WW1 Blantyre Festive Packages


241e6d0600000578-2844718-effective_christmas_parcels_for_soldiers_at_the_front_stacked_up-a-10_1419425680101I was recently interested in this story for a few reasons and seems a good story to add here on Christmas Eve.

A Successful Whist Drive, organised by members of High Blantyre War Work Party, was held just over a Century ago, in the High Blantyre Parish Church Halls on Friday 26th November 1915. The purpose was to raise funds to send Christmas boxes to the brave soldiers at the WW1 front.

Can you image for a second knowing so many soldiers were away fighting in WW1 and Blantyre rallying around to ensure they got care packages!

The entertainment was arranged by Mrs JamesJackson, whom at the time lived in my current home, Croftfoot, High Blantyre. She was ably assisted by Mr Alan Todd of Main Street who acted as master of ceremonies.

A great evening was had by all and for a time that evening, the atrocities of war seemed far off. The upstairs hall was tastefully decorated with plants and flags. Tea, provided by members of the Work Party, was served during the evening, after which the competition was brought to a pleasant close with music and song.

Eighty-four players took part in the whist game, and the prizes were presented by the Rev. Turnbull to the successful competitors as follows: Ladies 1st prize, Miss Christie; 2nd, Miss C. Brown; 3rd, Miss M. B. Mitchell; 4th, Miss M. W. Stewart; consolation prize—Miss Jessie B. Reid. , Gentlemen: 1st, John Dewar; 2nd. James Jack; 3rd, Mr D. Strath; consolation prize —Mr J. Adam. The handsome sum of £l6 16s 6d was realised, for which the committee warmly thank all who assisted.

This satisfactory result enabled Christmas boxes being despatched in the following week on to the Blantyre soldiers at France, Gallipoli and Salonica, which I’m positive were greatly received that Christmas 1915.

I was interested to do a little further reading and sadly found out that many care packages, due to the volume of them, stacked up in the Army post office, and sometimes didn’t get to the right people, or to them at all, despite best efforts. This WW1 photo of an army post office shows the backlog of care packages waiting to be transported to the front. Let’s hope the Blantyre ones reached all their intended recipients. It’s a little reminder that sending a “bit of home” to loved ones goes a long, long way.

Merry Christmas folks!

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  1. Great World War 1 story. I have two related thoughts (1) my County Cavan-born Granny used to play whisk at our local Catholic Church back in the 1950’s and 1960’s and (2) my late dad worked for the US Post Office and during World War 2 he was assigned to the Army Post Office in New York City where packages were sent to the troops oversees. Since he was a federal government worker, he was exempt from military duty.

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