Release of 38 Postcards to Commemorate the First World War Centennial

Sketches of Tommy’s life In Training: No. 1 of Set 1, “That seems to mean me all right”  Fergus Mackain, October 1917

Sketches of Tommy’s life In Training: No. 1 of Set 1, “That seems to mean me all right”

Fergus Mackain, October 1917

Lethbridge — Beginning August 4, 2014, the Galt Museum & Archives will commemorate 100 years since the start of World War I by releasing 38 reproductions of "Sketches of Tommy's Life in France" postcards from the Archives. The postcards were originally produced in 4 sets in Boulogne and Paris, France (1917-18), and feature the artwork of Canadian-born illustrator Private Fergus Mackain who served in the Royal Fusiliers during the First World War.

The original postcards were available in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, for purchase by soldiers to "let them know at home about your life in France." At the time, each set cost 1 franc 50 centimes.

150 sets of all 38 postcards will be available for $20/set in the Museum Store starting August 4, while 800 free mini-sets will be released monthly on a first come first served basis to those who purchase Museum admission or Store merchandise, as follows:

  • August 04, 2014 | Set 1 In Training (No 1-4) | (bundle of 4)

  • September 01, 2014 | Set 1 In Training (No 5-8) | (bundle of 4)

  • October 01, 2014 | Set 2 At the Base (No 1-5) | (bundle of 5)

  • November 01, 2014 | Set 2 At the Base (No 6-10) | (bundle of 5)

  • December 01, 2014 | Set 3 Up the line (No 1-5) | (bundle of 5)

  • January 02, 2015 | Set 3 Up the line (No 6-10) | (bundle of 5)

  • February 01, 2015 | Set 4 Out on Rest (No 1-5) | (bundle of 5)

  • March 01, 2015 | Set 4 Out on Rest (No 6-10) | (bundle of 5)

“We have come across an excellent online resource for these wartime illustrations and have placed a link to on our website,” says Archivist Andrew Chernevych. The blog, Fergus Mackain's Wartime Sketches, explains the details of each postcard in the series, and is the brainchild of William Mackain-Bremner, whose paternal grandmother was a first cousin to Fergus Mackain.

"Although Fergus Mackain is not as well known as other WW1 postcard artists such as Bruce Bairnsfather,” according to Mackain-Brenner, “he created a uniquely compelling visual record of his army service 100 years ago that is full of rich and detailed images, delivered in a humorous, modern style. As such it is a treasure trove of knowledge about the day to day life of a regular volunteer soldier and his journey from enlistment to training, to posting in France, and then on to the trenches, experiencing battle, and resting afterwards. The aim of my blog "Fergus Mackain's Wartime Sketches" is to raise awareness of my cousin's life and illustrations, and I fully support the efforts of the museum in reprinting his most famous postcards.

Anine VonkemanComment