Monday, 4 May 2015

Never Enough Socks

From the Portsmouth Evening News, 5th May 1915


Appeal to Continue Knitting.

Although the Government has placed huge orders with manufacturers for the supply of socks for our soldiers and sailors, the supply does not approach the demand, and an appeal is made to the women of the country to help to make up the deficiency.  Lady French declares there can never be enough socks.  Each man requires a pair of socks a week, and no machine-made socks are equal to those knitted by hand, either for wear or comfort.
The advent of warmer weather has apparently given rise to the impression that no further woollen garments are required for our soldiers and sailors.  This is quite erroneous, and in the early hours of the morning, lying asleep in the open air, or during the night watches on board a war ship such comforts are keenly appreciated.
There are many hospitals, camps, and charitable institutions where gifts of woollen garments will be received with grateful appreciation.

From the Yorkshire Evening Post, 3rd May 1915.


Since going to the front the 8th West Yorkshire Regiment (Leeds Rifles) have done so much marching that they have worn out their socks.  In a letter to his wife, Major Alexander, the acting commanding officer, appeals to the public of Leeds to provide the battalion with a thousand pairs at once. Parcels containing wool or socks should be addressed to Mrs. Alexander, 29a, Bond Street (Basement of the Philosophical Hall), Leeds, and letters containing remittances—which should be made payable to Capt Illingworth—may be sent to the same address.  Mrs Kitson Clark has still some wool in stock, and ladies who are prepared to knit it into socks are asked to apply also at the above address.

From the Halifax Courier, 8th May 1915

Many ladies have suspended their sock knitting in on the understanding that the Government supply was more than sufficient.  This is a mistake and the appeal is that women should make up the deficiency.  Lady French declares there can never be enough socks.

[There had been an official announcement from the War Office early in April that "there is now such a large stock of clothing, under-clothing, mufflers, &c., both overseas and at home, that no further supplies of warm clothing need be sent to the troops." Socks were then mentioned in the list of things that had been supplied by the War Office, with the implication that these were enough.  But Lady French was the wife of Sir John French, leader of the British Expeditionary Force in France, and had previously been asked by the War Office to collect a vast quantity of mufflers for the troops, so she must have based her appeal for more socks on sound evidence. The usual mixed messages and confusion.]  

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