With Anzac Day (25 April) fast approaching, there will be many stories about New Zealand’s military past coming to light in the media.

Here are some examples of linen produced during World War II.  These have been found at various second-hand shops.  I would love to add more items to the collection but with the huge interest in our military past, I’m finding  it not so easy to source items in charity shops.

WWII embroidery

The first piece featuring embroidery on black velvet is not in the best condition.  It used to be displayed on a table but unfortunately quickly faded. Have now learnt to take far better care of historic items.  Features a message ‘with love from Arthur’ –  I wonder and hope that Arthur survived the war!

The second example also features scenes of the Middle East with its exotic pyramids and camels on display.

More pyramids on display

Here’s another souvenir of Egypt dated 1941 – makes you wonder how these items were treated on their return. Were these souvenirs proudly displayed or instead carefully placed into cupboards for safekeeping?

1941 embroidery

The following is a green silk handkerchief which featues the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force logo.

WWII handkerchief

The final item is a tablecloth picked up at a fair a few years.  I’m intrigued by the dates showing ‘victory and 1944’.  The Second War World officially ended in 1945 but perhaps the soldier’s campaign had ended earlier in 1944. 

Features the initials of J.S.W. in between peace and victory.

Details from a tablecloth