Bottle of ‘Excelsior Fruit-ettes’
Bottle of ‘Excelsior Fruit-ettes’ thirst-quenching tablets, manufactured by Gunn, chemists, of Duns in Berwickshire. It was found, half full, among the effects of 2nd Lieut Thomas Hood of Duns after his death in action in October 1916 while serving with the 7th Battalion.
Thomas Hood was a Scotsman, from the small town of Duns in Berwickshire. He started work there as a land agent, moved to Halstead for seven years then to Egypt, where he managed a Land Company. When war broke out he returned home, was given a commission in the Suffolk Regiment and posted to the 7th Battalion.
On 11 October 1916 the Battalion carried out an attack on German trenches near Albert. They came under heavy machine gun fire and suffered over 500 casualties. Fourteen Officers were among the dead, one of whom was the 40-year old 2nd Lieutenant Thomas Hood. His body was never found and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of The Somme.
After his death the Army, with typical thoroughness, returned his effects to his widow Mary. Among them was this half full bottle of ‘Excelsior Fruitettes’, manufactured by the chemist in his home town. Half the sweets had been eaten but he was fated never to finish the contents. But the sweets are still there – obviously kept by Mary as a poignant memento of her late husband and now on display in the Suffolk Regiment Museum.