Saturday, 20 November 2010
World War I - the power of postcards
A couple of the famous Bamforth WWI song series cards which sweethearts sent to the Trenches to uplift their loved ones with cheery thoughts of how they were dying for their country which was far superior to mere worldly love and asking them to wait for them 'on the other side' etc. If they wanted to be more explicit they could always use the language of stamp positions listed below, though the War Office soon put a stop to this insisting on direct franking of the cards for postage instead. Cards veered from the mawkish to the maudlin to the patriotic, sometimes quite grotesquely. These examples (spotted at a recent Antiques Fair) represent the entirety of my collection. My friend Lorna Pearson has hundreds, many showing the same players, even wearing the same clothes, only differently hand-tinted and/or coiffured to appear different. She suspects real soldiers were used and hired together with uniform for the day when on leave. Some sets are identical in all but blood - which is shown in the early version, but wiped off in the later version, doubtless under War Office edicts.
Stamp Positions & Meaning
Upside down, top left corner = I love you
Crosswise on top left corner = My heart is another's
Centre of envelope, at top = Yes
Center of envelope, at bottom = No
Straight up and down, any position = Goodbye sweetheart
Upside down, top right corner = Write no more
At right angle, top right corner = Do you love me?
At right angle, top left corner = I hate you
Upright top right corner = I desire your friendship
Upright in line with surname = Accept my love
Upside down in line with surname = I am engaged
At right angle in line with the surname = I long to see you
Centred on right edge = Write immediately!