Knitting for the troops

Knitting for the troops

Auckland schoolchildren making clothing for the British and Belgian Relief Fund and New Zealand troops serving overseas, July 1915.

Making comforts for the soldiers was one of the ways children were encouraged to help the war effort. They knitted and sewed socks and scarves to keep soldiers warm at the front, wrote letters, and sent care packages to ‘lonely’ soldiers, ex-pupils of their school and other local men serving overseas.

We are busy sewing for the soldiers in our spare time and have also learnt to knit, so we are knitting scarves. Of course we are not very quick at it yet, so perhaps the war will be over by the time we get them finished.

I have done a little knitting for the soldiers, and must get some more wool. My first sock was not very elegant, but my third was lovely. I can keep even now. It’s such fun knitting one’s first sock. ‘Do you think it’s long enough mum?’ ‘Is that heel alright?’ ‘How do you taper off a toe?’ Until I’m sure mother must have been tired of her daughter’s industry.

Letters to ‘Dot's Little Folk’ column, Otago Witness, 1914

Undoubtedly, these small comforts would have been welcomed by men in the trenches, if only as a reminder that people back home were thinking of them.

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