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Published August 28, 2015 Updated April 30, 2022

Army Health Promotion

Health Promotion playing cards issued by the British Army with cartoons about army life and information on where to get health advice.

2011 United Kingdom British Army Army Cartoon Education Health Humour Add to Collection

Issued by the British Army in 2011, this deck of playing cards was handed out to recruits. It contains 52 cards divided into hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades, each with a different cartoon about army life, involving humour about masculinity, drinking or drug awareness, but also imparting a health message such as “Hands on Survival - Check for Lumps”, “Fit to Fight” and “Don’t be your own worst enemy!” Packs come with two jokers bearing information on where to get health advice and help. The cards are in the style of American ‘Stag Party’ pin-up decks from the 1950s with naughty or suggestive cartoons for men only, often involving doctors, nurses and honeymooners.

Army Health Promotion playing cards issued by the British Army, 2011

Above: Army Health Promotion playing cards issued by the British Army, 2011. 52 cards + 2 jokers + exra info card in box. The back has the British Army insignia (lion atop crown over crossed swords) with the text “Army Health Promotion” “Fit for Life ¦ Fit to Fight” printed below in white. Images courtesy Matt Probert.


‘Stag Party’ pack, 1953

Stag Party Pack, 1953

Above: one of several novelty ‘Stag Party’ packs with suggestive or naughty cartoons, USA, c.1953. Image courtesy Rex Pitts.


REFERENCES

Dawson, Tom & Judy: The Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards, U.S. Games Systems Inc., 2000

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


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