Princess Mary's Gift Fund 1914 Box, Class A smokers
Brass box with hinged lid. Lid is decorated with embossed detail: in the center Princess Mary's head in profile surrounded by a wreath and with 'M' each side; in each corner the name of an ally (clockwise from top left) 'BELGIUM' 'JAPAN' 'MONTE-NEGRO' and 'SERVIA'; along top edge an image of a bayonet & scabberd with 'IMPERIUM' BRITANNICUM' in center; along bottom edge a plaque bearing 'CHRISTMAS 1914' with the bow of a Dreadnought each side; on both side edges is an image of 3 crossed flags with a disc in front bearing 'FRANCE' (left) and 'RUSSIA' (right). Foil wrapped packet of tobacco. Empty packet (of cigarettes). Small plain white envelope (damaged) containing Christmas Card with coloured writing and holly motif. Small sheet of paper (damaged) inscribed 'BUCKINGHAM PALACE Gift from Mary R and the Women of the Empire 1914'.
The Gift Fund was inaugurated by Princess Mary in October 1914 to provide a gift to every serviceman at the front or at sea ('Class A') for the first Christmas of the War. The majority of gifts were for smokers and contained tobacco, cigarettes, a pipe and lighter. For non-smokers writing paper and an pencil were provided. For Indian troops candy and spices were given instead of or in combination with cigarettes. After Christmas 1914 a surplus of funds enabled the scheme to be extended. A simpler gift was given out to all other servicemen ('Classes B & C') which consisted of a bullet pencil and a New Year card. See DEAF fact sheet or "A gift for Christmas: the story of Princess Mary's Gift Fund, 1914" by Diana Condell (IWM Review No.4 1989).
 BELGIUM IMPERIUM BRITANNICUM JAPAN FRANCE RUSSIA SERVIA CHRISTMAS 1914 MONTE-NEGRO
 M M
 HER ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCESS MARY'S CHRISTMAS FUND 1914 CIGARETTES
 HER ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCESS MARY'S CHRISTAMS FUND 1914 TOBACCO
 With Best Wishes for a Happy Christmas and a Victorious New Year from The Princess Mary and Friends at Home.
 BUCKINGHAM PALACE Gift from Mary R and the Women of the Empire 1914.