Keepers’ Corner (Social History) – Headscarf WW11

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This headscarf, by Jacqmar of London, was donated to the Museum collection very recently. It serves as a poignant reminder of the impact of war not only on those fighting on the front line, but also on the lives of family and friends at home.

The scarf was given to Rita Bowring in the early 1940s as a gift from her fiancé in the British Army. Its design features army regimental crests alongside the logo ‘INTO BATTLE’. These propaganda scarves were popularly given between young lovers and helped boost morale on the home front.

Tragically, Rita’s fiancé was killed in action only a few months later. Rita never wore the scarf again, instead keeping it wrapped in tissue at the back of her scarf drawer for the rest of her life.

Rita had already suffered heartbreak earlier in the war. Her first fiancé – and childhood sweetheart – was a radio officer in the Royal Navy when he was killed in a German attack in 1941.

Despite such profound loss, Rita found happiness after the war. She married and settled down with her husband, Francis, near Denham in Bucks, where she died in 2005.

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