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VOLUNTARY WAR RELIEF   217

sprang into existence, with perhaps twice as many unchartered auxiliaries, and to all of these it was necessary to issue information and directions as well as to the organized women's organizations which gave such loyal support to the Society's activities.

Correspondence with the military hospitals within Canada, and the necessary business connected with filling their indents, naturally became very considerable as the number of military hospitals increased, and involved also correspondence with the various government depart‘ ments concerned. The building and operation of Red Cross Lodges in connection with military hospitals for returned men within Canada gave Red Cross workers an opportunity for personal service to the soldiers and their feminine visitors. Letters and telegrams of enquiry with regard to missing, wounded or prisoner relations generally involved cables to England; and no form of assistance rendered by the Society gave greater relief and satisfaction than this use of the cable for those too poor to avail themselves of this method of easing anxiety or ending suspense. Sometimes the necessary information could be supplied from information already on file. A mother walked into the Head Office one day with a letter from her prisoner son. He had been taken prisoner six months before, but not a single line had ever reached her from him. Now she came, anxious to get his name placed on the Society's list in order that he might immediately begin to receive food and clothing. Imagine the delight of the mother and the satisfaction of the Society's officer when proof was produced that the lad had been receiving and acknowledging his food parcels for the preceding four months! A subscription of two dollars was the mother's thank-offering for the Society's care of her son; and the labour of compiling the card index of prisoners was amply repaid.

The abounding zeal of the Red Cross workers was not always according to knowledge, and the publication of instructions as to materials, manufacture and shipment


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