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Xmas Boxes for Troops

Discussion in 'Military History' started by GRW, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    "For more than a century, British troops have been receiving gift boxes at Christmas to bring them a taste of home comforts. The BBC's defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt looks at the history of such gifts, and the impact they still have for modern soldiers.
    The cigarette papers are now as fragile as the wings of a moth, but the cigarettes inside the Christmas boxes sent to British forces serving on the western front in 1914 are still remarkably intact.
    They have been preserved in their embossed brass tin for almost a century.
    BBC's Caroline Wyatt has been to find out how the contents of the boxes has changed over the years.
    You can only imagine the journey these boxes made, across the Channel and on to the men fighting day and night in their cold and muddy trenches, far away from their families that Christmas, in the "war to end all wars".
    The public subscription in the UK to raise the money to send the boxes only began in November 1914, when 17-year old Princess Mary decided she wanted to send a personal gift and card to all the British troops serving on the front lines.
    Her funds, as it turned out, did not quite stretch to half a million or so boxes, but the British public was keen to contribute.
    Not all the boxes were delivered on time that Christmas, but when the fund eventually closed in 1920, it had raised the remarkable sum of £160,000, with the surplus going to the Princess's charity for the families of servicemen."
    BBC News - Troop Christmas boxes bring taste of home to forces overseas
     

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