A TOOTHPASTE tin, a ceremonial sword and a Bradford shop sign calling for food parcels for the Front are among items in an online “show and tell” of First World War artefacts.

Bradford World War 1 Group is inviting people to send images and information about items which have been passed down in families, including everyday objects from the Home Front.

The group normally holds two annual Bring and Tell sessions within its monthly programme of meetings and speakers at Bradford Mechanics Institute. With people currently confined to their homes, the sessions are now online.

Bradford WW1 Group president Tricia Restorick said contributed items are “large and small, significant and insignificant treasures which families have kept stored away for 100 years”.

The group has posted images, along with their stories attached, on its website, and wants to hear from more people with artefacts.

“The Mechanics Institute Library is temporarily closed but our Bring and Tell has moved online,” said Tricia. “Members are sending digital scans of artefacts and copies of documents with stories attached, which are edited and circulated to our email group. Everyday items from the Home Front have included a pink china teapot bought on Bradford Market and several pieces of commemorative pottery. Indicative of wartime privation was a Lloyd George bread-and-butter plate about 6in in diameter and inscribed with the message ‘For a family of 10’, said Tricia.“Military offerings range from a tiny red tin which could have held toothpaste but was a form of Brasso for tunic buttons to an entire collection of medals and shoulder titles mounted behind glass.

“A magnificent ceremonial sword presented by the Lapage Street branch of the Bradford City Volunteers to their departing Company Sergeant Major helped tell a fascinating story. After service abroad with the West Yorkshire Regiment, the CSM was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 1919 for his 22 years with the colours.”

Other items include a ‘sweetheart badge’ dating back to the 19th century. Sweetheart brooches were often given by servicemen to loved ones when they departed for service. The badges depicted the service crest or regimental badge of the soldier in question and were treasured as keepsakes by wives girlfriends, parents, and children.

Also featured on the website is a stretcher bearer’s arm badge, tin of ‘Pearl Plate Paste’ for cleaning buttons, an officer’s whistle found in a field in France and a handmade advert for food for soldiers displayed in the Coffee Tavern in Manningham. “This is a very rare survivor,” said Tricia. “The simple handmade sign, which stood on the counter of Oak Lane Coffee Tavern, urges patrons to purchase Christmas cakes to be added to food parcels for soldiers at the Front.

“In 1911 Frederick and Annie Garnett were the restaurant keepers, assisted by their daughters, Ivy and May, and son Arthur. In 1915 Arthur married Margaret Chittenden in Heaton. They had three children but Margaret died aged 40 in 1927. Their only son, Frederick, born in 1922, was killed serving in the RAF in 1944. He is buried in Hanover War Cemetery, Germany. His father chose the inscription ‘Death slew not him, but he made death his ladder to the skies’.” Visit ww1bradford.org