With All My Love - Souvenirs from France 1914-18

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Silk postcard 'Yours Always'.
Silk postcard 'Yours Always'.

Soldiers in distant lands wanted to send a message to their loved ones. Souvenirs from France, beautifully handcrafted during the 1914-18 war years, have been donated to the Hills District Historical Society and are on display in the ANZAC cabinet in the Hills District Historical Society Museum, cnr Showground & Windsor Roads, Castle Hill. OPEN second Saturday of month 10am to 4pm.

There are two different classes of souvenirs returned to Australia from war zones. One is fine hand-stitched messages in silk in the form of postcard like images. The second are ornaments created by the men themselves out of the implements of war such as brass ammunition cases and projectiles. The men made use of the collective skills of their fellow soldiers with one man showing engraving aptitude and another moulding metal into different forms. It has been said that soldiers endure not only intense danger when engaged in battle but also long hours and days of boredom. It is during these boredom periods that the ingenuity of the soldier is revealed in the variety and artistic skills of their war souvenirs.

Trevor Patrick is a local historian of the north-west of Sydney, Australia. His latest book, In Search of the Pennant Hills, recounts some of these stories (and others) in more detail.