Saturday, 3 January 2015

Presents for the 2nd Bedfords

Sunday 3rd January 1915: Major W. H. Denne, commanding officer of the 2nd Bedfords tells us: “A large consignment of presents arrived from the Women of Bedfordshire Comforts’ Fund a few days ago, consisting of a towel, a handkerchief, one piece of soap and two candles. This has been distributed to the men of the battalion and I cannot tell you how delighted they were with it. They call it the best present they have ever had, and from what I hear I think it must be true. If I may make a suggestion I should like to say that socks are one of the most needed things these days. A very few days in the trenches wears them out. Then again gloves not mittens are always required. Would you mind expressing my very best thanks to the “Women of Bedfordshire” for their great kindness and forethought in providing the men of the Battalion with so many comforts. You will only be able to realise how much they appreciate them when they come home and can speak for themselves”.

Lady Ampthill, who runs the committee, adds that a pot of Vaseline and a cake of chocolate were also sent to each man. Beside this Christmas largesse she tells us the committee has also sent out over the months: 1,833 pairs of socks; 1,321 pairs of mittens; 914 scarves; 535 body belts; 453 shirts; 50 housewives (1); 88 sleeping helmets; 24 pairs of kneecaps; 12 cardigans; 8 chest protectors; 4 Thermos flasks; 31,000 cigarettes; 6 gross of matches; tooth brushes; writing paper; peppermints; acid drops; tinder lighters; letter-wallets; braces; boracic condiment and cold cream.

Source: Bedfordshire Times 15th January 1915

(1) A housewife (pronounced “hussif”) was the army term for an all-purpose sewing kit.

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