Thursday, 8 March 2018

Games For The Men

From The Times, March 6th 1918.


Sir,—May I, of your kindness, have another word with my knitters who by the end of this letter will all be turned into something else?  First, to many inquirers, we want all comforts up till April, when a short holiday may be taken—but the needles must on no account be locked up for the summer. Of this more later.

Then I am asked to enlist all friends of sweaters in the following plan.  The Director-General's depôts at Havre, Basra, and elsewhere when doling out the knitted comforts are constantly asked for things of which we never have anything like enough—notably games.  It is these I am now charged to ask all readers with a kindly feeling for the Army to supply.  I can well believe that in the psychology of war, with the infinite patience entailed on all ranks, amusement cannot be called a side issue.  Probably every house in England has a game to spare for the bother of looking it out and sending it.  I don't mean my old friend the pack with 51 cards in it, nor yet Aunt Emily's most ingeniously invented parlour bobo (I hope I have the name rightly, but the MS. instructions are thrice crossed).  Further, racquets are best sent complete with strings, and balls should be of the round shape with some life in them.  Above are indications of what we don't want; here is a preliminary list of what we do:—Everything used for bowls, boxing, cards, chess, cricket, draughts, football, golf, halma, "house," and similar games, hockey, quoits, and tennis.  Also the kit needed, especially shoes and shorts.  Any addition, dictated by good sense and good feeling rather than spring cleaning, can be made to this list.  Extra netting for tennis courts, etc., will be very useful.  I am afraid some of these things are not so easy to post as sweaters, but they can be handed in at any of the local depôts of the Director-General of Voluntary Organizations throughout the country, where this is more convenient than sending them to the Central Pool, at 45, Horseferry-road, S.W.1.

I must recur to sweaters for a moment.  I am most grateful not only on behalf of the men for the quantity sent me (46,405 sweaters and 66,122 other comforts up to date), but also for the glimpses with which I have been honoured into thousands upon thousands of homes willing to give nothing but their best, and having no feeling beyond pride and gratitude for those they serve.

Yours faithfully,
Games to Sir E, Ward, D.G.V.O., 45, Horseferry-road. S.W.1.  Correspondence, marked Games, to John Penoyre, 8, King's Bench Walk, Temple, E.C.4.

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