Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales:
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Efforts and Ideals Prints

Efforts and Ideals Prints

The 1917 print portfolio “The Great War: Britain’s Efforts and Ideals” contains 66 works and was commissioned by the Ministry of Information.

Divided into ‘Ideals’ and ‘Efforts’, these lithographs provide a broad and fascinating representation of Britain’s war objectives, military activities and effort on the Home Front. The works were produce to sell to raise funds as well as to show in exhibitions to encourage support for the war effort, particularly in America.

Some of the best-known British artists of the period contributed to the series including Augustus John, Frank Brangwyn, William Rothenstein and C.R.W Nevinson. This set was donated to Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales by the Ministry of Information in 1919.

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Embroidered postcard

Embroidered postcard

Embroidered postcard inscribed BEST OF LUCK ON YOUR BIRTHDAY. Sent by Clifford Morgan, a soldier from Cardiff, to his sister. Millions of embroidered postcards were produced in France during the First World War. They were hand-embroidered by French women, before being cut and mounted in factories.

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Forget Me Not postcard

Forget Me Not postcard

Sentimental images of separated lovers were often used on postcards during the First World War. This example shows a soldier embracing a woman. The verse on the front reads:

Forget you!
’Twere not possible,
If life should cease to be,
My spirit would still love you, dear,
As the sunlight loves the sea.

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Pincushion made by an unknown soldier

Pincushion made by an unknown soldier

This heart-shaped pincushion, decorated with pins and glass beads, was made by an unknown soldier during the First World War. It was sent in a box marked ‘With Love’ to Miss Ellen Burns of Manast Street, Rhymney. Pincushions such as this one are often called ‘sweetheart’ pincushions’. The Museum has several similar examples in the collection. They were probably made by convalescing soldiers as occupational therapy.

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Postcards

Postcards

During the First World War, postcards and greeting cards became key means of communication between serving soldiers and their families. The archive collection at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales includes a wide range of cards from the period. Some are unposted souvenirs; others are inscribed with poignant handwritten messages from the frontline. From mass-produced embroidered cards sent from France to photographic portraits of soldiers and sentimental illustrations of separated lovers, the collection offers an insight into the everyday experiences of the ordinary men and women whose lives were touched by war, both on the homefront in Wales and in the trenches.

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St Fagans Castle Red Cross VAD Hospital

St Fagans Castle Red Cross VAD Hospital

During the First World War, the owners of St Fagans Castle – Lord and Lady Plymouth – offered the Red Cross the use of a large banqueting hall in their grounds as a hospital for wounded soldiers. Established as a 40 bed hospital, it was staffed by professional and volunteer nurses, many of whom worked for the Plymouth family. Mary Ann Dodd, a housemaid at the Castle, recalled:

“The Commandant used to send us a card – a fortnight’s duty at a time. I used to cook and clean, and one day a week I did the washing. Those soldiers’ socks were in a state! Many had no heels in them at all. The soldiers only laughed and teased us, and when they got better they tried to help us.”

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First World War Collection Objects

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