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The British really started the idea of giving a gift at Christmas to serving troops in wartime.

This was always in the name of the Sovereign - although many Companies and Local Governement joined-in.

Queen Victoria presented an attractive tin in 1900 - this contained a variety of gifts and the troops chose which one they wanted. This was done for just the one year - the cost proved high.

World War 1 commenced in 1914 and for Christmas, troops were given a tin named for the Princess Royal. Again,

they could select different contents. Also, as with the Boer War the presentation was a one off.

Britain did not have Royal gifts in World War 2 - however, Soutth Africa did. 1940 was a large tin - but, for 1941/2/3/4/5/

the tins were as for the size of a 20 cigarette tin - they did have a choice of butterscotch or, cigarettes.

The tins were stamped and coloured with a silhouette of the President and his wife. Field Marshall Smuts and Mrs.Smuts.

Each year had it's date and in the left side was the National Emblem - a Springbok - with-in a 'V' for victory.

They were held in great regard and were universally known as Ouma and Oupa. The Afrikaans for Grandma and

Grandpa.

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Contents of a tin dated 1941 - so, 71 years old. I am 75 - so was a little boy when these were made - I think quite fair condition. The naming

on the cigarettes is very interesting. ' C to C' . This stood for Cape to Cairo, Our expeditionary Force

started in Capetown - drove the length of South Africa gathering troops and vehicles - across Rhodesia

into Kenya - still gathering troop re-inforcements and ended up on the border of Abysinnia - , or as it is known now

Ethiopia.

We had roughly 28,000 men and a collection of beaten-up old lorries - and only light tanks and artillery. The Italians had built a new autostrada - and used it to escape. They had 240,000 men - but, did not have the will to fight as Mussolini was very unpopular. There were several proper battles or, skirmishes - and suddenly we had a large Country - few troops and no food. In terms of succesful Campaigns in WW2 this was one of the top ones - unfortunately it was greatly overlooked with events in Europe.

Amazing the history that can come with a tin of cigarettes !

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