Card of the Day - 2023-03-23

Carreras Britains Defences
Carreras Ltd [tobacco : UK] "Britain`s Defences" (September 1938) 3/50 - C151-210 : C18-35

This is a fascinating set with a dark secret, for when it was issued in September 1938, there was only one year, exactly, before Britain went to war, and the people on these cards would be swept up in it. 

This card shows the Navy releasing a weather balloon, called a "Met" (or Meteorology balloon). The first study of weather as it affected the war was done in the First World War. This was partially due to the war being in more parts of the globe than ever before, but also because some of those who joined up or were conscripted had been in that field and it was thought that it could be a useful experiment. And there was actually a Meteororological Field Service Division, which was based in France, though it was under the control of the Royal Engineers.

The first sixteen cards, including ours, all show the Navy and its branches. Cards 17-21 are artillery weaponry, and the Army comes along at cards 22 to 35, followed by the Royal Air Force which brings the set to a close. However the final cards are of interest to collectors of aeroplanes, for they show the Gloster Gauntlet (47) the Hawker Hector (48) and Hurricane (49) followed by the Vickers Wellesley (50).

The Hector is quite a scarce aeroplane to find on a card - it went into service in early 1937 but were already being replaced by other craft in mid 1938. They were difficult to maintain and could be hard to fly. However they did see service in the Second World War, mainly over France. They were withdrawn in 1942.

A similar story could be told of the Wellesley, which was actually the Wellington`s sibling, for again it was built in the mid 1930s and was almost obsolete when war broke out. But it did fly in Africa, though it did not fare well against the speedy fighters. It last flew in 1944.