Thursday, 7 May 2015

Girls' Patriotic Clubs

From the North Wales Chronicle, 7th May 1915.



(To the Editor).
Sir,—May I, as I am deeply convinced of the need of this movement, ask your help in making known, through the columns of your valuable paper, the necessary work that is now in hand, for establishing Girls' Patriotic Clubs near Military Centres, of which we have some, and sadly require others.

The time that has elapsed since Lord Kitchener wrote his never-to-be-forgotten message to the troops, has but served to show the necessity for his warning.  It has brought to the women of England the realisation of their responsibility in helping the men to maintain the high ideal so necessary to the success of our arms.

The object of these clubs is to provide a place for social intercourse for girls and their men friends, which they lack owing to the absence of any accommodation large enough for a sudden military influx.  A canteen, where light refreshments can be obtained, is also essential.  Over twenty of these clubs have already been started, and are so much appreciated by the girls and men that requests from all parts are reaching the Central Committee for others without delay.  To enable them to do this an Alphabetical Scheme has been started, 26 ladies having consented to receive donations from a penny upwards, sent to 33, Park Lane, W.  For example, everyone whose name begins with E is to send to Lady French (Eleanor), with O to Lady Smith-Dorrien, and so on with each letter of the alphabet.  Already there is a keen competition between the alphabetic treasurers to secure the first place in their letter, and I am anxious that our county should do well.

Will all your readers help to make the effort a success in our county?  The London Press have loyally co-operated in giving prominence to the work with excellent results.  The following have joined me in this scheme, each of whom will be glad to receive the smallest subscription from anyone whose Christian name begins with the same letter as themselves.  Personally, I am confidently hoping on Denbighshire being first.

A. Adeline—Duchess of Bedford.
B. Countess of Portsmouth.
C. Duchess of Marlborough.
D. Countess of Malmesbury.
E Duchess of Sutherland & Lady French.
F. Frances—Lady de Lisle and Dudley.
G  Countess of Albemarle & Countess of Lanesborough.
H. Duchess of Hamilton.
I. The Lady Idina Hythe.
J.  The Lady Joan Verney & Lady Jellicoe.
K. Duchess of Leeds.
L. Duchess of Beaufort.
M. Countess of Selborne.
N. Mrs Astor.
O. Lady Smith Dorrien.
P. The Lady Phillida Shirley.
Q. The Lady John Kennedy.
R. Viscountess Ridley.
S. Countess Brassey.
T. Theodosia—Lady Boughey.
U. Miss Ursula Buckley.
V. Countess of Leitrim.
W. Winifred—Countess of .Arran.
X & Y. - Miss Yvone Fitzroy.
Z. Countess Zia de Torby. 

Coed Coch,
April 30th, 1915.

[I don't know what Kitchener's "never-to-be-forgotten message to the troops" was.  (If I ever knew, I have forgotten, obviously.)

Some of these women have appeared in earlier posts.  Lady French had appealed for mufflers in October 1914, on behalf of the War Office, and Lady Smith-Dorrien (Olive) appealed here for bags for the personal items of wounded men.  Countess Zia Torby had been  raising funds for her father's fund for gloves and mittens for the troops, during the winter.   Nancy Astor was an American socialite living in London - she later became the first woman to take a seat in the House of Commons.   
The idea of raising money from women with the same initial seems an odd one, though a similar idea had been reported  in January, here.  In the competition between the treasurers, some were obviously handicapped from the start.   Collecting from women with initial Q must have been a thankless task - even Lady John Kennedy who was assigned Q seems to have been called Adelaide Mary, and not a 'Q' name.    Whereas  Rosamond, Viscountess Ridley, Maud, Countess of Selborne and maybe Violet, Countess of Leitrim, would have had a better chance.  I think my money would have been on the As, though.  

But I really don't understand how there could be a a geographical dimension as well - how could Denbighshire come first in a competition between first names?]


  1. Kitchener's Message to the Troops of the BEF is reprinted in several places. Here's one, from a Candian source. It's on page 9:

    1. Thanks for that pointer. The message does make more sense of the article.

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