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VOLUNTARY WAR RELIEF   213

the commanding officers of each unit were encouraged to "requisition" on the Association for the needs of their men. Very varied were their needs—ranging from shirts and woollens to tobacco, toilet requisites, relishes of all flavours and soaps of every scent. With the exception of socks, the well-equipped Canadian army required few garments beyond the ordnance kit; while the rations needed only to be supplemented with delicacies from home such as fruit, candies, and pickles. Requests for these "comforts" to be forwarded to certain battalions were frequently conveyed by cable. On one occasion a cable was sent out from Canada requesting that a certain battalion be supplied with "soup, socks, and candies." The return cable stated, "Have despatched soap, books, and candles as requested." Luckily, the second list contained articles usually as welcome as the first; but the battalion must have wondered! In the records of the Dominion Statistician, the C.W.C.A. is credited with cash support from Canadian sources amounting to some $141,000, while approximately 17,000 cases of goods were shipped overseas. In one period of four months, the C.W.C.A. distributed 100,000 pairs of socks. The close connection of the C.W.C.A. with the Canadian Red Cross Society provided Canadians with a clearing-house for supplies intended for Canadians over-seas, both combatant and invalided.

The Field Comforts Commission carried on work of the same nature, but on a somewhat smaller scale. Its income, derived from Canadian sources, as reported by the Dominion Statistician, amounted in the first three years of the war to about $14,000. The Commission dealt largely with parcels for individual men, or with units smaller than battalions.

The Red Cross Society throughout the world occupies an unique position among voluntary organizations, inasmuch as it alone operates by international agreement, confirmed by ratified treaties. In Canada it is also by its charter designated as the official channel through whi. h


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