My interest in these skillfully handcrafted postcards came about by sheer accident. My father, Charles Hawkins, served overseas with the Winnipeg Grenadiers as a private from 1914 to 1918 and mailed the cards back home to his former landlady and her daughter in Winnipeg. He eventually married the daughter and years later the cards were handed down to me. By way of inheritance, I became a deltiologist (postcard collector) and have 32 of these handcrafted postcards in my safekeeping.
It appears no two cards were alike. The meticulous hand-stitched designs featured flags, butterflies, bouquets or peacocks. Variety of colour appeared to be the main theme, as opposed to accuracy in colour scheme. Butterflies often had the Union Jack emblazoned on their wings and poppies featured the flags of many countries in their petals.
Most of the cards included embroidered messages, some patriotic such as “Maple Leaf Forever” or “United for Liberty.” Others tended to be more sentimental, perhaps expressing thoughts the young soldier was too shy to express. Phrases like “A Kiss from France” or “For You Darling” were quite common.