The lighter side of the Imperial War Museum Exhibition at Burlington House is the collection of soldiers' and sailors' "Mascots" of all nations.
These have been gathered together by Mr. E. Lovett, of the Folk-Lore Society.
The collection includes many ordinary superstitions, such as bits of coal for luck, but there are others peculiar to the war, and especially interesting are the Russian ikons, and also the metal Greek crosses of the patterns of the seventeenth century.
Belgium is largely represented by charms made from the copper and aluminium of enemy projectiles, and especially hearts, anchors, and crosses.
The Italian charms and amulets are mostly of mother of pearl or coral, and include fishes and hands and long fingers destined to ward off the "evil eye."
The English mascots are very varied, and pertain to different counties and localities. A Northamptonshire regiment's mascot is some hairs of the regimental goat enclosed in a glass disc. The Irish charms are generally the four-leafed shamrock in Connemara marble.
A German iron medal is a sailor's mascot against drowning, and bears the Latin motto "In tempestate securitas."
"Touch-wuds," black cats, gollywogs in wool, Teddy bears, penguins, are there in dozens, and stones with holes in them from the West of England.
The Evening News, 14th January, 1918.