I was looking through a collection of ephemera passed through my family from my father’s side. I came across this postcard depicting the Motor Transport Service Corps, outside Earl’s Terrace, London in 1917. My great great grandfather, Staff Sergeant George Elbby Smith is marked on the photograph. The postcard contains writing explaining the cause of his death from dysentery in 1918. The postcard itself was never sent, but it acts as a memoriam record.
The faded handwriting on the postcard reads:
In memoriam of Staff Stgt Smith M. T. A. S. C. London. Who died of dysentery in the Fulham Military Hospital, London on March 22th 1918 age 47. Always thinking of him love cannot die although seven months has slowly passed away. We think of him we speak of him and miss him every day Never forgotten by Sappers and Harry one of the best of brothers.
I am interested in the postcard as an ephemeral object, which has lasted 100 years! I have created a drypoint plate, tracing the folds, creases and tears of the postcard onto a plastic plate. I want to document the traces of wear and tear and preserve these in the form of a print. This postcard has formed the starting point of my genealogy research, as I am fascinated by tracing the narrative of a relative’s life, especially since I am linked genetically to them.