Not only a duty, but a privilege

Knitters were applauded by the dignitary in charge of co-ordinating support for the troops.

Winter Comforts for the Troops: Sir E. Ward’s Appeal

Colonel Sir Edward Ward, Director-General of Voluntary Organizations, has sent the following letter to all voluntary associations affiliated under the Army Council’s scheme for the co-ordination of voluntary work. It is published for general information and as an appeal to all outside workers to assist in providing comforts for the troops.

Office of the Director-General of Voluntary Organizations, Scotland House, New Scotland Yard, S.W.1, July 7, 1917.

Dear Sir

When I appealed to the women of Great Britain just a year ago to make winter comforts for our Armies at the various battle fronts, we all hoped it might be our last winter campaign, but whatever may happen before next winter it is clear that vast forces will in any event occupy the field, and it is therefore incumbent upon us to make full and adequate provision to ensure a sufficient supply of warm comforts for our men, no matter where they may be serving.

All the workers affiliated under my department have worked so loyally and so well that I have no hesitation in making a personal appeal to every one of them to look upon it not only as a duty, but as a privilege to provide as many knitted mufflers, mittens, helmets, sweaters or cardigans and hand knitted socks as they possibly can, between now and Christmas, and to send them, as and when they are made, to the local voluntary organization’s depot, in order that they may be sorted, packed, and dispatched overseas for general distribution to the troops.

I feel sure all workers who have the welfare of the soldiers at heart – which I know your workers have – will appreciate the great importance of ‘pooling’ all gifts. The machinery for distribution, through the medium of the comforts pool at the various battle fronts has been gradually perfected, with the result that Officers have only to make their wants known to the special officer-in-charge of the comforts pool, in any theatre of war, where they are quartered, to ensure the immediate delivery of the comforts required for their men.

As the war has progressed numerous new units have been formed and we now have hundreds of thousands of men in labour companies, machine gun units, trench mortar batteries, and many other arms of Service who have no particular association looking after them; again there are countless service battalions of men who rely entirely upon the comforts pools for those comforts they so greatly need.

I ask you individually and collectively to spare no effort to keep the pool well filled in order that no soldier shall be without his comforts, and you can rest assured that any little sacrifice which you make will be repaid a hundred times by the satisfaction of knowing that you have at elast done your share in helping the fighting men to endure hardships.

Individual workers who cannot conveniently send their gifts to a local centre may forward them by post to the Comforts Depot, 45, Horseferry Road, Westminster S.W.

Yours truly E.W.D. Ward.

Wargrave parish magazine, August 1917 (D/P145/28A/31)

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