early 20th Century
This beautifully engraved cigarette case shows many of the motifs of the Manchester Regiment.
The case belonged to Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) H. Bretton-Whittaker of the 13th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment.
It shows many of the places that he served during and before the First World War (1914-1918). On the reverse are two scenes, one of France and one of the Balkans. The pouch made to protect the case also bears the coat of arms of the City of Manchester. It was this coat of arms that was the Regiment’s official Cap Badge from the late 1890s until 1923.
On June 4th 1916 each member of the 1/6th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment was presented with a box of cigarettes. They were presented by Officers to surviving members of the Battalion who had served on that date the previous year at Gallipoli.
Nicholas Soussa and Brothers of Cairo, Egypt made the cigarettes, with each box containing ten cigarettes. Each cigarette was marked June 4th 1915 and 1/6th Batt Manchester Regiment and carried the Regimental sphinx.
Many of these were never smoked and instead kept, as the tin states, ‘in Memoriam’ to their fallen comrades. There are several of these tins in the collection of the Museum of the Manchester Regiment. Some still contain all ten cigarettes, while some contain just the last one.