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Collections - Prisoners of War

Prisoner of War Care Committee - First World War

Prisoners of War - The King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment Care Committee

This work was organised in November 1916 by Mrs T J Marker, and Mrs Barton, and in December of that year the first consignment of food and clothing parcels were sent out to our prisoners in Germany and Bulgaria. Mrs Barton was then Honorary Secretary, which post she occupied until April 1918 when she resigned owing to ill health and her place was taken by Miss Whelon.

The Lancaster Care Committee sent food parcels to all NCO’s and men of the KORL Regiment, except the 2nd Battalion who were looked after by Mrs Wilson from London , and those belonging to the 4th Battalion who were provided for by Miss Fell of Ulverston.

Clothing was sent twice a year to the men of all battalions from the Lancaster Care Committee.
From December 1916 to November 1918, 52,929 food parcels were sent from Lancaster to Germany and 11,159 parcels to Bulgaria, making a total of 64,088. In addition to the 7,913 parcels of clothing were sent to our men in Germany and Bulgaria.

The work was carried out by a staff of about 200.

Over 22,000 cards of acknowledgement were received from the men, in addition to various letters.
In January, 1918, the Lancaster Care Committee took over the care of the 200 prisoners of the 2nd Battalion previously provided for by Mrs Wilson, also the names of about 500 new prisoners of war were added to the list in the spring of that year, so the work increased enormously, so much that 15,982 more food parcels were despatched from the Lancaster Depot in 1918 than in 1917.

The Blackpool Care Committee adopted and dispatched food parcels to the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment men who came from the Blackpool neighbourhood, and this relieved the local depot of about 100 men.

After November 1918, when the prisoners began to return to England and subsequently to Bowerham Barracks, the Committee under the direction of Mrs Dobson, entertained the men daily to tea in the YMCA Hut at the Barracks.
Between December 1916 and November 1918 over £46,000 was raised, and £42,000 spent for this work, therefore at the end there was a credit balance of £4,000 which was allocated as follows:

bullet£2,500 for five Cottages on the Westfield Memorial Village
bullet£1,000 to provide a bed in the Royal Lancaster Infirmary
bullet£250 to the Lord Robert’s Memorial Workshops
bullet£250 to the King’s Own Memorial Chapel

The above is a modest account of the work down by the Committee. The number of parcels despatched give some idea of the magnitude of the task. The Regiment owes a great debt of gratitude to the devoted work of the Committee, which did so much to alleviate the unhappy lot of the prisoner of war.

Account from letter, dated 28th November 1918, Accession Number: KO2590/218
 

    
Prisoners of War Care Committee, The King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, Collector's Badge and Collection Box.
Accession Number: KO0901/01 (Badge) and KO2411/01 (Box)

Other similar badges in the collection:

bulletAccession Number: KO1051/01
bulletAccession Number: KO1101/01
bulletAccession Number: KO2354/01

   
'Flag day' flag from The King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, Prisoners of War Day, First World War.
Accession Number: KO2917/09


Advert from Morecambe Guardian Newspaper for the September 1918 Prisoners of War Flag Day.


Certificate of employment with the Prisoner of War Care Committee, The King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, for Mrs Mary Briggs, The Mayoress of Lancaster, dated 23rd April 1917.
Accession Number: KO0210/04


Certificate of employment with the Prisoner of War Care Committee, the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, for Mrs Mary Best, of Heysham Lodge, Morecambe.
Accession Number: KO1177/01

    
Prisoner of War Postcard, receipt for parcel from Germany, 27 Jul 1916, to Dear Miss T. from Private S Johnson addressed to Miss Alice Thornton, Skerton County Infants School, Skerton, Lancaster. Postmarked 2 Sep 1916 and 9 Sep 1916.
"Over 22,000 cards of acknowledgement were received from the men"
Accession Number: KO1510/01

   
Prisoner of War Postcard sent to Regimental Care Committee, King’s Own Reg, with London address, 15 May 1917 postmark. Acknowledging receipt of parcel from Rowntree of York. Including Cocoa Milk Margarine, Quaker Oats Pudding, potted meat, meat loaf, ham joint, chocolate and marmite.
Sent to Private T Heald, 17609 of 2nd King’s Own. Taken prisoner on 8 May 1915 at Frezenberg with 2 KO.
Addressed to Hon. Sec. Regimental Care Committee, The King’s Own Regt. 36, Redcliffe Square, London, SW. Postmarked “Mannheim 15 May 1917”.
"Prisoners from the 2nd Battalion were looked after by Mrs Wilson from London."
Accession Number: KO2437/02


Piece of Hessian (sacking) with label addressed to Private Thomas Walker, number 16456, 9th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, Prisoner of War, Bulgaria.  Private Walker was listed as missing in January 1916.  The parcel contained 'food' and is dated 24th September 1918.  This item was found in the upholstery of a chair and donated to the museum in 1979 by a lady in Windermere.  Clearly the Hessian has been reused in the manufacture of the chair.
Accession Number: KO1240/01


Piece of Hessian (sacking) with label believed to be addressed to Private Henry Christian, number 16805, 9th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, Prisoner of War, Bulgaria.  Private Christian is recorded as having served with the 1st and 9th Battalions of the King's Own.  The parcel contained 'food' and is dated 24th September 1918. This item was found in the upholstery of a chair and donated to the museum in 2011 by a lady from Leeds.
With the survival, and arrival in the museum of a second similar label, it is wondered if the parcels were ever sent.  The war was drawing to a close in Salonika/Bulgaria at this time.  May be the Hessian was used by a chair manufacturer after the war was over, the parcels never being sent.  It is possible we shall never know for sure, but it is amazing that two such similar items should have found their way to the museum.
Accession Number: KO2870/01

bulletLetter from Sister Matilda Goulding to Mrs Owtram, Newland Hall, Bay Horse, Lancaster, concerning her brother, Private Nicholas Goulding, a Prisoner of War, dated 25th February 1917.  KO2490/124
bulletOBE awarded to Miss Emily Mildred Whelon for services as Honorary Secretary of the KORLR Prisoner of War Care Committee.  LM646.

Only a proportion of our collections are on display at anyone time.  Certain items are on loan for display in other institutions.  An appointment is required to consult any of our collections which are held in store.

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