For sale: The pressed flowers that marked time for soldier on First World War frontline

This autograph album for a First World War soldier called Bert will be auctioned by Duke’s of Dorchester

Amy Brenan of Duke’s

First published in News Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Photograph of the Author by

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

An autograph album filled with pressed flower specimens collected by a soldier during his time on the frontline could sell for hundreds of pounds when it is auctioned at Duke’s in Dorchester.

The small, palm-sized album was discovered by a removal man in a skip during a house clearance.

Amy Brenan from Duke’s Auctioneers said: “The album is a marvelous 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 locations range from ‘A souvenir from Italy February 10th’ to ‘A souvenir from France March 11th 1918, 11 miles outside Arras’.

“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 with the centenary this year.

At the end of 2013, Duke’s 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.

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

Ms Brenan added: “2014 is the centenary year for the Great War 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 from the frontline perhaps helped him to gloss over the horrors facing him everyday.”

The auction will take place at Duke’s Grove auctions in Dorchester on Tuesday, March 11 at 10.30am.

For more information, please contact the saleroom on 01305 257544 or email
grove@dukes-auctions.com.

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