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War – WW1 – Trench Art Shells

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These two shells – one German and the other British – are examples of First World War trench art.

Trench art is the name commonly given to souvenirs made from the debris and by-products of modern warfare, such as spent artillery shell cases, and is usually associated with the First World War.

Most trench art was made by servicemen to pass the time when not in the front line. Prisoners of war, faced with a constant battle against boredom, produced similar items. Much of it was simple and crudely made, using objects such as a bent nail to engrave the design into the metal.

Many examples of trench art were also made by local civilians for sale to soldiers. Despite the danger from these potentially deadly items, many civilians would collect debris from battlefields to transform into souvenirs. This industry continued after the war, with trench art-type objects being created for sale as souvenirs to the visitors to battlefields and cemeteries, and such items are still manufactured to this day.