Friday, 31 October 2014

Halifax Lady Workers

From the Halifax Courier, 31 October 1914. 


To D Company, 2nd Batt. W.R. Regt., [West Riding Regiment] British Expeditionary Force: 150 shirts, 72 pairs socks, 48 scarves, 36 pairs cuffs, 48 handkerchiefs, 60 belts, 2 pairs pants, meat lozenges, cards, bootlaces, &c.

To 6th Batt. W.R.R., Captain Andrews: 144 shirts, 144 pairs socks, 132 belts, 132 helmets, 96 pairs mittens, 96 handkerchiefs.

To 6th Batt., Captain Fleming: 120 shirts, 120 pairs socks, 120 scarves, 54 pairs mittens.

To 6th Batt., Lieut. Sykes: 123 shirts, 123 pairs socks, 123 scarves, 48 pairs mittens, 17 helmets.

To Anglo-French Red Cross Society: 24 helpless shirts, 24 nightshirts, 12 bed jackets, 24 nightingales, 48 handkerchiefs, box of bandages.

Royal Halifax Infirmary: 50 bed jackets, 48 nightshirts, 24 helpless shirts, 24 triangular bandages, roller bandages, pads, bed socks, old linen.

To Nurse Fox, France, 12 helpless cases, 6 housewifs, 12 pairs bed socks, 12 scarves, 12 nightingales, 48 handkerchiefs, 12 pairs cuffs, 2 pairs slippers, tobacco, cigarettes, soap, cards.

[If all these had been produced in one week, the Mayoress's lady workers had been very busy indeed.  

The 2nd Battalion of the West Riding Regiment was part of the pre-war army, and was already in France with the British Expeditionary Force.  The 6th was a Territorial Battalion, still in training in this country for active service overseas. 

Nurse Fox was from a Halifax family, and had written a long letter published in the Courier earlier in October, about her work in France, and conditions there for nurses and wounded soldiers.  She had asked for things for the men she was looking after, especially cigarettes. The consignment to her is presumably in response to that, and perhaps further letters to her family.  The 'housewifs' may be for the nurses, rather than their patients - little sewing kits, pronounced (and sometimes spelt) 'hussifs'.  

Part of Nurse Fox's earlier letter follows.]

From the Halifax Courier, 10th October 1914 

We have had a very heavy day, and the men want a lot doing for them.  They have been in the trenches a fortnight, and come in very quiet, but soon buck up after a night or two’s rest and good food.  We caught a German spy last night near our duty room, and he is now in irons, with a guard over him.  If any one offers you anything either for the men or us, grab and address it to me quick.  If only all of you knew

"Woodbines' and sweets cheer them wonderfully.  Writing materials, papers, handkerchiefs, and things like that are needed.  When the men arrive they have lost everything except uniform.  They are good boys, and deserve all they have given.  You never hear a murmur except when the nerve has quite gone from them.  As we came along we saw a lot of French sick on a platform, and they looked famished.  We asked them if they were hungry, with the result all our grub was handed over, and we raided a Red Cross place, and got some bread and fruit. 

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