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Trench art
is usually described as a decorative item, crafted by a soldier or prisoner of war, using bomb shells, bullet casings, and even wood or bone.

Creation of trench art picked up momentum during World War I and continued into World War II. By this time, the term “trench art” was used, not only to describe the souvenirs crafted by solders, but also those produced by military service personnel.

A. Our Lady of Lourdes pocket shrine.
Zinc and brass.

B. Saint Anne and Mary pocket shrine.

C. Queen of Heaven pocket shrine.
At the base of the statue there is an inscription from Proverbs 8:17:  “Ego diligentes me diligo et qui mane vigilant ad me inveniant me.” This latin proverb translates to,  “I love those who love me and those who seek me in the morning find me.”

Bullet crucifixes of WWI

These items were often carried by soldiers of the German and often the French armies, who managed to make them from captured German equipment. The religious expressions that were carried forth found physical expression in these bullet crucifixes typically made from several cartridges, a German belt-buckle center, and a figure of Christ, which was an issue, usually from company chaplains. These miniatures were often associated by the poor soldiers with miraculous survival and some achieved mythic status among them. Some of the crucifixes did not have stands and that often indicates that a soldier would simply carry it in his field pack and then push it into the mud or dirt by his trench or foxhole. These are crudely done, but is still a good example of this trench crucifix. The buckle front proclaims “Gott mit Uns,” meaning, “God with us!”

Mortar Shell Vase

Vase made from a mortar shell bearing the Cross of Lorraine. The Cross of Lorraine, of the eponymous region of France, is the symbol of freedom in France. The 79th Infantry Division of the Untied States Army, made up primarily of draftees from Maryland and Pennsylvania, earned the title “Cross of Lorraine” for their defense of France during World War I.

WWI Rosary
Offical issue WWI rosary. Made to be durable, they are constructed of “pull chain” designed metal balls. Nearly indestructable, they were carried by our soldiers to battle.

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