The ‘war to end all wars’ began in August 1914 and ended four years later in November 1918.

A 1916 thank you card sent to Bideford's Jack Easterbrook who donated pocket money for Christmas gifts to soldiers, sailors and airmen serving during the First World War.A 1916 thank you card sent to Bideford's Jack Easterbrook who donated pocket money for Christmas gifts to soldiers, sailors and airmen serving during the First World War.

Over this long and bloody conflict some three quarters of a million British men died and the war affected every aspect of life in the country - and even today every village, town and city has its own sombre war memorials.

Even children were enrolled into the war effort, collecting wild fruit and moss, the latter being used for medical dressings.

Children were also encouraged to save their pocket money and donate it to one of the numerous charities set up to send gifts to the men in the forces.

Such charities often sent Christmas presents of cigarettes, cake and books to men in the trenches and on board warships – and as a thank you these charitable bodies issued colourful cards to the young donors.

A 1916 thank you card sent to Bideford's Jack Easterbrook who donated pocket money for Christmas gifts to soldiers, sailors and airmen serving during the First World War.A 1916 thank you card sent to Bideford's Jack Easterbrook who donated pocket money for Christmas gifts to soldiers, sailors and airmen serving during the First World War.

Such cards are rarely come across today but I was lucky enough to have been shown three given to Jack Easterbrook, who grew up to become a railway man and eventually take charge of the Bideford goods yard at East-the-Water (where Ethelwynne Brown Close now stands).

The cards are nicely printed in colour and feature drawings of smiling soldiers and sailors along with patriotic symbols such as flags and references to the ‘Empire’.

The cards date from 1915 and 1916 and are shown here – and I wonder if any others have survived?