The YMCA supported British and Allied troops in both World Wars, running canteens and hostels, offering reading rooms and leisure space to soldiers and providing stationery to men to enable them to write home. We have previously looked at a piece of YMCA notepaper here and tonight we have an Active Service postcard that would have been. Given out to soldiers in the field to write home with:It is hard to date this item as there is no indication as to whether it is First or Second World War, however the design of the YMCA logo is very simple:This suggests to me that this postcard is later rather than earlier as many of the First World War designs are far more elaborate than this. The patron of the Military Camp Department is listed as the Duke of Connaught:Again this is not very helpful at dating the card as the Duke remained heavily involved with the YMCA from the early years of the twentieth century until his death in 1942.
The postcard itself has space for the sender to indicate who he is sending it to, along with his own number, regiment and where he was stationed:The message was then written on the rear and could be quickly posted off back to friends and family.
Irene Stuart worked in the YMCA in Aberdeen during the war and remembers:
When I’d finished my schooling at seventeen and half, I went to work in the YMCA Office. We had to see to all the services when they came to use the facilities such as showers, writing paper for their letters home, and I got the job of sewing on stripes etc. when they got promoted while away from home.
I was sometimes required to make up sandwiches when the sailors at navigation college had to go away on day exercise. In the evenings I served in the canteen.
I thoroughly enjoyed it all and met so many people.