Tuesday, 3 February 2015

National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies

From the Brecon County Times, 4th February 1915.


National Union W.S.S. Meeting at Brecon. 

On Thursday night a fairly well attended public meeting was held at the Town Hall, Brecon, under the auspices of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, with the object of setting forth the work which the Union is carrying on during the war. ....

The purpose of their gathering was chiefly to collect money for hospital work, which was run by the Union in France, and that was a very worthy object.  Women could not take their place in the fighting line, and therefore they were trying to make up for it by collecting money to maintain hospitals for the wounded at the Front.  They were endeavouring to alleviate the sufferings of our gallant soldiers as much as possible. (Applause.) Unfortunately, only a small number of women were sufficiently qualified to take posts as nurses, and she was far from being in favour of unqualified nurses rushing out to the Front from the mere excitement of the thing. (Hear, hear.)  In the case of those who were not qualified to go out as nurses, but were anxious to give personal service, the Union tried to train them to become efficient nurses.  Others could help by assisting the wives and dependants of soldiers at home. This was a time when there was special need for care to be taken of those left at home. Mrs Devereux concluded by saying that the work carried out by the Union might safely be recommended to the public, and deserved their support. (Applause.)
Mrs Whalley, who was well received, spoke at some length on “Women's Work in War Time.”  While reading a book against the Women's Suffrage Movement some time ago, she came across the phrase, “You don't get public spirit in our women.”  She was really astonished by the phrase... Since the outbreak of the war she bad been working in London, and there she had been amazed at the volume of public spirit that was in women.  The Women's Suffrage Movement started about 50 years ago, and their Union was now a very large and wealthy society but when the war broke out they at once changed from a political society to a relief society.  They placed all trained women at the disposed of the country to do relief work, and now they had a great many more trained nurses than they had money to equip them ready to send them to the Front and their object in holding that meeting was to secure more help.  Proceeding, Mrs Whalley dealt in a clear manner with the excellent work which the Union was carrying out amongst the women at home, their successful efforts in establishing women's patrol police in London, and the Girls' Cadet Corps.  They were also working in co-operation with the Co-operative Guild to check infantile mortality, and that in itself was excellent.  In conclusion she asked them to remember both those who had gone out to fight our battle, and those left at home, and the least they could do was to give something to alleviate the sufferings of our brave soldiers. (Applause.)

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