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Princess Mary Christmas Box

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A Princess Mary Christmas Box in excellent, unpolished condition, retaining the original gilt-like finish. Within is to be found the 1914 colour-printed Christmas card from Princess Mary and a further Christmas card from Vickers for 1915.

It was Princess Mary's express wish that 'every sailor afloat and every soldier at the front' should have the present. The gifts were devised in October 1914 and intended for distribution to all who were serving overseas or at sea, in time for Christmas 1914; afterwards, with the fund in surplus and many feeling they had been ‘left out’, distribution was extended more widely – to all who were serving, whether at home or abroad, and to prisoners of war and the next of kin of 1914 casualties. 

The most famous Christmas act of the war was the truce of 1914. Unofficial ceasefires between British and German soldiers took place along parts of the front and in the trenches on Christmas morning carols were sung and rations thrown across the opposing lines. As well as exchanging gifts, both sides saw the lull in fighting as a chance to find the bodies of their comrades and give them a decent burial.

The Vickers machine-gun was one of the deadliest weapons of the Western Front and was famed for its reliability. In the right hands it could fire 600 rounds per minute over a range of up to 4,500 yards, assuming the necessary supply of belted ammunition, spare barrels and cooling water. When no water was available the soldiers would urinate in the water jacket to cool the gun!

5 in x 3.25 in x 1.25 in 

 

Item Code: 3664

£ 78

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