A soldier opening his Princess Mary Gift Tin, Christmas 1914.

British troops serving on the Western Front in 1914 received Princess Mary boxes from the Royal Family. These were metal cases engraved with an outline of the princess and filled with chocolates, sweets, cigarettes and tobacco. Great efforts were made to distribute the gifts in time for Christmas, and huge demands were made on an already stretched postal service. More than 355,000 boxes were successfully delivered before 25 December. The boxes also included a picture card of Queen Mary and a copy of King George V’s greeting to the troops which stated ‘May God protect you and bring you safely home’. One of 193 British and Allied Official photographs taken on the Western Front during World War One. Mounted on card, some with their original captions. Associated with World War One, Western Front (1914-1918).