A 'Sailors & Soldiers Christmas Fund' created by Princess Mary had overwhelming response and so it was decided to give every person 'wearing the King's uniform on Christmas Day 1914' the brass tin along with a Christmas card and a picture of the princess, and items such as pipe, lighter, tobacco, and 20 cigarettes. Non-smokers and boys received a bullet pencil and a packet of sweets. Indian troops often received sweets and spices, and nurses received chocolates. Many of the items were sent separately from the boxes because of lack of space. Not all the tins could be sent out by Christmas and so those sent in January 1915 contained a New Year card. Shortage of brass meant that many did not received their tins until summer 1916, however by January 1919 some still did not receive them. After using up the contents many service people then used the tins to store small items.
The brass tin, bullet pencil, and medals belonged to Pte George Nutting of the 2nd London regiment, and regimental number 2080/230442.
After World War 1 George Nutting sailed for Melbourne on June 1, 1922 aboard the S.S. Borda. He then lived at several addresses in the Sunshine/Albion area including Dawson St, 32 King Edward Ave, and 15 Kamarooka St. At one stage he was involved in a window cleaning and gardening business, and both he and his wife Janet were very good dancers. George Nutting was also involved in the loyal Sunshine Lodge and was presented with a Past Grand's Collar in 1943. He lived at 15 Kamarooka St until he passed away on March 20th 1979 at the age of 85.
The above information was sourced from http://www.kinnethmont.co.uk/1914-1918_files/xmas-box-1914.htm (accessed 1/3/2014), and from http://museumvictoria.com.au/collections/items/1329146/tin-princess-mary-s-Christmas-gift-1914 (accessed 1/3/2014), and from research work done by Eva and Marie of S&DHS.
The Tin and Medals provide a visible historical record of the Christmas gift, and the awards that the average WW1 British service person received about 100 years ago. The bullet pencil may indicate that Pte G. Nutting was probably a non-smoker, at least around circa 1914.
Brass rectangular box with an embossed and hinged lid. The lid features the profile of Princess Mary with an 'M' on each side, and the names of Britain's allies in 1914. The pencil fits into the brass bullet casing to give the appearance of a bullet. The WW1 British medals are: 1. 1914 - 1915 Star, 2. British War Medal 1914 - 1918 (Silver), 3. Allied Victory Medal.
Inscriptions & markings
TIN: Imperium Brittanicum, Christmas 1914, Belgium, France, Servia, Japan, Russia, Monte Negro. MEDALS: 2080 Pte G. Nutting 2 - Lond.R