgium and one in Coburg in Melbourne after dying very shortly after arriving back home.

    The final footballer soldier, Sam Campbell, was on board the Barambah and died on 21 October in Sierra Leone of the Spanish flu and pneumonia and is buried in King Tom Military Cemetery.

    The Boonah, the Bakara and the Baramba, terribly sad story Sid…


  5. Margaret Draycott says:

    I’ve just re read the Perth war cemetery post thanks to Sid, then read this post, had the same thoughts as Sid as I was reading this, how did these postcards end up for sale somewhere and not in the bin and I still can’t quite understand how you would want to send something like that to your family, cheer them up why don’t you but I’m sure M will have an answer. It’s late andI shall read about HMAT Boonat in the morning. Glad you chose to collect them M.

  6. Sid from Down Under says:

    Hi Daisy isolating in Western Australia’s favourite playground Bali (and my goodness, don’t too many turn into Bogans when there but then again they must be T’othersiders). Apologies for the jargon everybody – those in the know will understand

    Back in the 1960s I used to haunt Collingwood Football Club with a mate and the Collingwood Doctor. Hmmmm – memories. And my daughter and family are Magpie supporters! Not a good thing when living in WA. But my Busselton hometown WA footy club was nicknamed the Magpies (black and white colours). Wish I could send a photo of my 1950s little “Brighteyes ” – in Swan Districts colours also B&W

    Now to serious matters – your CFC references are very interesting thanks – and yes, Boonah, Bakara and Baramba very sad. Thank goodness my father dodged the Spanish Flu especially when recovering in Bristol Army Hospital from severe war wounds.

    You mention Lone Pine – my wife and I recently paid respects to the Augusta War Memorial in SW WA. In the park is a pine tree grown from a genuine Lone Pine seed. I couldn’t help myself – I now have a fallen cone pine as a souvenir.

    I agree with Margaret – glad M collected the post cards – VERY interesting
    And glad you’ve read M’s Boonah post in “Perth War Cemetery”

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