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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

The Great War changed everything about people’s lives, not least attitudes and commitment to charitable work, as Amanda Randall discovers


Painting of the Royal Army Medical Corps in action by Haydn Reynolds Mackey

During World War I, fundraising and volunteering became an important part of daily life on the Home Front. From working-class children to aristocratic ladies, doing something towards the war effort became commonplace. It was a public declaration of patriotism but it also gave people at home a sense of purpose during the conflict that affected every family in Britain.

It’s perhaps a bold claim, but some historians believe that the remarkable effect of the consistently positive attitude towards charity by people not actively fighting made a tangible contribution to winning the Great War. Not only were time and effort volunteered enthusiastically, those ‘gifts’ were received in that spirit by soldiers, sailors, their dependants, and some refugees from Europe.

Home Front charity ideas

Women were at the forefront of this incredible Home Front drive. They raised money via street or event collections, by selling badges, pins and postcards, subscriptions, auctions, bazaars, knitting socks, making clothing, brewing tea and cutting sandwiches, volunteering in hospital and rest homes, writing letters to prisoners of war (PoWs), sending food parcels abroad, and a thousand other activities that supported the war effort.

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About Family Tree

Soon the Last Post will sound as we commemorate the Armistice of 1918, a century ago. If you'd like to find out, or discover more, about your ancestor's time during the First World War - look no further. Our November issue is a First World War centenary commemorative issue, packed with information and advice about the records and the medals of First World War people. Have a read, do some research, and then, this year on Remembrance Sunday you'll be able to say that you truly have remembered them.