A Poignant WW1 Union Jack Handkerchief


Origin: British
Period: Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1915
Height: 20 inches
Width: 19 inches

Hand stitched in a soft cotton, this handkerchief is a finely made piece of patriotism, in good condition, with a gentle aged look and feel, which is nothing short of desirable.

What makes the handkerchief so affecting are the expressions emblazoned across each side on miniature banners reading “Be Prepared”, “Faithful to the Flag”, “Our King & Country” and “Defence not Defiance”. These are essentially the mantras of our wonderful country during times of war and conflict.

The current design of the flag dates from the union of Ireland and Great Britain in 1801. When the first flag was introduced in 1606, it became known simply as "the British flag" or "the flag of Britain". The word "jack" was in use before 1600 to describe the maritime bow flag. One theory goes that for some years it would have been called just "the Jack", or "Jack flag", or "the King's Jack", but by 1674, while formally referred to as "His Majesty's Jack", it was commonly called the Union Jack, and this was officially acknowledged.

World War 1 lasted from 1914 to 1918 and casualties in the land forces amounted to over thirty seven million. In addition, deaths among civilian populations caused indirectly by war approximated to ten million.

This is a charming hankie, representative of hard times past of the kingdom it embodies each time it is summoned from the darkened pocket from where it lies.