Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Queen’s Appeal for Socks and Belts

From the Cambrian Daily Leader, 24th September 1914.



In view of the special winter requirements, and to supplement the provision made by the War Office, Lord Kitchener has asked the Queen to supply 300,000 belts, knitted or woven, and 300,000 pairs of socks, to be ready, if possible, early in November.  Lord Kitchener has kindly promised that these articles shall be immediately distributed at the front.  The Queen has willingly acceded to the request and asks the women of the Empire assist her.

In making this offering to the troops, her Majesty is anxious to place as much work as possible through the Central Committee for Women's Employment.  It is suggested that in addition to gifts of the above-named articles, orders may be forwarded stating the number of belts and socks which it is desired to contribute.  All such orders and all cheques, as well as contributions of belts or socks, should be sent to the Lady-in-Waiting to her Majesty, addressed to Devonshire House, London... Anyone willing to send these articles is invited to apply to the Lady-in-Waiting ... for written instructions.

[This appeal, based on an official press release, was published in newspapers throughout the country (and presumably throughout the Empire). It was one of the first national appeals for clothing to be made for the troops, and I think the largest.  

I have chosen this version of the appeal, because most other newspapers omitted the reference to employing women - the Central Committee for Women's Employment was spending the money raised by the Queen's "Work for Women" Fund

The 'belts' asked for are body belts, also called cholera belts, or sometimes colic belts.  A body belt was a deep band of wool worn around the abdomen (sometimes fastened with tapes or buttons, but usually the knitted ones were knitted in the round and pulled on).  Although medical opinion no longer thought that a body belt would protect against cholera, there was a widespread feeling that it was essential to keep the abdomen protected from chills.  Body belts were not part of the official issue to soldiers, but perhaps Kitchener thought that they should be.]

No comments:

Post a Comment