In 1914, Princess Mary, the only daughter of King George V, was just 17. Yet with the world war two months old, the young princess was destined to make her mark. She would send a Christmas gift to all those serving in uniform, 'afloat and at the front.' With great determination, she set about her task to provide her gift to all those on active service.
For Every Sailor Afloat, Every Soldier at the Front is the first time the full story of the princess's gift has been told. Using original sources, texts and archives, and illustrating original surviving objects, this book unfolds the true story of the fund and its wider meaning, set, as it is, in the context of hope as provided by the unofficial Truce in No Man's Land that has been so well documented. Princess Mary's gift was extremely sophisticated; great pains were taken to ensure that the needs of its recipients were met, based on ethnicity, gender, religious observance and personal preference - the Gift Committee was way ahead of its time.
By 1919, some 2.7 million people from across the British Empire had received the gift. Well-illustrated and fully sourced, this book will provide those interested in the first Christmas of the War a greater perspective of the achievements of its founder, of the meaning of the gift to the recipients, and of the nature of the gift itself, such that prevailing myths and misunderstandings of its constituents and recipients will be resolved.