Tuesday, 22 December 2015


Wednesday 22nd December 1915: In response to complaints from the 6th Battalion (see 17th December), when it had been ascertained that the 6th and 7th Battalions had been somewhat overlooked in the general provision made for the troops of the county, the Mayor and Mayoress made on their behalf a special appeal, which has met with a good response. On Monday morning we found a number of soldiers from the Barracks packing ten substantial bales of woollen goods for the 7th Battalion. We were informed that Sergeant Hassall, who was returning to duty on Tuesday after a period of leave would take with him those ten bales and a melodeon which was the gift of Mrs A L Field.

In looking through the list of gifts we noticed, here and there, a musical instrument. Socks, mittens and mufflers have been made by the ladies’ working party in the Corn Exchange, but mittens and helmets have been knitted by school girls and people in different parts of the town and county. The Recreations Committee has supplied wool to the Elementary Schools to be made up into those articles, but the available funds were not sufficient to extend the wool supply beyond these limits and the government has not been supplying materials for some time. The higher Girls’ School and the private workers in the town have therefore found their own wool. Miss Collie has sent a good parcel of mufflers and mittens which were made in the High School and a similar contribution is expected from the Modern School, where the girls have been engaged in similar work. The Rev. Mother of the Convent of the Holy Ghost in Bromham Road has sent sixty pairs of mittens. Considerable quantities have also come from the Harpur Girls’ School and the school at Queen’s Park, Goldington Road and Clapham Road, where nimble fingers have been busy for some time past, the output being mostly in the form of mufflers and mittens.

One substantial parcel from the Ampthill Road School was, we believe, ear-marked for the 6th Bedfords. The 8th Battalion has, we understand, been taken in hand by Mrs. Liddell, the wife of the Officer Commanding and an appeal is being made for funds to pay for gifts. Last week Mr Machin, on behalf of the Borough Recreations Committee, sent nearly 600 pairs of mittens and 120 mufflers to Sir Edward Ward for those soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force who have escaped the attention of the County Organizations.

In addition to the woollen goods made for the soldiers, there has been a large quantity of cloaks and garments made by the Corn Exchange working party for Belgian children, who are living in school colonies(1). Mrs Shenton has been in charge of this section. A good many articles have been received for the purpose from the Bunyan Sunday School and from people working privately in various parts of the town.

Source: Bedfordshire Times 24th December 1915

(1) It is estimated that about a quarter of a million Belgian refugees came to this country during the war. There were no colonies in Bedfordshire.

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