1916 Overseas Club Certificate

Last year we looked at a certificate presented to children who raised money for soldiers and sailors in 1915 here. The club continued throughout the war and each year a new and beautifully illustrated certificate was issued to children who raised money for gifts for servicemen. Today’s example dates to 1916 and is different to the certificate issued in 1916, but just as beautifully illustrated:

One particularly clever element of this year’s certificate is the spelling out of the words ‘A Happy Xmas’ in semaphore by scouts and girl guides at the top.

Although this certificate doesn’t say it, a previous certificate set out the aims of the Overseas Club:

The underlying motive of the “Overseas Club” is to promote the unity of British subjects the world over. Its chief objectives are:
(1) To help one another
(2) To render individual service to our Empire
(3) To draw together in the bond of comradeship British people
(4) To maintain our Empire’s supremacy upon the seas.

Sir Edward Ward, Director General of Voluntary Organisations, wrote in 1917:

Foremost amongst the institutions which offered assistance was the Overseas Club. The help accorded by this powerful organisation has proved invaluable to my department. Of all the comforts and luxuries which you can offer to a soldier in health or in sickness, the proverbial pipe of tobacco or a cigarette takes its place among the most acceptable. The Overseas Club was foremost in anticipating this want, and through it vast quantities of tobacco and cigarettes have been sent to the troops who are gathered together from all parts of the world, united as one band fighting for the common cause, determined to uphold the honour and prestige of the British Empire against all attacks.

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