The home of the Cartophilic Society of Great Britain

We Will Remember

We Will Remember

Our card comes from Mitchell`s “London Ceremonials” (1928) – card no.1 , and it shows the Cenotaph, in Whitehall London, which was formerly the focus of attention on Remembrance Day. Designed by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. It first appeared as a hollow and temporary structure made of plaster which was constructed for the Peace Day Celebrations in 1919. The idea of it being hollow fulfilled the true meaning of the word Cenotaph, which, Wills “Do You Know” third series tells us, “…is derived from two Greek words which mean an empty tomb, and a Cenotaph is therefore a monument erected in honour of some dead person whose body is buried elsewhere….” However, it gained such attention from the general public that it was copied in stone and unveiled by the King for Armistice Day 1920, which is 100 years ago.

Though there can be no mass public attendances there, or at other city or village memorials this year, we will still remember, in our own way. A call has come to stand on our doorstep at 11am on Remembrance Sunday, and hold our own silences there. Read more at: If you would like to do that please join in.

It costs no money to do so, however if you would like to make an online donation to The Royal British Legion
RSL (Australia) American Veterans Society (USA) or Help For Heroes they will be very grateful.

There are quite a few cigarette cards showing the Cenotaph. Here are a few

Ardath “Photocards” Group B, Coronation/Sports (1937) – un-numbered
Ardath “Real Photographs of Famous Landmarks” (1939) card no.8
Carreras “Views of London” (1929) – card no.20
Carreras “Views of the World” (1927) – card no.21
Churchman “The Story of London” (1934) – card no.48
Mitchell “London Ceremonials” (1928) – card no.1 (also main image at top)
Ogden “Sights of London” first series (1923) – card no.5
Scerri (Malta) “Famous London Buildings” – un-numbered
Wills “Do You Know” third series (1926) – card no.6
Wills “Reign of George V” (1935) – card no.11

We only know of one trade card :
Barratt “Prominent London Buildings” – un-numbered

Neither Remembrance Day nor Armistice Day glorify war. In fact, they do the total opposite, for both are a time for quiet reflection on those who did not return, or who returned forever altered physically or internally, sometimes both; also of civilian men, women and children caught up in conflict, and of animals discarded at the end of the war without even the offer of coming home to green pastures.

The main difference between the two days is that Remembrance Day covers all wars and all conflicts, whilst Armistice Day simply marks the end of the First World War, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The corresponding dates for the Second World War are VE Day [May 8 : Victory in Europe] or VJ Day [August 14/15 : Victory in Japan]


Because all smokers up to the 1920s were male, early cigarette cards featured military subjects heavily, but they will only be soldiers and sailors, for the Air Force was not in existence until the start of the first World War.

The earliest conflicts are art drawn cards, or, as they were often known “Sketches”, because photographic cards only arrived with the Boer War, and were used to great effect by Ogden`s in their brands “Tabs” and “Guinea Gold” which were advertised as forming “a continuous series of General Interest”. You can follow an officer through the ranks with the changes, or reissues of their card.

The First World War was the first war in which almost all cigarette manufacturers recorded on cards. However cards ceased to be issued in 1919 and did not start again until 1922. The next years are called “The Golden Age of Cartophily”, with millions of cards being issued, but it did not last, an early sign being when cards from Germany start to become more militaristic and patriotic, and war was on the cards before W.D. & H.O. Wills issued “Air Raid Precautions” in 1938.

Cards were again a casualty of war, they stopped in 1939 and never returned, but in the late 1940s they began instead to be issued with commodities like food, and this led to another Golden Age, that of the trade card. This lasted until more recently, when cards in packets were thought to be choking hazards, or might taint the food.

Gum Inc. (1942) ‘War Gum’ (USA/R164)


The range of military cards is immense, but they are roughly broken down into the following sections, which we aim to illustrate with as many cards as we can.

Conflicts: You will of course find more cards of the two World Wars than any other conflict, but other wars do appear. Look out for cards like F & J Smith “Battlefields of Great Britain” (1913), which includes the Battle of Hastings – or Faulkner`s “Our Gallant Grenadiers” (1902/3) which gives a record of their most famous battles throughout the ages. Trade cards include many sets, for example just to take the output of one issuer, the confectionery manufacturer A&B.C. Gum, they told the history of human warfare (“Battle” 1966), recorded a time when a Country divided (“Civil War News” 1965) recorded the events of “The Battle of Britain” (1970) and celebrated “Winston Churchill” (1965)

S548-050 : F. & J. Smith “Battlefields of Great Britain” (1913)
W. & F. Faulkner (1902) ‘Our Gallant Grenadiers’

Medals : This covers sets which were entirely devoted to showing medals and ribbons, including gallantry awards, as well as other sets which show drawings or photographs of actual medal winners, and look out for the various sets of Victoria Cross Heroes, some being depicted in the action that brought the medal, others being portraits. Between 1901 and 1904, Taddy & Co alone issued 125 cards showing “Victoria Cross Heroes”, half being from the Boer War – and Gallaher Ltd issued 200 cards of “The Great War V.C. Heroes” between 1915 and 1918. As a pictorial record of gallantry, it is hard to beat. Whilst on the subject of the Victoria Cross, we have uploaded a newsfeed item from earlier this year which collectors will find fascinating. You can find that on the home page, or by the direct link of :


Our chosen cards are
John Player & Sons (1898) ‘Englands Military Heroes’ (Wide Descriptive Back)
Taddy & Co. (1912) ‘British Medals & Decorations’
– and –
Taddy & Co. (1902) ‘VC Heroes – Boer War (61-80)’

Personalities : All manner of home and overseas politicians, Royalty, and Officers, as well as Nurses and other war workers appear on cards. The most fascinating fact is how they show the rise of woman in the workforce, surely great help to the cause of Women’s Suffrage; Carreras issued an entire set of 50 cards entitled “Women on War Work” in 1916, which showed women doing some most unusual tasks, and doing them well. Like any expensive set this has been reprinted for collectors, so make sure you only buy from a reputable dealer or an auction which specialises in cards.

R. & J. HIll (1901) ‘Boer War Generals – Campaigners’
Philadelphia Chewing Gum Corp. (1965) ‘War Bulletin’

Uniforms and Insignia : The history of uniform is covered on many dedicated sets, but it can be seen evolving on the personality cards too. From the bright red jackets of our earliest conflicts, designed to ensure fighting men immediately knew their own side’s forces, it is mostly a sign of the military world’s rising skill at arms that costume was forced to become less visible to the other side, and dulls and camouflages, by necessity. Whilst Regimental badges are not visible at a distance, save through flare, they are much sought after by modern collectors, who probably do not realise that they too appear on cards.


our selected cards are :
American Tobacco Co. ‘Military Uniforms A’ (A) (1894)
Salmon & Gluckstein Ltd. (1901) ‘Heroes of the Transvaal War’
-and –
Ogdens Ltd. (1909) ‘Soldiers of the King’

Weaponry and Mechanical Warfare : Ever since one caveman picked up a stone and threw it at another, we have had weapons of warfare. They have increased in size, skill, and substance, and every change has been documented on cards. The mechanization of the army is plain to see, and the lack of it stands out in Player`s Army Life, issued in 1914. How great a change there would be is demonstrated by the fact that just two years later Wills issued Military Motors; it is even more shocking, considering that the first cigarette card to show a car had been issued in 1898. Later sets seem to forget that the men inside the vehicles exist at all, they are depicted more like huge robotic machines of war without a living breathing interior.


our selected cards are
left : Ogdens Ltd. (1915) ‘Modern War Weapons
top right : W.A & A.C Churchman “Silhouettes of Warships” (1915)
bottom right : Teofani & Co. Ltd. (1938) ‘Past & Present “B” – Weapons of War’

If you enjoyed reading this, do attend our Armistice Day celebration on Wednesday. And we would love to hear from you through our visitors book. The direct link to that is :
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