As British servicemen were mobilised en masse in late 1914, the nation prepared itself for Christmas at war. Facing the very real prospect of hundreds of thousands of British men spending the festive season away from their families, the 17 year old Princess Mary took it upon herself to create a Sailors’ and Soldiers’ fund that would raise funds to provide every service man and woman with a Christmas gift to remind them they hadn’t been forgotten.

Dubbed the Princess Mary Tin (read more about the tins on our blog), the gift was a brass tin that contained a variety of gifts. Tobacco, writing sets, cigarettes and chocolate all featured, with a photo of the princess inside every one of the 2 million tins produced.

Do you have ancestors who served in World War 1? Explore our military records and find out if they might have received a Princess Mary tin.

Explore our military records