Search our collections

Advanced Search

Object: Soldier doll

This image has Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons BY-NC-ND Creative Commons BY-NC-ND copyright licence Image © Te Papa

Title Soldier doll
Production Broad, Dorothy (maker/artist), 1916, New Zealand
Medium summary doll made from a chicken wish bone with hand sewn garments
Materials bone, wood, metal, cloth
Classification dolls
Technique hand sewing
Dimensions Overall: 95mm (Height) x 55mm (Width) x 30mm (Depth)
Credit line Gift of the Abraham family in memory of Dorothy Broad, 2009
Registration number GH016401

A wishbone soldier

This small doll was made by Dorothy Broad, a talented crafts woman who used her skills during both world wars to help raise money for the war effort. Utilising everyday materials, she has fashioned the soldier's legs and spine from a chicken wishbone, his head from plasticine with beads for eyes, his uniform from scraps of fabric, and his walking or swagger stick from a humble matchstick. The end result is a doll full of character, and hopefully good luck.

It is thought that Dorothy and her sister Frances made such dolls as fund-raisers.

Engaged to a soldier

Like many New Zealand women, Dorothy had an invested interest in soldiers' wellbeing, as her fiance, Thomas Wyville Leonard Rutherfurd, was a captain in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (13th Reinforcements), in the First World War (1914-19).  Sadly for Dorothy, Captain Rutherford died in Persia from pneumonia three weeks before the Armistice.

Captain Rutherford was awarded the Military Cross in 1917 for his 'conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty' at Messines and his command of the party digging a communication trench from St Ypres to the Au Chasseur Caberet. He also received the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal (1914-1920) and Victory Medal.

Related information

Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.