Trophies, Souvenirs and Keepsakes

Percival Clennell Fenwick trained as a doctor and medicine became his passport for travelling the British Empire. After a stint as a ship’s surgeon, he became Assistant Surgeon at Christchurch Hospital in 1895.

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When World War One broke out, Percival enlisted early. Colonel Fenwick went to Egypt with the Main Body as part of the New Zealand Medical Staff and served at Gallipoli. When not tending to the sick and wounded, he took the opportunity, like many other soldiers, to collect souvenirs.

A cartoon titled The Souvenir Collector from New Zealand at the Front humorously depicts a soldier loaded with items he has collected

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Turkish Trophies

One of the souvenirs Colonel Fenwick collected on the battlefield at Gallipoli was a Turkish bugle that he sent home to his wife Nona.

While examining it, some field dressings fell out and with them fluttered a tiny piece of paper with Turkish writing. She had the note translated and it read, “With God’s help we are safe. There is nothing serious. We have been 3 days under hot gun and rifle fire; it is a hard struggle but we hold our own. We are strong, and nothing can happen to us.”

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Souvenir Serpents

Turkish prisoners of war in British camps created beaded items for the souvenir market. Making handicrafts helped combat boredom and prisoners were allowed to sell their items to local shops and street vendors.

Snakes were regarded as a good luck symbol in parts of the Ottoman Empire and were a popular item. Prisoners also made beaded handbags, belts, bookmarks and necklaces.