What Every “Hospital Blue” Likes To Have.
A Way in Which We All Can Do Our “Bit” for Lady Smith-Dorrien’s Hospital Bag Fund.
OUR soldier lads travel pathetically light; I mean, of course, as regards their own personal belongings, for their official kit and equipment is alarmingly burdensome, as we know who so often have them in heavy marching order.
It is only when Tommy is wounded, when he has achieved "a Blighty one," and is being borne carefully and tenderly to a hospital at home, that he is able to carry with him his small treasures and have the satisfaction of knowing that they are beside his cot, ready to hand.
Now, there are so many of us who simply long to help in the great cause, and yet wonder how we can do so; we seem to have so few pennies, so little time. Maybe we are busy house-mothers, with even more household tasks than usual now that prices are so high and help so scant. Or perhaps we are on munitions, or doing whole-day jobs; or, alas! we are the "laid by" ones of sofa and sick room.
How can we help brave Jack and Tommy when they most need help?
Here is one very practical answer—we can do our share towards that clever and widely spread organisation-of a soldier's wife—Lady Smith-Dorrien's Hospital Bag Fund. Surely we can each find the necessary piece of material and make one bag to hold all those sacred personal belongings that the sick soldier cherishes so fondly.
When Tommy is in hospital he likes to know that his pet possessions are close to hand. His khaki uniform and heavy coat are put away, out of sight, but the things from his pockets he is allowed to keep in one of these cretonne bags hanging at the top of his bed. It is nice to have the photographs of the dear home folk within reaching distance. Then "somebody's" letter can be taken out of the bag and read over again if Tommy feels a wee bit homesick.
WE need not be skilled sempstresses. Really, these bags are simplicity itself; all that we must be careful about is so easy to remember.
Make your bag so that it is 12 inches by 14 inches long when finished, and see that it has two separate tape drawstrings. A single one run round twice is not permissible. And two inches from the bottom of the bag sew firmly—all round, mind—a label of white glazed calico, measuring 2 inches deep by 4 inches long.
AS GAY AS POSSIBLE.
BAGS can be made of any strong, new washing material, but the writer has a little "notion" of her own that you may care to borrow. You might use old linen shirt collars and cuffs, when available, for the labels. Choose the gayest and prettiest of cretonne for the material. Our little diagrams will help you. ...
If you belong to a sewing party, you might each provide a separate bag for this good cause. In this case tie the bags in tens, unfolded, and send them to the depot, 26, Pont Street, S.W. 1. From the depot, as you know, you can borrow a pattern bag if you wish.
Just to show how impartial is the generosity of the fund, we would tell you that French, Belgian, Italian, Serbian, and Roumanian soldiers have rejoiced over their gifts of bags, and, of course, so has every soldier of our own race and colonies.
Figures are dull things sometimes— not always. Send for the leaflet of this fund, and you will revel in such figures as two millions, six hundred thousand, five hundred and ten—when you realise that they mean a bag for the cherished personal belongings of that number of brave fighting lads!
It is sad to reflect that the large demand for these bags still continues—but it is a fact.
Let us all determine to provide at least one during the coming month. There are few women who do not have at least an hour or two every day to spare. It would be dreadful to think that some poor soldier lacked a bag for his treasures while we could so easily make one in an evening's leisure.
[The tone of this article is much more sentimental than other appeals for Lady Smith-Dorrien's scheme - for instance here. It's also a bit muddled - it starts off saying that he is only able to carry his 'small treasures' with him when he is wounded - in fact, as the writer says later, the bag was to contain the contents of his pockets, when his uniform was removed.
'Hospital Blue' refers to the uniform worn by wounded soldiers when they were well enough to be out of bed.]