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A collection displayed at Windsor Castle following the First World War

1st Royal Naval Brigade

Pair of trinket boxes 1914-18

RCIN 69439

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In early October 1914 the First Royal Naval Brigade had been deployed to help the Belgians fight German troops attacking Antwerp. During their retreat through Belgium their route was cut off. On 11 October 1,500 men of the Brigade arrived at Groningen in the Netherlands, having crossed the border to avoid being taken as prisoners of war by the Germans. In the neutral Netherlands they were interned as dictated by international law. Whilst in the camp the internees organised activities to pass the time, such as making trinket boxes, match box covers, photograph frames, candlesticks and raffia slippers. The objects were sold to the public and could even be made to order if a particular monogram or crest was requested as decoration.

Most objects, such as this box made in internment camps were not signed as they were the work of multiple men.