1919 Victory Diary

The Union Jack club is an institution in the centre of London offering food, recreation and accommodation for enlisted men and women of the armed forces, both serving and retired. It has been in existence since 1907 and in 1918 it published a combined diary and almanac for 1919 celebrating the end of the Great War. The book is a pocket sized publication and features the Union jack on the front and the words ‘Victory Edition’:

The frontispiece has a fine etching of a knight on horseback and the original owner of the diary, a Petty Officer James Cunningham, has written his name here:

We can see that PO Cunningham was serving aboard HM Torpedo Boat 21 based in Portsmouth. Inside the book there are details of some of the facilities on offer to visitors to the Union Jack Club:

Pictures of some of the senior officers from the Great War:

And some useful information for servicemen. This section allows annual or monthly wages to be calculated and offers a gazetteer of places a visitor to London might wish to visit and how to get there from the club:

This little volume would have been sold for a few pennies in the club and was a cheap and useful little souvenir of a visit to the capital, as well as acting as a handy guide during the stay. Today it makes an interesting historical document that helps build up a picture of what life was like for servicemen on leave in London immediately after the First World War.

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