Military Christmas Cards

As we get closer to Christmas 2016 thought I would show some of the military related Christmas cards I have collected over the years. Have a small collection of around 38 cards from all different time periods, the only thing they have in common is they are all New Zealand Military.

Here is a small selection.

Starting with this oneww1-christmas-cardThis is a World War 1 period card. Harere mai is Maori for “welcome, come here”. The imagery on the front with the NZ flag and silver ferns is nice but not too sure how settling the imagery of being hit with a piece of “good luck shrapnel” would be to the serviceman who received this card.  The initials at the bottom of the card, R.J.P., probably refer to Robert J. Pope who was a poet, sportsman, musician and educator who wrote a large number of poems between 1910 to 1945.   The back of the card shows this was published by Frank Duncan, city chambers, Auckland.ww1-christmas-card-bckThe card above, I believe, was sent to a serviceman, most of the cards in my collection were sent by servicemen, so that makes this one a little more special.

Here is another WW1 period card this time sent by an New Zealand Engineer in France in central image is of the NZ Engineers cap badge. On the base scroll is listed the three areas the 1st NZ Expeditionary Force had been from 1914 to 1917. The ribbon is a neat little item and is a miniature version of the hat puggaree worn on the lemon Squeezer hat ( see the WW2 engineers squeezer here Anzac day 2016 ).christmas-engineers-2At the bottom of this card Les has written “Que Dieu vous benisse” this is French for “God bless you”.

In 1940 NZEF Headquarters engaged itself to produce a Christmas card to be distributed to units at cost (which was exceptionally low in Egypt) and sold by them at a slightly higher rate, the profit going to regimental funds. Each year until 1944 they repeated the performance, there were problems though. Each year there was dissension about the design, although it had been drawn by the Official Artist. Each year at the last moment some units decided to have a card of their own. Each year it took well into the next year to get payment for the cards. The end came in 1944, when for the first time the card printed in Italy by the British Stationery Service. It arrived so late that it had to be given away for free to units in the hope that there would be some that would have time to use it.

In his autobiographical book on his war art McIntyre shows an early sketch for the 1941 Divisional Christmas card.

Amongst my bits and pieces I have picked up over there years is this photo…


I am not sure if McIntyre based his sketch on this photo or if some joker kiwi tried his best to copy the cards pose either way here is the end product, that first artwork on this particular card was by the official war artist of the 2nd NZEF, Peter McIntyre. This card was one of his first commissions while he was still a Gunner before he became the official war example of a unit designed cardchristmas-27-bat The unit in question is the 27th Machine Gun Battalion. To have a look at a Battle Dress blouse worn by a Sargent of the 27th MG Bn follow this link 27th Machine Gun Battalion uniform

Inside of the is one of my favorite cards, this one from the 6th Field Company, NZ Engineers. christmas-engineers-ww2

Nice artwork on the insidechristmas-engineers-ww2-2But what I particularly like is that all the servicemen of the 3rd section are listed on the back of the cardchristmas-engineers-ww2-3Unfortunately not all the names listed on the back of this card made it home to New Zealand.

As well as the kiwis in the Middle East we cant forget those who served in the Pacific theater. Here is a un-used Christmas card from 1943-44 depicting a NZ soldier in typical dress as worn in the the back you can see that this card was issued by the National Patriotic Fund majority of my cards are Army but of course there were two other services so here are examples from…. the Navychristmas-navyAnd the Air Force

Some examples of my post World War Two cardschristmas-modern-east-timorThe New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) supported various stability and security operations in Timor-Leste from 1999 until December 2012. The main tasks of the NZDF contribution were to facilitate the return of thousands of displaced Timorese from West Timor, provide border security in the New Zealand sector, helicopter support to the force, staff officers to two United Nations Headquarters and training support to the East Timor Defence Force.

This card was one of the last physical cards issued by the NZDF, it now sends E-Cards.

Amongst one of the cards I have collected was this message that was given to members of the NZ Petrol Company on Christmas 1943.

christmas-h-van-dykeThe words of the American author, educator and clergyman Henry van Dykes ‘Keeping Christmas’ still resonate today as they did in 1943.

Merry Christmas to everyone and I hope 2017 brings you all happiness and prosperity.








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