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The Great War in Postcards

The Great War in Postcards, printed in England and published by F. W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd.


In the days before mobile phones, satellite communications, radio and television, picture postcards provided a good way of staying in touch. Some showed scenic views or local landmarks, while others were very topical and linked to the events of the day. Woolworth published and sold postcards before and during the First World War.

When the Great War broke out in 1914 a wave of patriotism swept the country. The High Street chain responded with a series of cards that introduced the key personalities, battleships and battlefields of the conflict. The cards give an intriguing insight into how the War was presented as it happened.

To view a postcard in higher resolution simply click its image. If you have a fast connection you can browse through the large versions of the cards by selecting the first one and then using the last/next links. You are welcome to download and reproduce these pictures, courtesy of The Woolworth Museum, if you do so in memory of those who lost their lives defending the cause of freedom.


Sir Edward Grey, the Foreign Secretary at the start of the Great War Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty at the outset of World War I Field Marshall Earl Roberts pictured at the outbreak of the Great War Sir John French, a Field Marshall in the First World War, and later Lord Lieutenant of Ireland after quelling the Easter Uprising Field Marshal Earl Kitchener, pictured in 1914 at the outset of the First World War
Sir Edward Grey
Foreign Secretary
Rt Hon Winston Churchill MP
First Lord of the Admiralty
Field Marshall
Sir John French
Field Marshall
Secretary of State for War
HMS Amphion, a British Battleship of the Great War HMS Speedwell, a Battleship in the First World War Sir John Jellicoe, British Admiral in the Great War HMS Iron Duke, a British Battleship from the First World War HMS Birmingham, a Battleship of the First World War
HMS Amphion
Active-class scout - 1st loss
HMS Speedwell
First World War Minesweeper
Sir John (Earl) Jellicoe
Admiral later 1st Sea Lord
HMS Iron Duke
Dreadnought Battleship
HMS Birmingham
First World War Light Cruiser
HMS Queen Mary - a Royal Naval Battle Cruiser in the Great War destroyed at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 Patriotic Postcards 3 inch x 6 inch counter ticket from Woolworths during the First World War 'Deck cleared for action' an unnamed Royal Naval Battleship in World War One
HMS Queen Mary
Royal Naval Battle Cruiser

'Deck cleared for Action'
An unknown Naval Battleship in WWI
The Second English Trench at Ypres in the First World War Uhlans Routed by French Dragoons in the First World War Another piece of German Treachery - a patriotic Great War postcard from Woolworths Highlanders drawing water - a patriotic First World War postcard from F. W. Woolworth & Co. Ltd. 'Bravo Tommy' - a patriotic Great War postcard from Woolworths
2nd English Trench at Ypres
Uhlans routed by French Dragoons
A piece of German Treachery
Highlanders drawing water
'Bravo Tommy'
'Not Ashamed To Die' - a patriotic British postcard from World War One 'The Last Gunner' - an evocative picture postcard of the Great War from the counters of Woolworths Flooded German trenches - a patriotic British postcard from the Great War Night and Flame - a patriotic British Great War postcard from the shelves of F. W. Woolworth 'Worth living for' - a patriotic postcard from the shelves of Woolworths in 1914
'Not ashamed to die'
'The last gunner'
Flooded German Trenches
'Night and Flame'
'Worth living for'

Britannia rules the waves - a patriotic British postcard from the First World War 'Always merry and bright' - a patriotic postcard from Woolworths in the Great War The USA finally joins the Great War in 1917, with F. W. Woolworth Co. USA publishing this card of U.S.S. The Recruit  in Union Square, New York The Lion roars 'D-d-did you s-s-say Berlin'?!! in this patriotic British postcard from World War I The lion boasts 'NOW we're busy !!' in this patriotic postcard from the shelves of Woolworths during World War One
Britannia rules the waves Always merry and bright USS The Recruit in NY in 1917 D-d-did you s-s-say Berlin? NOW we're busy !!

The F. W. Woolworth 'Diamond W' motif, designed by the Founder


Shortcuts to related content in the Woolworths Museum

1910s Gallery

USA The $65m US merger    Woolworth Building - the world's tallest    Great war impact in the US

People Working for Woolies in the 1910s    US recruits to the UK    Replacing Frank Woolworth    Great War Memorial

UK First six stores    First London openings    The 44 pre-war stores     Postcards of the Great War    Early impacts in Britain

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