Thursday, 26 February 2015

Knitted Helmets for Soldiers

From the North Wales Chronicle, 26th February 1915.



(To the Editor).
Sir,—I should be so much obliged if you would, by inserting this letter, help me to make known that knitted helmets are one of the most urgently-needed "comforts" for soldiers at the front or going there.  Comparatively few knitters make them or have the best and simplest receipt, so I venture to append it.  These helmets are very easy to make, use up very little wool, and are almost impossible to buy ready-made.

May I take this opportunity of offering my most grateful thanks to all the kind senders of very generous gifts of various warm comforts, all of which have been most welcome and useful.  I hope they will be so good as to go on sending me more whenever they can, to the same address, 1, Hereford Gardens. London, W.

A full list of the contributions sent to me and to the other ladies in North Wales who collect for the 3rd Battalion R.W.F. and the Denbighshire Yeomanry will, I hope, be published shortly in the papers.—I remain, sir, with many thanks, yours faithfully,

February 24th.


Five needles, sizes 10; two skeins of any wool (of suitable colour), such as is used for mufflers.  Cast on 90 loosely.  Knit round in rib 3 plain 3 purl for four inches. Leave 21 stitches on fifth needle, and knit the remaining stitches backwards and forwards plain for 80 rows.  Take care to knit the first and last stitch of each row; do not slip it.  Divide on 3 needles with 21 on centre needle and 24 on each of the 2 side needles.  Knit the 21 backwards and forwards, and at the end of each row knit the last stitch together, with the nearest stitch on the outside needle.  Do this till all the 24 stitches have been taken off the two outside needles, and only 21 on the centre needle remain.  Pick up all the stitches round the face and knit in rib of 3 and 3 for about two inches.  Cast off.

[Alice Douglas Pennant had written to the same paper in October 1914, giving a pattern for knitted body belts, for the Queen's appeal.  (See here.)   I am not sure whether she had any official connection with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (R.W.F.) or the Denbighshire Yeomanry, or whether they had specifically asked for helmets.  

Shops selling knitted goods often included helmets in their advertising, so I think that, in spite of what the writer says, in many places it was possible to buy helmets ready-made.]   


  1. I am a women's history, literature, and handwork enthusiast! I so enjoy your entries! Thank you! What a window into this bygone world!

    1. Thanks for your comments, matty. So pleased that you are enjoying the blog.