Monday, 20 February 2017

Appeal for Books for the Troops

Z1306/10/17/1, View of the General Post Office on Dame Alice Street, Bedford, c.1911-1918 (Bedfordshire Archives & Records Service)

Tuesday 20th February 1917: Mr Lewin, the Postmaster of Bedford, has received a letter from the Postmaster-General making a renewed appeal for members of the public to send books and magazines to the troops via the Post Office. This scheme had gone very well until Christmas, when there was a considerable reduction in material received by the Post Office. Currently, only 600 bags per week are being received, and the target is 1,500 bags per week. Sir Douglas Haig is a big supporter of the scheme, writing:

‘Those who have not visited the Army in the field can scarcely realise what books have meant during two years of war to men in the trenches, in billets and in hospitals. So I hope those at home will buy books very freely…and having read and enjoyed them, as freely pass them on to the “Camps’ Library” for circulation amongst the troops'.

Leaflets have been issued pointing out that books and magazines can be handed over the counter to any Post Office, unwrapped and unaddressed, and there is no postage to pay. Most of the material is sent to the Camps’ Library, the organisation recognised by the War Office for the distribution of literature. So far, the Camps’ Library has dealt with over 8,500,000 publications and requires 75,000 a week to meet the demands of the various theatres of war. It is hoped that existing supporters of the scheme will induce others to participate and make the donation of books and magazines a ‘war habit’. 

Source: Bedford Record 20/2/1917

No comments:

Post a Comment