World War I Colour Printed Souvenir Card (Australian Comforts Fund, Xmas & New Year 1918-19)

Production date
Dec 1918-Jan 1919
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Object Detail

A rectangular card featuring four paintings of World War I scenes. The cover painting is of Australian troops advancing alongside a tank with two aeroplanes in the air. The first painting after opening the card is of Australian soldiers standing alongside a captured German AV7 tank along with a description. Alongside the tank painting is a battlefield scene from the Capture of Hamel Village in July 1918. On the back of the card is a painting of a rail gun.
CH classification DOCUMENTS Cards souvenir
CH classification MILITARY Army battlefield souvenirs
Production place
H120 x W330mm (card open)
Media/Materials description
AUSTRALIANS ADVANCING FROM VILLERS-BRETTONNEUX, AUGUST 8th 1918. \ From Original specially painted for the Australian Comforts Fund. \ By Captain Will Longstaff. A. I. F. War Artist.
VILLERS-BRETONNEUX. - The Start of the Great Attack 8. 8. '18. \ On the night of 24th April, 1918, the Australians made a daring and clever counter attack in the \ darkness, recaptured Villers-Bretonneux, stopped the German advance and saved Amiens. This, and \ the Battle of Hamel, were only a prelude to the smashing advance which commenced on 8th August. \ Extract from Australian Corpos Order, issued on 7th August :- \ "For the first time in the history of this Corps all five Australian Divisions will to-morrow engage in the largest \ and most important battle operation ever undertaken by the Corps." \ 85,000 Australians were engaged (with Canadians on their right and British Divisions on their left), \ supported by powerful afrtillery, tanks and aeroplanes. In this battle 7,000 prisoners, 150 guns with an immense number of Machine Guns and war material were captured. On August 31st and September \ 1st and 2nd Mon St. Quentin and Peronne fell to the Australians in three days, defeating the flower of the Prussian Guard. \ In the centre of the picture a dead German is seen behind a captured gun. During the months \ following many important pitched battles were fought and won, over 20,000 prisoners taken, and over \ 250 guns, heaps of munitions, machine guns and stores, together with over 120 villages. \ (painting of tank) \ A GERMAN TANK \ Captured by the Australians near Villers-Bretonneux.
CAPTURE OF HAMEL VILLAGE, JULY 4th 1818, BY AUSTRALIANS ASSISTED BY A DETACHMENT OF AMERICANS. \ From Original painting specially executed for the Australian Comforts Fund \ by A.PEARSE. WAR ARTIST.
AUSTRALIAN COMFORTS FUND. \ XMAS & NEW YEAR'S GREETINGS, 1918-19. \ "THE GLORIOUS FOURTH." \ The Battle of Hamel on 4th July, 1918 was the first occasion on which Americans fought side \ by side with Australians or other British Troops. \ The picture shows Aeroplanes of the 3rd Squadron, A.F.C., dropping Ammunition to the assault- \ ing troops by parachute, (an Australian idea, put into practice for the first time). The village \ burning, on the left is Hamel, while the wood behind the barrage, in the centre background, is Accroche Wood. \ The tracks in the right foreground are made by the caterpillars of the Tanks, the white mound \ is part of an old trench which had just been cleared of the enemy. \ The Battle of Hamel paved the way for the great advance of 8th August, 1918, from Villers- \ Brettonneux. \ CAPTURED BY THE AUSTRALIANS \ A 14 C. M. German Naval Gun intact with its Train & Equipment. \ Greetings from (handwritten) Archie.
History and use
This colour Christmas greeting card from the Australian Comforts Fund, issued for Christmas 1918, depicts captured armaments from the battlefields of Europe including the Amiens Gun and the German tank ‘Mephisto’, and the capture of the village of Hamel. The front piece painting was attributed Will Longstaff, a member of the AIF who in 1918 was appointed as an official war artist in France.

The card was a form of fundraising for the Australian Comforts Fund (established in 1916), the money raised going to provide comforts, including comfort foods such as cakes, sugar and biscuits, together with tobacco, newspapers and socks, to the troops abroad. The Fund was largely administered and run by women across several Australian states. The Australian Comforts Fund disbanded in 1920 but restarted again during the Second World War.
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