Treasured Mementos

If possible, a dead soldier’s personal belongings were collected prior to his burial so that they could be given to his next of kin.

The bag in which Hannah Nicholas received her son's effects including his diary, pay book and ring

Canterbury Museum 2002.106.6

They were usually sent in an effects bag, a plain cotton bag provided by the military. Sometimes the contents were listed on the outside. Today these brief lists provide a stark reminder of how little was left of a young life.

1999 128 43 Photo Arthur Elderton portrait3

A Mother’s Grief

One of five siblings, Arthur Elderton enlisted on 14 June 1915 and fought in France with the 1st Canterbury Regiment.

He was badly wounded in the stomach by a shell at Armentières and died in hospital at Bailleul 2 days later. Arthur’s mother Charlotte Elderton kept every item connected with her son and her collection of treasured mementoes provides a glimpse of a mother’s grief.

Private Arthur Elderton of the 1st Canterbury Infantry Regiment

Canterbury Museum 1999.128.43

WW116 180801

Telegram received by Charlotte Elderton advising of her son Arthur’s death 5 days earlier

Canterbury Museum ARC1999.6 [10]

The photograph of Arthur Elderton’s grave supplied to his mother Charlotte. The wooden crosses at cemeteries such as these were later replaced with the standard Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone made of Portland Stone.

Canterbury Museum ARC1999.6 [24]

WW112 180801