Thursday, 31 December 2015

Comforts for Local Men

From the Llangollen Advertiser, 31st December 1915.

WAR GUILD


AND COUNTY COMFORTS ASSOCIATION.

The collection for the above was held on Dec. 23rd, when 266 garments were brought in, made up as follows:—
6 shirts,
60 pairs socks,
20 vests,
6 caps,
6 jerseys,
19 bags,
87 scarves,
12 handkerchiefs,
50 pairs mittens,
2 various. 
Since the last report, owing to Christmastide, no extensive distribution has yet been made.  Mrs. W. Best has, however, sent 99 pairs of mittens to Queen Mary's Needlework Guild (recognized by the War Office), 50 pairs of socks to Mrs. Lloyd George's Fund for Welsh Troops, 2 pairs of socks for convalescent soldiers, and the following parcels to local men:—
Pte. Edwd. Wallis, R.A.M.C., 2 vests, 2 pairs socks, pair mittens; Pte. J. E. Roberts, 1st Welsh Horse, 2 shirts, pair socks, cap-scarf, mittens, handkerchief; Pte. E. Jones, 5360, 2nd Batt. R. W.F., 2 vests, shirt, pair socks, 2 hankerchiefs; Morris Williams, Montgomeryshire Yeomanry, 2 pairs socks, jersey, cap-scarf, mittens; Pte. A. Dean, 1st Welsh Horse, 2 vests, cap-scarf, pair socks, jersey, mittens.

During 1915 sixty-five parcels have been sent to local men, mostly all abroad at the time, and up to date only nine have not been acknowledged.

The next requisition for the County Comforts Association is another 1,000 scarves.  Mrs. Best has promised 120 this time, to be ready by Jan. 13th at latest.  Regulations are, “size, 10 in, by 58 in. —fleecy wool.”  The ends should be run in with a needle when finished.  Names and addresses should be attached to all mittens and scarves when brought in.

[This is such an odd mixture. At one extreme, local knitters were just a small part of a national scheme to provide thousands of scarves, under the direction of Sir Edward Ward, who had sent the requisition for 1.000 scarves to the county. At the other, they are sending personal parcels to several local men, as if they were family members.]    

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Kirkcudbright Cake and Candy Sale

From the Dumfries and Galloway Standard, 25th December 1915.

KIRKCUDBRIGHT WORK PARTY


Cake and Candy Sale


A cake, candy, produce, and toy sale, promoted by the Kirkcudbright War Work Party, working in connection with the scheme for voluntary organisations, was held in the Town Hall on Thursday afternoon.  There were three principal stalls, which had been erected by ex-Provost Wallace, and all were attractively decorated.

The cake and candy stall was in charge of Mrs MacMyn and assistants, and it contained a great quantity of tempting goods, including all sorts of fancy cakes, sweets, shortbread, etc., laid out in a manner well calculated to tempt purchasers.  Mrs Brown, Knockbrex, was convener of the toy stall, which was laden with an immense assortment of articles has likely to catch the eye of the youngsters, balls, crackers, Christmas stockings, teddy bears, toy crabs, Chinese lanterns, etc., were displayed in endless variety. The produce stall had for convener Miss Muir, Castle Street, and it simply groaned under its load of hares, pheasants, fowls, cheese, butter, etc. The flower stall, which contained a pretty collection, was in charge of Mrs R. L. Wilson; and the refreshment department was ably superintended by Miss Rankine.

There was a large attendance when the sale was formally opened.  Mrs. Brown, Knockbrex, presided, and in introducing Mrs Maitland, Cumstoun, to perform the opening ceremony, said that as usual they were out for money, and this time they wanted a great deal more than they had ever wanted before.  Already the Central Association had asked for 500 mufflers and 500 pairs of mittens for 8th January.  That meant a lot of work and a lot of money to buy wool.  The Kirkcudbright Work Party had 418 cuts of wool out just now, so they would gather from that how much money was wanted.  Last year the work had been very haphazard.  Various ladies throughout the county appealed for goods for their husbands' men, without saying what number of men or what quantity of goods, with the result that some soldiers got far more than they knew what to do with.  She heard of one soldier who got 15 pairs of socks and sent 14 pairs home to his papa.  (Laughter.)  That was obviously bad business.  Under the new arrangements there could be no recurrence of that kind of thing.  The Red Cross had done a great deal in connection with the Work Party, and some of them were present to assist that afternoon.  They had also given a contribution of £8 7s instead of taking a stall.  She had pleasure in introducing Mrs Maitland to open the sale,,,.

Mrs Maitland said she had been looking round the stalls, and felt sure that after all the good things on them had been eaten it would make all more kindly disposed towards our "Tommies," and work all the harder to provide the outer comforts that were so much wanted at the front.  She had great pleasure in declaring the sale open.  (Applause.)
...
A brisk business was then commenced and the goods quickly began to disappear from the stalls.  The proceedings were much enlivened by the programme of instrumental music submitted by Messrs J. M'Robert (piano), Mr J. M’Gowan (violin), and Mr H. Livingston (cornet).  Songs were tastefully rendered by Misses Logan and Rae and Gordon, and Master A. M’William.  Misses Gretta M’Lean and Marjorie MacMyn danced the pierrot and pierette dance; Miss Oliva Clark the tambourine dance; and Master D. MacMyn played a violin solo very nicely.  Madame Orynthia, the famous palmist, had numerous clients during the afternoon and evening to have their hands read.

The drawings amounted to £75 16s.

[I have included this mainly because of the frank admission that provision of comforts to men in the Army had previously been inefficient, and that the Work Party needed money to buy wool for the mufflers and mittens that had been asked for.  (A cut was a quantity of knitting yarn.) The sale did very well in taking  £75 16s. - at the start of the war, many working women earned no more than £1 for a 40 hour week, so this was a considerable sum.] 



Sunday, 27 December 2015

De Reszke Cigarettes

From the Halifax Courier, 24th December 1915.




Text:
Gentlemen of genial bent
Cease your lamentation
That you cannot blow a cent
On a pal's potation

Since the Rulers that you trust
Rank it a transgression,
Hospitable feeling must
Find a new expression.

Dash the tear drop from your eye -
Things are not so pesky:
Friendship may be fostered by
Standing a "De Reszke"! 

The World-famous Quality of "De Reszke" Cigarettes remains Unchanged and Unchallenged

"DE RESZKE" Cigarettes are neither reduced in size nor in quality. The only effect of the Budget is slightly to increase their price.  In actual fact the rate of increase is much less on "De Reszkes" than on any other standard brand.

Thus it would be false economy to substitute a cheaper brand for "De Reszkes."  You could not avoid the tax by this means. You would only add to the burden because if you are accustomed to the real enjoyment to be had through smoking "De Reszkes" you could never be satisfied with a cigarette of inferior quality.
"De Reszke" Cigarettes to-day command three fourths of all the trade in cigarettes at their price, a leadership gained and maintained through sheer merit alone.

Your Friend on Active Service!

If you intend to send him cigarettes remember he is worthy of the very best. So buy a box of "De Reszkes" and post them with your own hands. Then you know that they will reach him safely.


ONE QUALITY ONLY-THE BEST

[Table of prices for TENOR (large size ), BASSO (extra large size) and SOPRANO (Ladies' size).]

Your attention is particularly directed to the "De Reszke" AMERICAN Cigarette, which is recognised in the Trade as the finest cigarette of its kind in England.

Sold by all Tobacconists and Stores or post free from J. MILLHOFF & Co., 86, Piccadilly, W.

[The rhyme at the beginning refers to the 'no treating' order, introduced in October 1915:  no-one could buy a drink for another person in a pub.  This was intended to reduce alcohol consumption amongst working people - employers complained that drunkenness was reducing productivity (and so affecting the war effort).  Notice that the rhyme cleverly tells you how to pronounce De Reszke.   

De Reszke cigarettes had also been featured in The Illustrated London News earlier in December, in one of their 'Christmas in the Shops' advertising features.  

Presumably the tax on cigarettes had been recently increased,], 

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Comforts for the Troops: Mittens wanted

From The Brecon and Radnor Express, 23rd December 1915

COMFORTS FOR THE TROOPS.  


Sir.—The Director General of Voluntary Organisations has sent a requisition to our county depot for 500 pairs of mittens, which he desires the Radnorshire Association to forward as quickly as possible to his Base Depot at Havre.  Mittens should be 8 inches in length from wrist to knuckles with short thumbs and have long cuffs.  The hon. secretary, Mrs Gilbert Moseley, County Buildings, Llandrindod, will be glad to receive contributions of mittens, a single pair or more will be gratefully acknowledged.  This is the first requisition sent to our Association, and we are most anxious to be able to fulfil it satisfactorily.  There are 60 parishes in Radnorshire, will not each one help a little?  The need is real and as the articles are to be sent direct to France from Llandrindod, there is no fear of any delay in their reaching our men in the trenches.  We hope to be able to send off the parcel early in January or as soon as it can be ready.

—Yours faithfully. 
K. M. VENABLES LLEWELYN, 
President of Radnorshire Association, Halesworth, Suffolk. 
Dec. 17th, 1915. 

[Here is Sir Edward Ward (Director General of Voluntary Organisations) putting volunteers around the country to work, to supply exactly what he decided was needed.  Requisitions like the one sent to Radnorshire must have gone to every county association, presumably tailored to the size of the county.  I do wonder what the volunteers felt about the new system.  Previously each group had sent their comforts to specific groups of men - sending things to a depot in France for distribution to the Expeditionary Force must surely have seemed much more impersonal.]

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A British Canteen in Paris

From the Derbyshire Courier, 21st December 1915.

A British Canteen in Paris.

The British canteen at the Gare du Nord Station in Paris is one of the most useful of war institutions in that city.  The Women's Emergency Corps founded it in February.  It is worked by ten English ladies, each of whom contributes to the expenses, and they are on duty in three shifts during the 24 hours.  An immense cellar placed at their disposal has been converted into a warm and pleasant clubroom, capable of serving as dormitory, dining and sitting room, kitchen and storeroom.  Hundreds of soldiers and sailors, British. French and Belgian, use it daily, and both they and their officers appreciate thoroughly what is done for them.  This consists of preparing and serving a midday meal for nearly 300 men, distributing coffee, fruit and cigarettes to the wounded who arrive in hospital trains, and preparing and serving tea and supper to even a greater number.  Men on their way to and from the front sleep in the canteen, and always find a hot breakfast ready at whatever hour they may have to leave.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Training for Women

From the Derbyshire Courier, 21st December 1915.

Women and the L.C.C.


The London County Council has not lagged behind in recognising the importance of training women to take the places of men who will shortly join the colours.  It very wisely called in the aid of several highly educated and competent women, who drew up some schemes for training girls in a number of skilled London industries.  The result is that women have now a chance of learning better paid trades, and a new chapter of industry is beginning.  Courses for women and girls are given at the Borough Polytechnic in the mechanism of the motor car.  Superintended by a skilled motor-car engineer, the pupils learn to repair and clean the machinery, to take it to pieces, and to re-construct it.  The lessons are as perfect as it is possible to make them, and are given in a motor engineering workshop.  There are also “workshop” courses; where women can be prepared to take up skilled employment in the metal and wood industries.  Another course teaches women and girls to do all the “odd jobs” about a house, and at the Grocers’ Trade Schools many girls have prepared themselves to serve in grocers’ shops.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Lady Smith Dorrien's Hospital Bag Fund

From The Observer, December 19th, 1915.

LADY SMITH DORRIEN'S HOSPITAL BAG FUND.


Although this particular fund has now been running since last April and the bags supplied amount to 450,000, there are still people who are asking what exactly is the part played by them in the hospital regime.  The inspiration that prompted the kind thought was the fact that when a wounded man is taken to a casualty cleaning station his uniform is removed and the contents of his pockets placed on the floor beside his bed.  Or rather they were, before the advent of Lady Smith Dorrien's bags, which measure 10 by 12 inches, a size that suffices to hold all small personal treasures, and are consequently very highly appreciated by the wounded, who cling to their treasure bags, no matter how often they are moved—as frequently happens, to three and four hospitals—ere reaching England.

The fund is duly authorised by the War Office, who are finding the average daily output of 1,200 insufficient to meet the demands.  Therefore, Lady Smith Dorrien would gladly welcome the assistance of guilds, schools, working parties, or individuals who would be willing to undertake the delivery of a given number within a stated period.  Full particulars of the character and style of the bags best suited to the purpose can be had on application to Lady Smith Dorrien, 21, Eaton-terrace, S.W., together with a pattern bag, if required.

[The original appeal from Lady Smith Dorrien was published nationally in April 1915. Hospital bags seem to have proved very useful, especially in ensuring that a soldier's pay-book, containing his will and details of his next of kin, stayed with him when he was wounded.]


Friday, 18 December 2015

36 Million Pairs of Gloves

From the South Wales Weekly Post, 18th December 1915.


36 MILLION PAIRS OF GLOVES.


WHAT OUR MANUFACTURERS HAVE TO SUPPLY.

The shortness and dearness in all classes of raw material, combined with the shortage of labour, is constantly increasing prices.

A large underwear company advise firms at Swansea that the Government have called for 

Undervests    …   …   …    3,858,797
Woollen under-pants  …  11,797,479
Cardigans and jerseys …   4,990,123
Cap comforters    …   …    6,759,680
Body belts     ...    …   …    3,711,320
Worsted gloves    …   …    2,604,834 pairs
Worsted socks     …   …   36,033,523 pairs

It is computed by a large Swansea hosier that less than one-third of the manufacturing output is now available for civilians’ use.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Women's Part in the War

From The Times, 15th December 1915.

BEHIND THE WAR.


THE ENGLISH GIRL'S PART.

The market-place of the village of —, not very far from the front in Picardy, is crowded.  Pine boards, placed on low saw-horses, serve as counters of the canvas-roofed booths.  They groan under the weight of the wares piled upon them.  Picture post-cards and woollen mittens, socks and mufflers, leather purses, old books, torn sheet-music, spectacles, and pince-nez, which range in price from 4d. to ls., fresh vegetables and butter, fish and meat, cut flowers and chocolate, fowl and game (live and dead) are being sold to eager buyers.  Not the usual clientele of peasant women, but bronzed- faced, steel-helmeted French troopers, turned housemaids, are busy buying the week's supply for the messes of the hundreds of battalions quartered in the neighbourhood.....

A PAIR OF FAT DUCKS.

One corner of the market-place has become the centre of interest.  Out beyond the line of booths an old, wrinkle-faced peasant woman stands, holding a pair of fat ducks by the feet, one in each hand.  The birds wriggle and squawk, but she pays no attention to this: grasping them the more securely, she holds first one and then the other on high, that her customer, as well as the group of soldiers that has gathered, may inspect and admire the fine birds.  And the customer?  She is a khaki-clad, slim, young English girl.  Her skirt is short, her boots heavy and well-worn.  She has shoulder-straps on her Red Cross uniform, and her broad-brimmed felt hat shades a face tanned and burned by months of out-of-door life.  She is utterly unconscious of the crowd, and merely keeps on repeating to the duck woman, “Trop cher, trop cher.”  The woman bursts forth in an elegy of her ducks, in a French patois that sounds interesting, but is unintelligible.  “Trop cher” is the only reward she gets for her pains.  The young girl pulls a memorandum book out of her pocket, consults it, and then looks fixedly at the market-woman.  She evidently wants the ducks.  The woman remains obdurate.  Then the girl snaps close her notebook, and turns to go.  But the victory has been won.  The ducks are hers at her own price.  There is a murmur of admiration as the wriggling birds are borne off to the Red Cross motor-ambulance that stands waiting at the kerb.  The girl steps to the front of the car, cranks the heavy engine, jumps into her seat and in a moment is off, piloting her big motor ambulance through the confused traffic, across a narrow insecure temporary bridge.  “C’est chic, les Anglaises.” a bearded young veteran murmurs to a comrade, as the khaki-coloured car passes out of sight.

DOING MEN’S TASKS.

The participation of women in war tasks has in all countries been admirable.  The devotion of Frenchwomen in caring for the sick and wounded under the most difficult circumstances, even under heavy shell fire, has called forth justly merited praise.  But of all the belligerents Englishwomen alone have had an active share in the fighting, in that in so many cases they are doing a man’s work.  Hundreds of young Englishwomen have, for more than a year, been living close up to the front, working at men's tasks, with a skill and untiring cheerfulness that are astounding.

I was standing at the railway station of a village somewhere back of the French lines.  A trainload of wounded arrived.  A certain number of the wounded were allotted to the town.  They were removed from the train into a temporary waiting-room, and then to the ambulances.  I noticed that more than half of the stretcher bearers were women—Englishwomen— and the ambulances were driven by the same women.  The admiration of the French trooper for the amazon-like achievements of the Englishwomen knows no bounds.  Their own women are devoted, tender, and sympathetic nurses, but Les Anglaises are heroic.  A man who has been wounded three times during the war told me that the difference between a man and a woman driver of an ambulance was all to the credit of the latter.  “I would a thousand times rather be driven by a woman,” he said to me.  “They’ll look out for every pebble in the road, avoid every jolt, and it makes a difference, I can tell you, when you have got a bad pain in your body.”  As far as I can ascertain, Englishwomen are the only women in this war who have driven motor ambulances.  These services have been performed not only at British bases, but more particularly among the French.  Clad in fighting clothes, wherever there are fighting men there the Englishwoman is to be found.

Stretching across the rolling sand dunes of the north-east corner of France there are vast tent colonies, where for a year British women have been living under canvas, in all kinds of weather, nursing British wounded.  It is one thing to nurse the wounded in well-heated, comfortable hospitals, and another to live in a cramped, ill-heated, draughty tent, where one is obliged often to wade ankle-deep in mud to reach one's patients.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Women Sweepers in Glasgow

From the Glasgow Herald, 6th December, 1915. 

CLEANSING OF GLASGOW.


WOMEN AS SWEEPERS.

The Cleansing Committee of Glasgow Corporation drew the attention of the citizens recently to the great difficulty which the department is experiencing in overtaking work which is so essential to the health of a great community.  Owing to the large numbers of men who have enlisted into His Majesty's service the staff has been seriously depleted, and this state of affairs is becoming worse.  An appeal was made to householders to relieve the department by burning as much refuse as possible in the domestic fires.  The appeal has had a gratifying response, but much more might be done in this way with economic and sanitary results.  To relieve in some measure the pressure Mr Greig, the superintendent, has had about a dozen women engaged during the past weeks sweeping back courts, work which was formerly done by men who were beyond the age of the able-bodied class.  The experiment, which has been tried in various districts of the city, has proved so satisfactory that in all likelihood it will be extended.

[Mr Greig perhaps thought that he was very daring in employing women to do the work of men "beyond the age of the able-bodied class", but it's more than likely that many women in Glasgow were already doing much harder physical work.]  

Friday, 4 December 2015

Christmas in the Shops

From the Illustrated London News, 4th December 1915.

Christmas in the Shops. 

Always in touch with the times, Messrs. Wilson and Gill, of 139-141, Regent Street, W., in addition to their stock of jewellery, plate, etc., arc offering dainty naval and military badge-brooches in gold and enamel at moderate prices.  The A.S.C., illustrated, costs £3 17s. 6d.; the Naval badge, £4 10s.; and the Royal Flying Corps, £2 10s.  The badge of every regiment is kept.  There is a new gold identification-disc, forming locket, at 75s., which includes engraving of name, regiment, etc., and a gold neck-chain.  Treasury Note cases in black moirĂ©, pigskin, etc., cost from 5s. each.  Messrs. Wilson and Gill will send an illustrated catalogue on application.



For men on active service, or for ladies—for whom the pen is sold in a silk-lined case—an always acceptable Christmas gift is an "Onoto" Safety Fountain Pen, for it possesses the cardinal virtues of such pens: perfect freedom from risk of leakage; self-filling; cleanliness, and constant readiness for use.  The "Onoto" can be sent by post without fear of leakage.  For military use the pen is made to fit comfortably into the bottom of the regulation tunic pocket, where it is least likely to fall out and get lost.  It can be filled readily without any external appliance, from any ink supply, and as the ink is drawn through the nib in filling it does not get choked up.  The "Onoto" costs from 10s. 6d, and it can be seen at all stores, stationers, etc., or it can be ordered by post.



Not only at Christmas, but all the year round, those who are not faddists know that a little stimulant is often desirable to keep one in health, and, so long as moderation and purity are studied, physicians admit that a little whisky is wholesome and beneficial.  But it must fulfil these conditions, and the one which depends upon the distiller can be assured by choosing Messrs. Buchanan's Scotch whiskies, which are matured and carefully blended.  Their famous "Black and White" and "Red Seal" brands contain all the elements to ensure good health, and a case forms a very seasonable gift.

"Carter's" and "comfort" have become almost identical terms, for the skill of the well-known house of surgical engineers at 2, 4, and 6, New Cavendish Street, W., in producing apparatus for the increased ease and comfort of invalids, cripples, and those who are not strong is amazing.  In these days of war their inventions are peculiarly valuable, and much in request for presents.  Their catalogue, which will be sent on application, is a revelation. Their productions are not wholly for the wounded or the invalid.  Their "Rest and Comfort" chairs are made to conform to any position the tired body may desire.  These chairs are supplied from 37s. 6d. each.....

Eighteen months of war have served to show what is perhaps, the most welcome of all presents to men at the front or on the sea, whether officers or men, and that is tobacco.  In times of peace there is an endless variety of articles suitable as gifts for men; but to-day there is no doubt that the majority of those serving their country would prefer what is the best and most acceptable gift for any man at any time — a box of really good cigarettes.  With this in view, it would be well to buy some "De Reszke " cigarettes for men friends — "De Reszkes," because they are acknowledged to be a superlatively excellent brand.  A hundred "De Reszkes" mean a hundred thoughts of you, and the giving of a hundred pleasant times to the brave fellows who are fighting for their country—and for you.

…those seeking Christmas presents will find a luxurious host of them, of all kinds and at all prices, at the show-rooms of Messrs. Charles Packer and Co.. 76 and 78, Regent Street.  This year they are wisely specialising in articles cognate to the war, for anything that is of use to our men at the front makes irresistible appeal just now; and at Messrs. Charles Packer's there is, for instance, a small, compact match-box case in silver, the lid of which, when open, forms a miniature wind-screen, behind which a light can be obtained under any conditions.  This will prove a real boon in the trenches, and is in much demand.  In solid silver its price is a guinea, and no more welcome present for soldier, sailor, or civilian could be desired.  A luminous wrist-watch, too, is an indispensable part of field equipment, and Messrs. Packer offer some for £2 15s. complete, with luminous hands and figures.  It is strong and serviceable, and a perfect time-keeper.  Of military-badge brooches, which form ideal Christmas boxes for ladies, Messrs. Packer make a speciality, supplying the badge of any regiment set as a brooch and made in fine gold and enamels, correct in every detail, for two guineas each.  A fully illustrated catalogue of Messrs. Packer's fine collection of jewellery and plate will be sent, post free.

There are some seasonable presents which are universally acceptable, and although the time-honoured axiom, "sweets to the sweet," holds good, there are some "sweets" which are equally appreciated by ladies, children, and our soldiers and sailors.  Of such is Mackintosh's Toffee de Luxe, and the sugar, butter, and cream which are its ingredients give it a real warming, stimulating, and food value.  Mackintosh’s Toffee, nicely put up in tins and made by Mackintosh, of Toffee Town, Halifax, is a seasonable and welcome gift to young and old, and no doubt will be included in countless parcels sent to our brave defenders by land and sea.




Appeal for Mufflers

From the Denbighshire Free Press, 4th December 1915.

DENBIGHSHIRE COUNTY COMFORTS ASSOCIATION. 


We hear that, although the notice that they were required was very short, the 1,000 pairs of mittens asked for by the War Office by November 25th, were successfully provided by the county, in response to the appeal of the Association, and were at once sent out to France.  A fresh War Office requisition for 1,000 mufflers before December 15th has now been received, and an earnest appeal to all workers is made for their help to provide these.  The mufflers should be 58 inches long, by 10 inches wide, of khaki wool.  This can be obtained at cost price from the Association Depot now established at the Drill Hall (and open on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons from 2 till 4), and a rebate of threepence per lb weight will be returned to the working parties on the finished articles brought in to the Depot.

[It seems very strange to me that the War Office should have arbitrarily designated mittens and mufflers as 'comforts', i.e. luxuries, that they were not going to provide, and then started issuing requisitions for them (through Sir Edward Ward).  It seems a churlish way to treat volunteers too.  Apart from other considerations, if the War Office wanted thousands of mufflers, they could easily have had them made by machine, rather than asking hand-knitters to provide them.]       

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Comforts for Bedfordshire Soldiers

From the Bedfordshire Times and Independent, 3rd December 1915. 

COMFORTS FOR SOLDIERS.


MEETING OF LADY AMPTHILL’S COMMITTEE.

A meeting of the Committee of Ladies to provide comforts for the Regular Battalions and Special Reserves of the Bedfordshire Regiment, was held at the Shire Hall on Saturday morning.  Lady Ampthill was in the chair, and there were present [several other ladies], Colonel Tilly, Hon. Treasurer, and Miss Tilly, Assistant Secretary.

A letter was received from the officer commanding the 147th Company of Cheshire Engineers, stating that there were 15 Bedfordshire men in that regiment, and asking for comforts to be supplied to them. Considerable discussion arose on this problem as it was considered that the fund was subscribed for the benefit of the Bedfordshire Regiments and each county was looking after its own regiment.

A letter from Major Poyntz, Officer Commanding the 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, asked for a supply of tobacco, cigarettes, curry powder, tinder lighters, handkerchiefs, bootlaces, mouth-organs, candles, safety matches, footballs, and cocoa.

Lady Ampthill remarked that the War Office stated that there were nine million pairs of socks ready for distribution to the troops and she thought some steps should be taken to ascertain why the Bedfordshire Regiment needed socks.
....
The question arose as to whether anything should be done by this Committee for the various Bedfordshire Battalions of Kitchener's Army.  It was felt that this was a small county and not over rich, and it was stated that the 6th and 7th battalions were practically all Hertfordshire men.  At Hitchin and elsewhere much good work was being done to provide their men with comforts.
....
Lady Ampthill stated that the children of one school at Wilden had made 54 pairs of socks, and thought that was extraordinarily good.
Col. Tilly said there was a letter from the Director of Education stating that the children in the Schools under the County Education Committee were engaged in making a number of garments for the men of the Bedfordshire Regiment. A consignment of 278 pairs of socks, 265 pairs of mittens, and 265 scarves had already left his office.
The Committee expressed much satisfaction.

[This is a cut-down version of the original report.  Lady Ampthill's committee had evidently been set up to support the Regiment at the start of the war, when it consisted only of the battalions of the Regular Army and the Territorials.   It was unable to cope with the vast expansion of the Army, and hence of the Bedfordshire Regiment.  There are  obvious inconsistencies in their decisions - not supporting the Bedfordshire men in the Cheshire Engineers, because a Cheshire fund should provide for them, but also not supporting the 6th and 7th Battalions because they were mostly not Bedfordshire men.  

Many of the things asked for by Major Poyntz are. as usual, hardly luxuries - candles and matches, bootlaces, handkerchiefs.   And if no-one was supplying these things to the 6th and 7th Battalions, how were they managing?   

From Lady Ampthill's remark about 9 million pairs of socks, I assume that Major Poyntz or some other officer had also asked for socks.  She is confused (as I am) by the statements from the War Office saying that there was an adequate supply of socks, and the  requests from officers, claiming the opposite.]