Poignant memento of First World War soldier under the hammer

Dorset Echo: FRONT LINE FLOWERS: Album of flowers collected by a First World War soldier FRONT LINE FLOWERS: Album of flowers collected by a First World War soldier

POIGNANT reminders of the First World War rescued from a skip are coming up for sale next month.

An autograph album filled with flowers collected by a soldier during his time on the frontline is to go under the hammer in Dorchester.

The small, palm-sized album was discovered during a house clearance and was about to be thrown away but was rescued from the skip by a keen-eyed removal man.

Amy Brenan from Duke’s Auctioneers said: “The album is a marvellous record of one soldier’s travels in Europe during the First World War.

“Each flower has been pressed between the pages of his autograph book and annotated with the place and date where it was picked.”

The flowers include heathers and ivy all stuck in by means of melted sealing wax.

“What is particularly nice is that the album of pressed plants and flowers was clearly put together as a gift.

“Most of the pages are labelled as ‘From Bert’ so perhaps he was compiling the album for his sweetheart back home.”

First World War mementoes are seeing a rise in interest at auction.

At the end of 2013, Duke’s Auctioneers, Dorchester successfully sold the Roughton Poppy, the world’s oldest poppy, picked in a frontline trench in Arras, northern France in 1916 by Private Cecil Roughton.

Amy added: “Appropriately, it sold to the makers of the Victoria Cross medal, Hancocks of London, for £6,344.

“2014 is the centenary year for WWI and with many commemorations taking place. We are seeing huge interest in wartime memorabilia.

“It is easy to complain about the trials and tribulations of modern life yet we don’t often spare a thought for the difficulties facing frontline soldiers during the Great War and the amazing service they did for the country.

“This album is a wonderful reminder of one soldier’s time on the war front.

“Despite the distance, he was clearly relying on thoughts of his loved ones to keep him going.

“Sending them flowers perhaps helped him to gloss over the horrors facing him every day.”

The auction for both items will be held at Duke’s Grove Auctions on Tuesday, March 11 at 10.30am.

For more details call the saleroom on 01305 257544 or email grove@dukes-auctions.com

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