Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Women's Army

From The Scotsman, 20th November 1917.



A recruiting campaign to swell the ranks of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps was opened in the West of Scotland yesterday with a meeting in the Banqueting Hall of the Glasgow City Chambers.  Every foot of space in the hall was occupied, and many people were unable to gain admission. Amongst the speakers were the Duchess of Atholl and Lord Scott Dickson.

Lord Provost Stewart, who presided, said they wanted 10,000 capable women immediately, and after that a second and a third ten thousand, and so on for a few months to come, in order that men might be released for the fighting line.

Miss Craigie, the Recruiting Controller for Scotland, outlined the scheme of the W.A.A.C, and the spheres within which the Corps operates, and the rates of pay and conditions of service in the various sections, mechanical, domestic, clerical, or unskilled, as the case may be.  In Scotland alone, they wished 250 volunteers per week, and for Great Britain the Government required 10,000 women per month.

The Duchess of Atholl, in urging-the claims of the Corps, contrasted the opposition which Florence Nightingale had encountered before she was permitted to take her handful of heroic helpers to the suffering troops in the Crimea, and the condition now, when they had a Women's Corps raised by the War Office and financed by the State.  This situation had brought to women a tremendous privilege and an equally tremendous responsibility—a situation absolutely unprecedented in our country's history, and unprecedented, she thought, in the history of women, and one which required that each one should put to herself very searching questions as to the value of the work she was at present doing, and the effect of her needs and desires upon the labour forces of the country.  She wished it could be possible, her Grace said, that in the years to come they could look back upon the years of the Great War and say :—"We women gave up our fashions; we recognised that the country's need for labour was so overwhelming that our lesser needs went by the board, and we threw off the tyranny of fashion while the war lasted."  (Applause.)  That was not yet quite the case.  The shops continued to display a bewildering and tempting variety of things day by day; and she heard that the jewellers' trade had never been so brisk as now.  They should reduce their needs so as to conserve all possible labour for the country's wants; they did want it to be any longer true—as had been trenchantly said—that "ladies' new hats are the grave of a nation's energy."  With due allowance for personal and business ties, women were being asked to give themselves to the service of the country, and her Grace was sure that if the need were realised the response would add enormously to the splendid record of the women of Glasgow.  (Applause.)

Lord Scott Dickson said the women were being asked to come forward, as each woman meant the release of a man for the lighting line.  He was sure that when they were convinced, as they must be convinced, that they required men and still more men—that the need was so acute to free men for the fighting line—the appeal would not be addressed in vain to the women of Glasgow, but that they would respond as readily as the men-folk who were facing the enemy in the battle-line. (Applause.)

Monday, 20 November 2017

Potato Surplus

From The Scotsman, 20th November 1917.



The food value of the potato and the necessity of using potatoes whenever possible as a substitute for bread, and thus conserving the cereal crops, was emphasised by Sir Arthur Yapp and Dr Campbell at a conference held yesterday at Grosvenor House, London.

Sir Arthur Yapp, who presided, said if the surplus of considerably over two million tons of potatoes was used during the next six months—the most crucial period—in lieu of bread, it would save half a million tons of wheat, equal to 300 million bread rations, and sufficient to keep the whole of the United Kingdom in bread for two months.  He urged those who had any to break up ground for potato cultivation; so that the supply might be greater than ever next year.  

There was a surplus of over one million tons of potatoes in Ireland, and in order to save the tonnage which the transport of this crop would necessitate, mills were being put into operation in Ireland to produce potato flour.

At present most of our starch came from Japan.  By making use of diseased potatoes it was hoped to provide the starch required for laundry purposes, and the worst of the potato crop was being used to produce industrial alcohol.

In reply to questions, Sir Arthur Yapp said he should consider what action would have to be taken to see that potatoes were substituted for bread in restaurants and hotels.  Where potatoes were plentiful, very little, if any, bread should be used at meals.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

"Knitting Fortnight" Planned

From The Dundee Courier, November 14th 1917.



The need for knitted articles and comforts in general for our fighting men is particularly urgent at the present time, and Dundee women are preparing to take their part in a national effort to meet the requirements.  Miss Kynoch presided at a meeting of the Women's War Relief Committee yesterday afternoon, when Miss Duncanson, the hon. secretary intimated that the number of articles received for the past week amounted to 519.  This was a very small supply, especially in view of the fact that a requisition had been received that day from the War Office for 150 mufflers and 250 pairs of mitts.  Comforts of every kind were more urgently needed now than ever before.  In a communication dated 12th November, Sir Edward Ward stated that it was a matter of regret that, owing to the new conditions which had recently arisen in the movement of troops at the various battle fronts, the number of knitted comforts provided by the associations affiliated under his Department were insufficient to meet the heavy demands for these articles, and unless much larger quantities were forthcoming during the next few weeks the needs of the armies at the various areas would not be adequately met.  He fully appreciated that associations had so far always provided everything that had been asked for, and he appealed to them to make a supreme effort to supply the maximum number of these comforts, especially mufflers, mittens, helmets, and socks.  He hoped he might shortly be in a position to make a small grant of knitting yarns to assist the Dundee association in meeting the increased demand.

The whole position was fully discussed by the Committee, and it was decided that every possible effort should be made to encourage individual knitters, for even a single pair of socks sent to the office in Bank Street was gladly welcomed, and it was also agreed that a "knitting fortnight," similar to that of last year, should be held in December.

Monday, 13 November 2017

The Voluntary Rationing Movement

From the Yorkshire Post, 13th November 1917



The new scale of dietary in connection with the scheme of voluntary rationing, outlined by Sir Arthur Yapp, Director of Food Economy, at Manchester, was issued yesterday by the Ministry of Food. The revised voluntary ration is as follows:—


On very heavy industrial work or agricultural work
8lb. 0oz.

On ordinary industrial or other manual work  
7lb. 0oz

Unoccupied or on sedentary work.
4lb. 8oz.
On heavy industrial work or on agricultural work
5lb. 0oz

On ordinary industrial or in domestic service  
4lb. 0oz

Unoccupied or on sedentary work 
3lb. 8oz.

The allowance of other foods is the same for all, viz. :—
 Cereals, other than bread ... 12oz.
 Meat ...   2lb.
 Butter, margarine, lard, oils, and fats ... 10oz.
 Sugar ...  8oz.

 It is urged that on no account should the weekly allowances in the above scale be exceeded, but it is advised that children should receive a reasonable amount of food. Their individual needs differ so greatly that no definite ration is laid down for them. The principal difference between Sir A. Yapp's revised scale and the one with which Lord Devonport in February last asked the nation "upon its honour" to comply consists in the fact that the present table has been graded to suit the individual needs of different classes.

Lord Devonport's suggested scale of weekly consumption per head was as follows: —
Meat   ...   2½ lb.
Bread  ...   4lb. (or 3lb. of flour)
Sugar  ...   ¾lb. (afterwards reduced to ½lb.)

The following explanatory observations are issued by the Food Department with the new scale.—

The "Bread" rations include all flour. whether used for bread or for cooking. Flour may be taken instead of bread at the rate of 2lb. of flour for every pound of bread.

The "Other Cereal" rations include oatmeal, rice, tapioca, sago, barley meal, cornflour, maize meal, dried peas, beans, and lentils. and all cereal products except bread and flour. The weight given is the weight of the dry article, as bought. If the full bread ration is not used, the amount saved can be taken in other cereals at the rate of ¾lb. of cereals for every pound of bread saved.

The "Meat" rations include the average amount of bone, which may be taken as one-quarter of the weight of the actual meat. Any parts of meat (such as rump steak, bacon, or suet) which are bought without bone must count for one-quarter more than their actual weight. On the other hand, any bone in excess of a quarter of the actual meat bought may be deducted. Poultry and rabbits may be counted at half their actual weight. The meat rations include suet.

Exchange of Bread and Meat.—Any person may take half a pound of meat over and above his meat ration in exchange for half a pound of bread to be deducted from his bread ration. Similarly, any person may take half a pound extra of bread in exchange for meat.

In addition to the economy necessary in regard to the foods mentioned above, it is essential that the consumption of milk and cheese shall be restricted as far as possible. These foods should be reserved for persons for whom they are indispensable. A more extensive use should be made of fresh vegetables and fruit and, in particular, of potatoes, which are not rationed. This season's excellent potato crop supplies the means of observing the prescribed rations without privation, and it must not be wasted.

[Note: for anyone who is only familiar with metric weights,  'lb.' is the abbreviation for 'pound' - 1lb. is 16 ounces (about 0.45 kg.)]

Friday, 10 November 2017

Ladies’ Football

From the Lancashire Evening Post, 10th November 1917.


I am old enough in the game to remember the touring teams that were run by a few enterprising people somewhere about the mid nineties, a venture which fizzled out owing to the split which occurred in it and the action of the F.A. in prohibiting the use of grounds for the commercial exploitation of women players.  Ladies' football was a novelty then, as it is now, and as a novelty there were plenty of people ready to patronise it for an odd time.  The time has not yet arrived when women can enter into masculine sports and gave spectacular interest to them except that which arises from their sex, and one has only to go back to the ladies' cricket campaign that was on exhibition about the time when the football ladies were going about to realise the limitations of their sex in field games.  There were one or two fair bats and bowlers, especially in the "Reds" team, I remember, but they would have cut a poor figure against any average club side, and physically, of course, women were not able to compete with men on level terms in these things.  But if they themselves can find enjoyment in their own games, and incidentally tickle the public fancy for the moment in the interests of a deserving object I do not see why they should not be encouraged.  Of one thing we may be certain—any attempt to establish ladies' football as a regular and recognised pursuit would very quickly fail, and there is no reason, apart from the sentimental dislike that many people have to see girls and women taking part in masculine pastimes, why the tendency of the moment should be frowned down.  The vagaries of the weather, the knocks and falls incidental to strenuous football, and the physical disabilities of the participants are quite sufficient barriers to any degree of seriousness being attached to the craze.

[We have come a long way in 100 years.  Though not far enough.]

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Christmas Puddings for Troops

From the Abergavenny Chronicle, 9th November 1917.

Christmas Puddings for Troops.


At the request of the Army Council the Director-General of Voluntary Organisations has made arrangements with contractors for the supply of a sufficient quantity of plum pudding for the purpose of issuing a ration of ½lb. of pudding to every soldier serving with the British Expeditionary Force in France, whether in the field or in hospital. 

In view of the congestion of traffic it will not be possible to grant transport facilities for the conveyance to France of consignments of plum pudding other than those above referred to, and the Army Council hope that the public will refrain from despatching plum puddings to the troops in that theatre of war.  Other Christmas gifts will no doubt be much appreciated.  The whole expense of providing the required quantity of pudding will be borne by the Expeditionary Force Canteen Funds.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Sphagnum Moss

From the Llangollen Advertiser, 26th October 1917.

SPHAGNUM MOSS.-- The local efforts organised by Miss Isolda Rooper of Bronydd for the supply of moss for the treatment of the wounded in hospital have been very successful. From June 2nd to September 22nd, 252 large sacks of moss were gathered from the Nantyr Moors. It was brought down to Glyn, where it was dried and picked over. The moss was sent to Liverpool and Sussex.