Alternative Name(s): Birthday Card

Embrodiered postcard written on the Western Front during World War I by Private Albert Edward Kemp to his mother. He writes: 'Dear Mother Wishing you mother many happy returns of your birthday hoping this to find you in best of health as it leave myself with fondest of love of safe return to you from your son Bert'. Two lines have been censored.

According to the Australian War memorial, 'Embroidered silk postcards were first made in 1900 for the Paris Exposition with popularity peaking during the First World War. A thriving cottage industry began around 1915 and the cards were generally embroidered on strips of silk mesh by French women in their own homes. There could be as many as 25 cards on these strips. Once completed, they were sent to factories for cutting and mounting on postcards. Production ceased around 1923 and an estimated 10,000,000 handmade postcards were produced from 1915 to 1919. Designs included Australian themes, greetings, flags, Christmas, units and camps.'

Albert Edward Kemp was a 32-year-old butcher living in Caulfield and married to Annie Josephine, when he enlisted. He and Annie had a daughter, Ethel Mavis, and a baby son, George Percival. Albert enlisted at Royal Park on 4 October 1916, and was assigned to the 22nd Reinforcements, 6th Battalion - regimental number 6800. His battalion left Melbourne 25 October 1916 - just 21 days after he enlisted. He was shipped to France on 27 March and was taken on strength on 4 April. On 21 September 1917, Albert died in the trenches in Glencorse Wood, Belgium. His body was never found. He is commemorated at 29 The Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.

Physical Description

Embrodiered postcard with coloured floral pattern and embroidered inscription of front, and inscribed in hand-writing on reverse. A small card labelled 'Happy Birthday' is inserted in the card.

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