Now that the joys of Christmas are behind us for another year, here is an item to prompt more sober reflection on the season of goodwill. This 1914 postcard was found in the Fry family archives from Derwen. Many of us are familiar with the story of the First World War soldiers in the Trenches who declared their own Christmas truce and played football for one day before going back to the business of killing each other on Boxing Day. Fewer of us have heard of the Artists Rifles, a volunteer regiment formed in the late 19th century of professional artists – painters, actors, musicians, architects – who served with distinction in World War One and other conflicts.
I had never heard of the Artists Rifles before I found this postcard, and I don’t know what the connection was with the Frys, but the postcard is addressed to “The Misses Fry” (although the address is obscured as it appears to have been redirected and later stuck in a scrapbook):
The Misses Fry would be Auntie’s cousins, her close friend Elsie and her 3 sisters. There is no personal message, so it is likely that the Frys were supporters of the Rifles and this is an official Christmas card sent to the regiments’ benefactors. It is quite an interesting historical document in itself; Twitter users can read more about the Artists Rifles, including more images of their artwork, by following MarsMinerva.
There are many more objects relating to the First World War in the archives, which will be featured in the Usmeum in due course.