Text: 'Charmed Soldiers'. Text is decorated with small cartoon yellow flowers, a purple bird, a horseshoe and a four-leaf clover. Three photographs are collaged to the left: two wool doll charms, a Bible and pressed flowers and a pin with a heart on it.

Charmed Soldiers


Surrounded by industrial violence and death, servicemembers of World War I renewed faith, discovered magic and witnessed miracles in everyday and extraordinary objects. Small, personal belongings helped fighting forces and war workers hold on to hope, whether in the muddy trenches of the Western Front, on the waves of the South China Sea or flying high above the clouds. Optimistic desires – for an end to war, for meaning in suffering and a reunion with family – filled their possessions.

War became terrain for supernatural devotion, where objects and prayers shaped how soldiers expressed faith. Whether military members or volunteers, multitudes expressed belief in something – or someone – greater than themselves with cherished objects of faith, hope and luck.