World War One Souvenirs

Today we are going to look at some souvenirs from the First World War that I have picked up over the years. The British seem to have always loved their souvenirs and examples have been made for all major events in the national arena. Though it seems odd to modern sensibilities, it was very common at the period to make souvenirs for whichever conflict Britain happened to find herself in. Following the experience of the Boer War manufacturers were keen to satiate public desire and quickly brought out commemorative china. As the conflict progressed the latest weapons of war became popular choices for souvenir manufacturers.

Commemorative Saucer

Dating from the start of the war, this wonderful saucer (sadly the cup is long gone) has a late Victorian battleship at the top and the flags of the allied nations at the bottom with the wonderfully bellicose motto ‘Might in the Right Cause Shall Prevail’.


It is interesting that the battleship is hopelessly outdated for the Great War and one wonders if this was a design created for the Boer War 13 years earlier that the manufacturers merely dusted off and updated to quickly get their products out to a clamouring public!

China Tank

Of all the inventions to come out of the First World War, perhaps the one the public latched onto most strongly was the rhomboid shaped tank which seemed to fire their imagination in a way no other machine did. The tank was a reassuringly British invention and offered a modern alternative on the battlefield to the miserable attrition of trench warfare. It is perhaps therefore no surprise that millions of different tank related trinkets were offered for sale to an eager market.

This tank is from the huge field of Goss china- white china in a myriad of shapes with the coats of arms of different towns and villages emblazoned upon them. Here a mk1 tank is emblazoned with the coat of arms for Bridgnorth:


Sadly this example has lost the wheeled steering tail it once had, but it’s still an attractive and iconic piece that has happily sat on the mantlepiece for the last few years as it was sold to do so many years ago.

Hand Grenade money box

This final piece is a bit different as it was designed as an actual weapon of war that has been converted into an attractive souvenir. It is a bog standard WW1 No5 hand grenade that has been chromed, had a stopper fitted and a slot cut to turn it into a money box:


These money boxes are very desirable things and not that common so be prepared to pay a premium if you want to add one to your collection.

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