This medal was created as part of a public fundraising campaign to benefit Swiss soldiers and their families who were in need at the end of the First World War. The image below shows the two sides of the medal. Find out more below... (updated 2 August 2014 with new information)
Here is some exciting news from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from earlier this year. You can read more about the role of the ICRC in connection with prisoners of war in the First World War here on my website. To quote directly from the ICRC's press release, which you can also read on their website here.
"The archives of the International Prisoners-of-War Agency will be available for consultation by the public in August 2014, through an online application."
The Switzerland 1914-1918 website now has a presence on Twitter! It is a good way of sharing the many photographs from my collection. There are only so many photos that I can post on this website without it seeming overloaded, but on Twitter I can share them with interested parties and it also helps direct traffic to this site. Currently I am posting one photograph per day, trying to vary the content between the different aspects of this period of Swiss history.
It has also been a good way of finding other people and website covering the subject of Switzerland in WWI. To be honest there have not been that many to date, but I would recommend this one: Swiss postcards from the First World War period (in French).
Nick Bawden has kindly sent me copies of some interesting photographic postcards from his collection. Fortunately the postcards all have handwritten captions on the backs, which provide some useful information - although the writing took some deciphering!
(Photographs courtesy of Nick Bawden.)
This cap belonged to a soldier of the Swiss 78th Fusilier Battalion from around the time of the First World War, which I bought on the internet a few years ago. The reason why I developed an interest in Switzerland in the First World War was because my grandfather served in the Swiss Army during that conflict. In fact, he served in the 78th Fusilier Battalion - the same unit as this cap! So when I saw this cap for sale, I just had to buy it, because what were the chances that I would see another one from this unit for sale again in the future?
I have been collecting material about Switzerland and the First World War for some time. I found the painting shown above on a well known internet auction site in 2005. Unfortunately its full history is not known, but there are a few clues.
The image on the left shows an oil painting made by a British former prisoner of war (PoW) who was interned at Mürren in Switzerland. It was kindly sent to me by James Gordon-Cumming. You can see James' interesting website on trench art here: www.trenchart.co.uk.
James bought the painting at auction about five years ago, and little is known about its prior history. However it does have some writting and a paper label on the back, stating that it was painted by Private A. Price (or Prise?) who was interned at Mürren, Switzerland.
Special stamps known in Switzerland as 'soldier’s stamps' were issued to the troops for free during the First World War. This was presumably to help keep them in touch with family and friends back home, while they were serving at the frontiers. Each unit had its own design.
Left: Stamp from 40th Mountain Infantry Battalion.
The blog will feature interesting images, objects or information relating to Switzerland and the First World War. If you have something interesting that you think could be featured here, I would be glad to hear from you! Thanks.