The Woolworths Museum


The Great War in Postcards

 

In the days before mobile phones, satellite communications, radio and television, picture postcards provided a good way of staying in touch. Some showed scenic views or local landmarks, while others were very topical and linked to the events of the day. Woolworth published and sold postcards before and during the First World War.

When the Great War broke out in 1914 a wave of patriotism swept the country. The High Street chain responded with a series of cards that introduced the key personalities, battleships and battlefields of the conflict. The cards give an intriguing insight into how the War was presented as it happened.

To view a postcard in higher resolution simply click its image. If you have a fast connection you can browse through the large versions of the cards by selecting the first one and then using the last/next links. You are welcome to download and reproduce these pictures, courtesy of The Woolworth Museum, if you do so in memory of those who lost their lives defending the cause of freedom.

 

Sir Edward Grey, the Foreign Secretary at the start of the Great War

Sir Edward Grey
Foreign Secretary

 

HMS Amphion, a British Battleship of the Great War

HMS Amphion
Active-class scout - 1st loss

 

HMS Birmingham, a Battleship of the First World War

HMS Birmingham
First World War Light Cruiser

 

Highlanders drawing water - a patriotic First World War postcard from F. W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd.

Highlanders drawing water
 

 

Another piece of German Treachery - a patriotic Great War postcard from Woolworths

A piece of German treachery

 

Night and Flame - a patriotic British Great War postcard from the shelves of F. W. Woolworth

'Night and Flame'
 

 

Britannia rules the waves - a patriotic British postcard from the First World War

Britannia rules the waves

Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty at the outset of World War I

Rt Hon Winston Churchill MP
First Lord of the Admiralty

 

Field Marshal Earl Kitchener, pictured in 1914 at the outset of the First World War

Earl Kitchener
Secretary of State for War

 

HMS Queen Mary - a Royal Naval Battle Cruiser in the Great War destroyed at the Battle of Jutland in 1916

HMS Queen Mary
Royal Naval Battle Cruiser

 

Uhlans Routed by French Dragoons in the First World War

Uhlans routed by French Dragoons
 

 

'Not Ashamed To Die' - a patriotic British postcard from World War One

'Not ashamed to die'

 

'Worth living for' - a patriotic postcard from the shelves of Woolworths in 1914

'Worth living for'
 

 

'Always merry and bright' - a patriotic postcard from Woolworths in the Great War

Always merry and bright

Field Marshall Earl Roberts pictured at the outbreak of the Great War

Earl Roberts
Field Marshall

 

Sir John Jellicoe, British Admiral in the Great War

Sir John (Earl) Jellicoe
Admiral later 1st Sea Lord

 

'Deck cleared for action' an unnamed Royal Naval Battleship in World War One

'Deck cleared for Action'
An unknown Naval Battleship in WWI

 

'Bravo Tommy' - a patriotic Great War postcard from Woolworths

'Bravo Tommy'
 

 

'The Last Gunner' - an evocative picture postcard of the Great War from the counters of Woolworths

The last gunner

 

The USA finally joins the Great War in 1917, with F. W. Woolworth Co. USA publishing this card of U.S.S. The Recruit  in Union Square, New York

USS The Recruit in
New York (1917)

 

The Lion roars 'D-d-did you s-s-say Berlin'?!! in this patriotic British postcard from World War I

D-d-did you s-s-say Berlin?

Sir John French, a Field Marshall in the First World War, and later Lord Lieutenant of Ireland after quelling the Easter Uprising

Sir John French
Field Marshall

 

HMS Iron Duke, a British Battleship from the First World War

HMS Iron Duke
Dreadnought Battleship

 

HMS Speedwell, a Battleship in the First World War

HMS Speedwell
First World War Minesweeper

 

The Second English Trench at Ypres in the First World War

2nd English Trench at Ypres
 

 

Flooded German trenches - a patriotic British postcard from the Great War

Flooded German Trenches

 

Patriotic Postcards 3 inch x 6 inch counter ticket from Woolworths during the First World War

1914 3 x 6 inch
counter ticket

 

The lion boasts 'NOW we're busy !!' in this patriotic postcard from the shelves of Woolworths during World War One

NOW we're busy !!