Brown paper packages tied up with string

Still one of our favourite things and for good reason: the contents are usually quite exciting…

As was the case when Anything Militaria’s Michael Burroughs recently acquired one such package from an old nursing home. Carefully packed inside were several military issue red ties dating back to the Great War. Such ties were issued to and worn by convalescing wounded soldiers and the custom dates back to the Crimean War. Wearing a red tie like this was a visual cue that the soldier should be excused for leaning or not standing upright to attention. Several comic postcards of the era are included to show them being worn.

During the second world war, they tried a blue battledress and trousers but, as standard hospital issue was striped pyjamas, this idea was dropped. These red ties are quite the rarity. 4cm wide tapering to 2.5cm at the middle and featuring four lines of stitching reminiscent of a karate grading belt.

Yet the singularly most striking things about these antique military ties is their condition. So well preserved were they in their brown paper and string that the deep red is as bright today as it must have been then.