Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Too Many Comforts?

From the Aberdeen Journal, 6th April 1915. 


A writer in a military journal warns men who are returning from France on leave to refrain from telling philanthropic ladies that the troops are using their knitted comforts to clean rifles with, etc., etc.  It has already done a great deal of damage.  Here is a case in point. A sergeant-major returning to this native village sent a message to a wealthy lady whose charity is well known to say "not to send any more body belts, as the soldiers are throwing them away."  Now, there were eight women knitting in that house for the past month for the troops.  Immediately on receiving this message all belts were stopped.  In consequence it is becoming harder every month to keep our regiments supplied with comforts.

[I have seen several reports that some of the comforts sent to the Front were not needed and so used for other purposes (or thrown away).  It's not clear from this report whether soldiers on leave shouldn't say that comforts weren't needed because it wasn't true at all, or because it was true in some cases, but not always.  It certainly seems to have been true that the distribution of comforts was uneven.  Some units who had a well-organised group of supporters at home might have been over-supplied, while others got nothing.   The provision of comforts would be brought under tighter control later in 1915.

'Sister Susie' had become a shorthand way of referring to providers of comforts.]  


  1. How sad. But even today, there is much a similar problem. Some groups get tons of "help", some useful, some not, and other groups can't seem to get a knitted washcloth, and go begging, as it were. I must say, I really enjoy reading your snippets!


    1. Uneven supply of comforts seems to have been a problem in 1915 because some of the 'comforts' were things that seem to be necessities rather than luxuries. It's a very confusing situation, though - the War Office kept saying they were providing enough, and then changing their minds.