Song Cards and Postcards

First World War Song Cards and Postcards

The song card was a unique war-time greeting sent between loved ones at home to ‘their boys’ fighting abroad.  These sentimental greeting cards were published in huge quantities between 1914-1918, mainly by companies operating in Britain and France.  Song cards were produced in a set of 3 or sometimes more, featuring the verse of a well-known song or hymn.  A photographic image, usually of a loving couple or mother and her child, would illustrate the message that the recipient was forever in their thoughts.

Many publishers printed these wonderful postcards at the time but four stand out as the main suppliers; Bamforth, Tuck, Valentines and Rotary.

During the Great War, when the only means of communicating news to the masses was by newspapers and weekly illustrated magazines, the ‘war’ or ‘military’ picture postcard with its often colourful image and printed message or caption, was a welcome means of personal communication for many people.

Real photographs were often used in these kinds of postcards to show one another what was happening in the war at the time. Picture postcards were the perfect medium to provide a link between the men on active service and their families and friends at home.


Silk Embroidered Postcards were another form of card sent during the Great War, they originally appeared in the Paris Exhibition in 1900 but reached the height of popularity at the time of the First World War. Images found on the cards include; forget-me-not and pansy flowers, bluebirds, patriotic messages and symbols such as the flags of the allies, regimental crests and badges;  a ‘silk pocket’ effect can also feature, into which a tiny pre-printed card can be found. These beautiful greetings would have been sent home giving no indication of what the soldiers were experiencing, sparing mothers and wives from the true horrors of war.

An image of a silk postcard embroidered with flags    An image of a silk postcard embroidered with a butterfly, with a secret pocket

A silk embroidered post card with flags          A silk embroidered postcard with a butterfly and a secret pocket
Cc Imperial war museum                                   Cc Imperial War Museum

Throughout the war, postcard publishers, printers, photographers and artists helped to boost the morale of the people both at home and the troops on the war fronts.