Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Work of the Comforts Committee

Wednesday 13th January 1915: The Bedfordshire Comforts Fund has received a letter from Major W. H. Denne [1], the commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment, thanking them for the Christmas gift sent by the Comforts Committee to every soldier in the Regiment. He wrote:

“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.[2] 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 might make a suggestion, I should like to say that socks are one of the most needed things these days. A 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.”

Thanks to the generosity of those who have subscribed to the Comforts Fund the Committee has also been able to proved the Bedfordshire Regiments with 1893 pairs of socks, 1321 pairs of mittens, 914 scarves, 535 body belts, 453 shirts, 50 housewives [3], 88 sleeping helmets, 24 pairs of kneecaps, 12 cardigans, 8 chest protectors, 4 thermos flasks, 31000 cigarettes, 6 gross of matches, toothbrushes, writing paper, peppermints, acid drops, tinder lighters, letter wallets, braces, boracic ointment and cold cream.

Source: Bedfordshire Standard 15th January 1915

[1] Major William Henry Denne led the 2nd Battalion from November 1914 to January 1915. He was severely wounded at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle on 12th March 1915, where he won the Distinguished Service Order. He was sent to Queen Alexandra’s Hospital in Highgate where he remained for almost two years in constant pain. He finally died of his wounds on 21st February 1917 almost two years after he received them. He is buried at Brimpsfield in Gloucestershire. [Source: Bedfordshire Regiment: Officers Who Died Serving in the 2nd Battalion]

[2] The packages also included a pot of Vaseline and a cake of chocolate.

[3] A small sewing case.

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