Xmas 1917 – the Engineer-in-Chief’s Christmas card

I came across this in Douglas Haig’s diary files at the National Archives on Saturday – it is described in the file index as the “Xmas card 1917” and is one of the more bizarre illustrations I have seen used as a Christmas card.

The “Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe” appears to have collected up twenty-two children who are busy in a range of activities – including the cherub releasing gas from the back of his miniature railway wagon; the road builder with his pickaxe; the forestry worker chopping down a tree and the inland water imp pulling his SRD jars across in a barrel.

The explanation behind the activities is that this was the Christmas card sent out by the Engineer-in-Chief – who can be seen on the left intently studying his dinner menu while his men labour on.

Now if anyone can explain what is going on in the background where a man in a striped jacket is following a zebra with an apple on its back…