Embroidered Ladies Regimental Handkerchief

Delicate ladies embroidered handkerchiefs and the military seem an odd combination, but souvenir items with military crests on them were popular gifts throughout both world wars. This light blue ladies handkerchief has an embroidered crest for the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment:image

The handkerchief is made of a baby blue rayon-type fabric with lace around the outside, folding it open it can be seen that the crest sits in one corner:imageThe crest itself is machine embroidered onto a separate piece of silk that has then been sewn onto the handkerchief with a fancy gold stitch:imageThis suggests the handkerchief is a commercial product rather than a home made handicraft, indeed this is borne out by the very high quality of the embroidery which would be beyond all but the most skilled amateur. It is most likely that the handkerchiefs were produced in bulk and then had different embroidered insignia applied to sell to different troops dependent on their regiments. These would then make attractive and feminine tokens to be given to female relations or sweethearts.

The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment was local to the Halifax and Huddersfield area so this handkerchief has not travelled far, as with so much in my collection I imagine this came from a local house clearance when its original owner had sadly died.

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