Thursday, 10 March 2016

Women’s War Work in Huddersfield

From the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 10th March 1916.



We are requested by the Mayoress of Huddersfield to give publicity to the details of the work done by the Ladies’ Committee for Soldiers and Sailors.  In the first monthly report since the reconstruction of the work the committee express indebtedness to the Mayor and Corporation for so kindly placing the furnished premises, 23, Ramsden Street, at their disposal.  With the exception of such minor expenses as stationery, postage, cleaning, and carriage on goods all the money subscribed goes directly to providing “necessary comforts” for soldiers and sailors.  During the past eighteen months 145,297 articles have been sent away in 626 consignments and 248 parcels to individuals.  It was a gratifying fact that only two consignments had been lost--one through theft and another through the carelessness of depot authorities in France.  Through the generosity of manufacturers in gifts of cloth they had been able to make 1,564 dressing gowns and 3,614 blankets, worth altogether £3,371.  Dressing gowns were now a special feature of the work, and none of the other goods sent out had brought forth quite so much unqualified praise as these had done.  Living amidst the cloth mills they looked upon this branch of the work as their special mission, and they would welcome any further gifts of cloth.  During the three months they had been affiliated with the Central Organisation in London 7,732 articles had been requisitioned from the Huddersfield depot.  Speaking of the difficulty experienced in delivering parcels, the committee cannot sufficiently thank Miss Sykes for having done this work.  As Miss Sykes could not continue it the Boy Scouts had willingly come to their assistance.  A recent emergency call from Clipstone Camp for “bomb bags” was answered by the despatch of 3,378 bags within five days.


In conclusion the Mayoress, in a communication to the people of Huddersfield, says: — “I feel it is only due to you who give so freely and work so hard for our fund that you should be informed from time to time of the progress of our work, and I cannot do better than quote extracts from the hon. secretary's last report given at the meeting in the Mayor's Reception Room on March 2nd.  (Then are given the details summarised above.)  These details will suffice to show you that after eighteen months our work still goes on with unabated enthusiasm, and I once more make an urgent appeal, not only for funds to carry out the work, but for personal service.  In conclusion may I emphasise the great demand for socks.  The need is now.  Every woman in our midst can knit, and we cannot in justice to ourselves and to the men at the front, whether they are our men or those of our brave Allies, turn a deaf ear or even a dilatory ear to their appeals.”

["Necessary comforts" is an odd phrase, though I have often thought that the things provided to men at the front as comforts sound more like necessities, and perhaps the Mayoress thought that too. 
People giving this kind of report on work done during the war did love to give precise counts of everything. 145,297 articles is an impressive total, though I doubt if that figure is accurate to the last bandage.  
I have no idea what bomb bags were - Clipstone Camp was a very large Army training camp near Mansfield.
A lot of similar reports and appeals from 'comforts' groups about this time were stressing the need for socks - although as far as I know, Sir Edward Ward was not asking for them officially.]   

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