Anticipating Christmas 2

Last month the Field Comforts Commission published its Christmas appeal:

“We shall need $10,000 in order to provide a small gift for every Canadian at the front, so please help us if you can.” (1)  Cash would make sure that “no one is overlooked,” but individuals and groups at home were encouraged to provide some hundreds of the thousands of gifts. The sum of £3 or $15 would purchase “100 welcome articles.” (2)

The Commission provided useful advice to the senders:

  • “Chocolate put into socks almost always becomes broken, and it is better to send it separately.”
  • “It is best to put lists of contents inside parcels. Parcels or boxes with lists of delectable things, like tobacco or chocolate, on outside wrappings are liable to broken into and pilfered.” (1)

smokes bamforth 1 enhanced.jpg
Among those gifts were books, games, [playing] cards, packets of letter paper and envelopes,  mouth-organs, pipes (corncob ones were well received), and handkerchiefs. Every item was “tied up with something to eat or smoke.” The tying up of these little bundles was a “big business,” occupying some three dozen English and Canadian lady volunteers, working in four rooms in a house in Folkestone rented for that purpose. The bundles were then packaged into bales, from which, on arrival in France, soldiers could pick a gift. The Commission was confident that they would have a “good choice.” (3)

(1) The Canadian Field Comforts Commission. Field Comforts. 3 (October 1916): 6
(2) Field Comforts. 1 (October 1915): 6
(3) Field Comforts. 2 (June 1916):  4

The post card is the first in “Smoke Clouds,” one of Bamforth‘s series. The verse reads:
“I think we are sometimes inclined to forget/What we owe to the puff of just one cigarette; It’s a wonderful friend to a poor, tired soul,/ And it helps one to think life’s not bad on the whole.” And that, of course, was the purpose of the Field Comforts Commission’s Christmas gifts.

Copyright 2016. See “More about this project.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s