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Title: Women and War Work
Author: Helen Fraser
Release Date: January 12, 2005 [eBook #14676]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WOMEN AND WAR WORK***
No easy hopes or lies
Shall lead us to our goal,
But iron sacrifice
Of Body, Will, and Soul.
There is but one task for all—
For each one life to give.
Who stands if Freedom fall?
Who dies if England live?
1. THE SPIRIT OF WOMEN 19
2. ORGANIZATION AND ITS PITFALLS 35
3. HOSPITALS—RED CROSS—V.A.D. 53
4. BRINGING BLIGHTY TO THE SOLDIERS—HUTS, COMFORTS, ETC. 73
5. WOMAN-POWER FOR MAN-POWER 91
6. WOMEN AND MUNITIONS 109
7. THE PROTECTION OF WOMEN IN INDUSTRY 131
8. "THE WOMEN'S LAND ARMY" 155
9. WAR SAVINGS—THE MONEY BEHIND THE GUNS 171
10. FOOD PRODUCTION AND CONSERVATION 195
11. THE W.A.A.Cs 215
12. WAR AND MORALS 235
13. WHAT THE WAR HAS DONE FOR WOMEN 259
14. RECONSTRUCTION 287
A FEW SHELLS Frontispiece
MISS EDITH CAVELL 22
DR. ELSIE INGLIS 22
FIRST AMBULANCE ON DUTY IN THE FIRST ZEPPELIN RAID 56
"SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE" 64
CLEANING A LOCOMOTIVE 94
WOMEN AS CARRIAGE CLEANERS 94
WINDOW CLEANERS 102
STEAM ROLLER DRIVER 102
TRAINING WOMEN AS AEROPLANE BUILDERS 112
RIVETTING ON BOILERS 116
FACING BOILER BLUE FLANGES 116
ROUGH TURNING JACKET FORGING OF 6-POUNDER HOTCHKISS GUN 124
HOW TO DRESS FOR MUNITION MAKING 136
BACK TO THE LAND 162
WOMEN TACKLE A STRONG MAN'S PROBLEM 162
SIX REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BUY WAR SAVINGS CERTIFICATES 175
"FOR YOUR CHILDREN" 184
BOOK MARKS ISSUED BY THE N.W.S.C. 192
W.A.A.Cs ON THE MARCH 216
WOMEN OF THE RESERVE AMBULANCE 216
POLICE WOMEN 246
"Our War Loan from England"—That is the heading under which were grouped the nine lectures given by Miss Helen Fraser at Vassar College. England has borrowed a billion or so of dollars from us, but the obligation is not all her way. The moral strength of our cause is immeasurably increased by her alliance, and the spectacle of a great democracy organizing itself for complete unity in a world crisis is worth an incalculable amount to us. Such a vision Miss Fraser has brought to her wider public among the women of America in this notable book. Of her personal influence let me quote again from the Vassar students' newspaper:
"Miss Fraser, here's to you! We don't need to say that we liked Miss Fraser and everything she had to tell us. The way we followed her around, and packed every room in which she spoke, out to the doors and sometimes up to the ceiling, is proof enough of that. And even the [pg 12] fact that it was Sunday could not check our outburst of song in the Soap Palace as Miss Fraser departed. Her gracious speech of appreciation left with us the question not phrased by her before, but certainly in the minds of every one of us who had been hearing her: 'What are we going to do?'"
An unsolicited testimonial, this, of the most genuine kind. The College students of today are not easily coaxed into lecture rooms outside of their own classes.
I believe that Miss Fraser's book will be read with the same eager attention that followed her first speeches in this country as she began her work of educating American women to a sense of what the mobilization of the entire citizen army of a democracy must mean.
Nor will her influence cease there. Miss Fraser's book is a piece of history; and history is action. The wonderful work of the women of England is already emulated by the splendid efforts along many lines of the women in our country. The new lessons of co-operation and of [pg 13] selfless devotion, learned from this book will, I confidently predict, within a few months, be translated into action by the Women's War Service Committees in every state of our land.
And the greatest lesson of all is that women and men must work together in this new world. I count it an honour—being a man—to be asked to introduce Miss Fraser in this way to the American public. For my part I would have no separate women's division, except such as concerns the tasks exclusively for women. I would have women side by side with men in every division of labour, working out the task with equal fidelity, equal authority, and equal rewards. One of the results of this amazing age is going to be the new comprehension, understanding, and sympathy of the one sex for the other.
Poughkeepsie, New York.
January 11, 1918.
The women of all the allies are one in this great struggle. Our hopes and our fears, our anxieties and our prayers, our visions and our desolations, are the same.
Our work is the same task of supporting and sustaining the energies of our men in arms and of our nations at home. All the allied women know more of each other than they ever did before, and this is all to the good.
The task of women in this struggle and in the reconstruction to come after, are great tasks, and the world needs in every country not only the wisdom and knowledge of its own women but the strength in them that comes from being one of a great world-wide group and conscious of the unity of all women.
Anything that can help to that unity and understanding seems to me of great value, and this record is written for American women in the hope it may be of some small service.
December 25, 1917.
"I have no fear nor shrinking. I have seen death so often that it is not strange or fearful to me.... I thank God for this ten weeks' quiet before the end. Life has always been hurried and full of difficulty. This time of rest has been a great mercy. They have all been very kind to me here. But this I would say, standing as I do in view of God and eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone."
Your hearts are lifted up, your hearts
That have foreknown the utter price,
Your hearts burn upward like a flame
Of splendour and of sacrifice.
For you too, to battle go,
Not with the marching drums and cheers,
But in the watch of solitude
And through the boundless night of fears.
And not a shot comes blind with death,
And not a stab of steel is pressed
Home, but invisibly it tore,
And entered first a woman's breast.
The spirit of women in this greatest of world struggles cannot, in its essence, be differentiated from the spirit of men. They are one. The women of our countries in the mass feel about the issues of this struggle just as the men do; know, as they do, why we fight, and like them, are going on to the end. The declarations of our Government as to conditions for peace are ours, too, and when we vote, we shall show the spirit of women is clearly and [pg 20] definitely on the side of freedom, justice and democracy.
Our actions speak louder than any words can ever do, and the record of our women's sacrifices and work stand as great silent witnesses to our spirit. There is nothing we have been asked to do that we have not done and we have initiated great pieces of work ourselves. The hardest time was in the beginning when we waited for our tasks, feeling as if we beat stone walls, reading our casualty lists, receiving our wounded, caring for the refugees, doing everything we could for the sailor and soldier and his dependants, helping the women out of work, but feeling there was so much more to do behind the men—so very much more—for which we had to wait. We did all the other things faithfully and, so far as we could, prepared ourselves and when the tasks came, we volunteered in tens of thousands, every kind of woman, young, old, middle-aged, rich and poor, trained and untrained, and today we have 1,250,000 women in industry directly replacing men, 1,000,000 in munitions, 83,000 additional [pg 21] women in Government Departments, 258,300 whole and part-time women workers on the land. We are recruiting women for the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps at the rate of 10,000 a month and we have initiated a Women's Royal Naval Service. We have had the help of about 60,000 V.A.D.'s (Voluntary Aid Detachment of Red Cross) in Hospitals in England and France, and on our other fronts, in addition to our thousands of trained nurses.
The women in our homes carry on—no easy task in these days of shortages in food and coal and all the other difficulties, saving, conserving, working, caring for the children, with so many babies whose fathers have never seen them, though they are one to two years old, and so many babies who will never see their fathers.
Some of our women have died on active service, doctors, nurses and orderlies. Our most recent and greatest loss is in the death of Dr. Elsie Inglis, the initiator of the Scottish Women's Hospitals, who died on November 26th, three days after she had safely brought back her Unit [pg 22] from South Russia, which had been nursing the Serbians attached to the Russian army.
One who was with her at the end writes, "It was a great triumphant going forth." There was no hesitation, no fear. As soon as she knew she was going, that the call had come, with her wonted decision of character, she just readjusted her whole outlook. "For a long time I meant to live," she said, "but now I know I am going. It is so nice to think of beginning a new job over there! But I would have liked to have finished one or two jobs here first!"
She told us the story of the breaking of their moorings as they lay in the river in a great storm of wind and of how that breaking had saved them from colliding with another ship. "I asked," she said, "what had happened." Someone said "Our moorings broke." I said, "No, a hand cut them!" Then, after a moment's silence, with an expression in face and voice which it is utterly impossible to convey, she added, "That same Hand is cutting my moorings now, and I am going forth!" The picture rose before you of an unfettered ship [pg 23] going out to the wide sea and of the great untrammelled, unhindered soul moving majestically onwards.
There was no fear, no death! How could there be. She never thought of her own work—she knew unity. "You did magnificently," was said to her within an hour of her going. With all her wonted assurance and with a touch of pride she answered, "My Unit did magnificently."
Her loss is irreparable to us, but there is no room for sorrow. She leaves us triumph, victory, and peace.
Edith Cavell's name is another that shines upon our roll of honour—the same serene great spirit—no thought of self, but only a great love and desire to serve—and a great fearlessness. Her message, before she went out alone at dawn to her death, which added another stain to the enemy's pages dark with blood, was the message of one who saw the eternal verities, the things worth living and dying for.[pg 24]
Our men's Roll of Honor is a heavy Roll. We have lost in killed and permanently out of the army, a million men and over 75 per cent of our casualties are our own Island losses. Our women in every village and in every city street have lost husbands, fathers, brothers, lovers and friends. From every rank of life our men have died, the agricultural labourer, the city clerk, the railway man, the miner, the engineer, the business man, the poet, the journalist, the author, the artist, the scientist, the heirs of great names, many of the most brilliant of our young men. We comb out our mines and shipyards, and factories, ceaselessly for more men. Our boys at eighteen go into the army. From eighteen to forty-one every man is liable for service. Our Universities have only a handful of men in them and these are the disabled, the unfit, and men from other countries. Oxford and Cambridge Colleges are full of Officers' Training Corps men. The Examination Schools and the Town Hall at Oxford are Hospitals, and Oxford and Cambridge streets are full of the blue-clad wounded, as are so many [pg 25] of our cities. We are a nation at war, and at war for over three years and everywhere and in everything we are changed.
In these years we women have lived always with the shadow of the war over us—it never leaves us, night or day. We do not live completely where we are in these days. A bit of us is always with our men on our many fields of war. We live partly in France and Flanders, in Italy, in the Balkans, in Egypt and Palestine and Mesopotamia, in Africa, with the lonely white crosses in Gallipoli, with our men who guard us sleeping and waking, going down to the sea in ships and under the sea, fighting death in submarines and mines, and with those who in the air are the eyes and the winged cavalry of our forces.
We mourn our dead, not sadly and hopelessly, though life for many of us is emptier forever, and for many so much harder, and we wear very little mourning. We mourn silently, and with a sure faith that our men's supreme sacrifice is not in vain. "Greater love hath no man than this, [pg 26] that he lay down his life for his friend." The little white crosses of our graves symbolize the faith for which they die.
The message of our soldier poets who have been created by this war and have written immortal verse, and many of whom have died, is the message of men who have seen through the veils of time into eternity, who are free of life and death, whom nothing can hurt, "if it be not the Destined Will."
The veils of time grow thin in these days to those of us who take Death into our reckoning all the time. We think of our men gone on ahead as eternally young.
"Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines before our tears.
"They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the Sun and in the morning
We will remember them."
We know, too, though we do not often define it, that the forces we women fight in the enemy are [pg 27] the forces that have left women out in world affairs.
Germany is the Fatherland, never, it is significant, the Motherland as our little Islands are, and its mad dream of militarism and Weltmacht is the dream of men who deny any constructive part to women in the great affairs of life. The hopes of all the democracies are bound up in this struggle and its issue, and there is no real place in the world for the true service and genius and work of women, any more than for that of the mass of men, save in democracy. We mean so much in these days by democracy. It seems to be indefinable in its larger meanings. It is not a system of government, but, on the other hand, no country can be called democratic that has not established political freedom, and no country is truly democratic in which such freedom is only in name, and its women are not included or a group rule or the demagogue and the worst kind of politician hold sway.
Democracy is not here till all serve and all are given opportunities so that they have something [pg 28] of value to give to their country and to the world. Democracy is the ever changing, ever developing, ever creative spirit of man expressing itself in his institutions and systems of government and relationships.
Its quarrel with our enemies, who would impose on the mass of men cast-iron systems, and would set up state idols to be worshipped as higher than the Conscience and spirit of man, is so profound and goes so deeply into knowledge and feelings that are too big for words, that the soldier who never tries to express it but goes out and drills and works and disciplines himself that he may present his body as a living shield for the faith that is within him, and the woman who works with him and behind him, healing and giving, silently, are perhaps wisest of all.
It is no time for words only, though right words are mighty powers, but for living faith in deeds and the spirit of the women of all our allied countries is swift to answer the challenge—by their works shall ye know them.[pg 29]
The spirit of our women shows, like that of the French women who tend their farms, keep their shops, work ceaselessly everywhere, most clearly and wonderfully in their work. In our hundreds of hospitals night and day, they care for the wounded and the sick and the dying, bringing consolation, love, skill, heroism, patience and all fine things as their gift. From myriads of homes they pour forth to their daily toil, carrying on the work of the country, educating the children, taking the place of their men on the railways, the factory, the workshop, the banks and offices. In the munition works, in the shipyards, in the engineering shops, in the aeroplane sheds, they work in tens of thousands—risking life and health in some cases, but thinking little of it, compared with what their men are doing, knee-deep in snow and mud and water in the trenches. "Is the work heavy?" you ask. "Not so heavy as the soldiers'." "Are the hours long?" "Six days and nights in the trenches are longer." "We are going to win and you are going to help us"—and the munition girl and the land girl and the [pg 30] workers answer not only with cheers and words but answer with shells and ships and aeroplanes and submarines and food produced and conserved, and in industrial tasks done by men and women together.
The enemy airships and aeroplanes bomb our cities but our girls "carry on"—no telephone girl has left her post—there have been no panics in our workshops.
And the spirit of the Waac—the khaki girl—is the spirit of her brother.
On one occasion in France in an air raid, enemy bombs came very near some girl signallers. They behaved splendidly and someone suggested it should be mentioned in the Orders of the Day. "No," said the Commanding Officer, "we don't mention soldiers in orders for doing their duty,"—and that tribute to their attitude is deserved and the right one.
And, like our men, we carry on cheerfully, knowing there is only one possible end, victory. We fight for the sanctity of the given word, for [pg 31] honour, for the rights of individuals and nations, for the ideals that have preserved humanity from barbarism, for the right of service, for the salvation of common humanity.
More, we women work with a feeling in our hearts that we, who bear and cherish life, and to whom its destruction is most terrible, have a great work to do and a great part to play in the settlement of the problem of war in the future.
The transmutation of the struggles of mankind from the physical to the spiritual, the solution of national and international problems, the solution of all the riddles of life that demand an answer or man's conquest, cannot be done by man alone. It is our task also and to the great work of building up a new world after we emerge from this crucible of fire in which the souls of the nations are being tested, the spirit of women has much to bring.[pg 33]
"The more they gazed, the more their wonder grew
That one small head could carry all she knew."
There are people who declare that the winning of this war depends on organization alone. That is palpably untrue. Good organization can do much. The greatest thing in all organizations is the living flame that makes grouping real—the selfless spirit of service that the fighting man possesses and that is beyond all words of praise.
Talk to a soldier or a sailor, realize how he thinks and feels about his ship, his battalion, his aircorps. He is subordinated—selfless—disciplined. The secret of the good soldiers' achievements and his greatness is selfless service and in our national organizations behind him that same spirit is the one great thing that counts.
If you have that as a foundation among your workers, organization is easy.
We found, at the beginning of the war, a great tendency among women to rush into direct war [pg 36] work. Masses of women wanted to leave work they knew everything about to go and do work they knew nothing about. One thing we have realized, that the trained and educated woman is invaluable, that the best service you can render your country is to do the work you know best and are trained for, if it is, as it frequently is, important civic work. Another point, no younger woman should stop her education or training—it is the greatest mistake possible. The war is not over and even when it is, the great task of reconstruction lies ahead and we want every trained woman we can get for that. Our women are in Universities and Colleges in greater numbers than ever, and more opportunities for education, in Medicine in particular have been opened to them.
The trained woman makes the best worker in practically every department and is particularly useful in organizing. A scheme that is only indifferently good but, so far as it goes, is on right lines, well organized and directed, will be more valuable and get far better results than a perfect [pg 37] scheme badly organized and run. An organization or a committee that has a woman as Chairman, President or Secretary, who insists on running everything and deciding everything for herself, is bound for disaster.
I should certainly place the will and ability to delegate authority high up in the qualifications a good organizer must possess.
We cannot afford to have little petty jealousies, social, local, and individual, on war committees or any other for that matter, but in this big struggle, they are particularly petty and unworthy.
We have all met frequently the kind of person who tells you, "This village will never work with that village," or "Mrs. This will never work with Mrs. That. They never do"; and I always answer, "Isn't it time they learned to, when their boys die in the trenches together, why shouldn't they work together," and they always do when it is put to them.
There is no difficulty in getting women to work together in our country. We have a link in our [pg 38] Roll of Honor that is more unifying than any words or arguments or appeals can be. Our women of every rank of life are closely drawn together.
The appeal to women is to organize for National Service and to realize that work of national importance is likely not to be at all important work.
The women in important places in all our countries will be few in proportion, but the struggle will be won in the Nation, as in the Army, by the army of the myriads of faithful workers faithfully performing tasks of drudgery and quiet service—and a realization of this is the greatest need.
Sticking to the work is of supreme importance. We do not want people who take up something with great enthusiasm and drop it in a few months. Nothing is achieved by that.
The good organizer sees her workers do not "grow weary in well doing."
Another important work in organization is to prevent waste of material, effort and money, by [pg 39] co-ordination whenever possible, though I should say, as a broad principle, co-ordination should not be carried to the point of merging together kinds of work that make a different appeal for work and money and require different treatment and knowledge and powers. The best results are reached by securing concentration of appeal and organization on one big issue and getting the work done by a group directly and keenly interested in the one big thing and with enthusiasm for it and knowledge of it.
In the personnel of committees and their composition our women have made it a definite policy to secure the appointment of women to all Government and National Committees on which our presence would be useful and on which we ought to be represented and we always prefer committees of men and women together, unless it be for anything that is distinctly better served by women's committees.
There is one pitfall in organization into which women fall more readily than men in my experience. Our instinct as women is to want to [pg 40] make everything perfect. We instinctively run to detail and to a desire for absolute accuracy and perfection.
This is invaluable in many ways, but in organizing on a big scale may be a serious fault. There must, of course, be method, order and accuracy, but the great essential to secure in big things is harmonious working—not to insist on a rigid sameness but to allow for widely divergent views and attitudes and ways of doing things so long as the essential rules are observed. We should not insist too much on identity in the way of work of different places and districts. In essentials—unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity—that might well be the wise organizer's motto.
The supplementing of governmental organization by national voluntary organization is a great piece of work and in the beginning of the war, and still, many of our organizations, voluntary or semi-official in character, were of great service. The work of the Soldiers and Sailors Families' Association is an example. The S. and [pg 41] S.F.A. had been created in the South African War and in peace time and war time looked after the dependants of the soldier and sailor. Its committees were composed of men and women—and it administered voluntary funds and later grants from the National Relief Fund, raised at the outbreak of war.
When war broke out, all the Reservists were called up and our men volunteered in tens of thousands. The pay offices of the army, being small like everything else in our army, could not cope quickly with the numbers of claims for allowances pouring in, but the S. and S.F.A. stepped into the breach and looked after the dependants. It secured vast numbers more of women in every town and village who visited every dependant and looked after them. They advanced the allowances which were paid back to them later—and this started in the first week of the war. They gave additional grants in certain hard cases for rent, sickness or in event of deaths in family at home. Every home was visited and no dependant needed to be in distress [pg 42] or want—S. and S.F.A. offices existed in every town and representatives in every village and any difficulty or trouble could be brought to them. The whole of this work is done voluntarily. In some cases workrooms were started from which sewing and knitting for soldiers and sailors were given to the dependents and paid for. It was not only the money and practical help that was of great service—the S. and S.F.A. visitor to the soldier's wife and mother brought sympathy and help and interest.
Another movement for soldiers and sailors dependents was the founding of clubs for them in many towns. One hundred and thirty-five of these clubs are linked up now in the United Services Clubs League. They are bright, cheery rooms in which the women can find newspapers, books, music, amusement, and opportunity to sew or knit comforts, can meet their friends and talk.
The Royal Patriotic Fund was another semi-official organization which was run voluntarily, gave grants at death of soldier or sailor and [pg 43] administered pensions. It is now entirely merged in the Naval and Military War Pensions Statutory Committee and local committees set up in January, 1916, which administer all grants, pensions, wound gratuities, etc., and looks after dependants.
Women sit on the Statutory Committee and there must be women members on every County, Borough and City War Pensions Committee in our country.
The organization of war charities is now in England controlled by the War Charities Committee appointed by the Government in April, 1916. The committee controls not only what could be strictly termed War Charities, but all war agencies of any kind for which appeals for funds are made to the public. These organizations must be registered and approved by the committee, and their accounts must be open to inspection and audit. This was a wise and necessary step, not so much because of actual fraudulent appeals—there has been practically none of that, but there was a certain amount of overlapping [pg 44] and of waste of money, material and energy, and some very few organizations in which an undue proportion of funds raised was absorbed in expenses. Comforts for soldiers and prisoners of war parcels are also now co-ordinated under two national committees.
The first work of registering Belgian refugees and of providing French and Flemish interpreters was done by a voluntary organization—the London Society for Women's Suffrage (a branch of N.U.W.S.S.), which has always been notable for its admirable organization. It provided 150 interpreters for this work in a few days, and work was carried on at all the London Centres from early morning till midnight. When the Government took over the charge of Belgian refugees, the system of registration used by the London Society was adopted without change by them and the organizer in charge was taken over also and put in a very responsible position at the War Refugees Committee's Headquarters.
The work of our Government Employment Exchanges (which were established before the [pg 45] War by the Board of Trade) and are now under the Ministry of Labour—has been supplemented by various Professional Women's Bureaus, by the compiling of a Professional Women's Register, secured through Universities, Colleges, Headmistresses' Association, etc., and by the setting up of the Women's Service Bureau by the London Society for Women Suffrage (N.U.W.S.S.). Various women's organizations have established most valuable clearing houses for voluntary workers in Scotland and England and Wales. The Women's Service Bureau has dealt with 40,000 applications for voluntary and paid work—mostly paid. Its interviewers take the greatest trouble to place these applicants suitably, and to find out just what they can do or would be good at doing.
Our biggest Government arsenal secured their first munition supervisors through it—and the Government Departments, big firms, factories, organizations, banks, workshops, institutions of any kind, send to it for workers.
It not only finds these posts without charge—it [pg 46] is supported entirely by voluntary contribution—but it has a loan and grant fund to enable women and girls without money to pay for training and maintenance.
Its records and the letters in its flies provide reading that is as absorbing as any novel, and it was one of the wise agencies that realized the older woman had a place and could help as well as the younger ones.
To find the person and the post and to put them together is its fascinating and admirably done task.
The organization done by women in Britain has been notable and admirable.
I can only touch on some of it and must leave out much, but it is worth while noting that there has been very little overlapping in the work. The total percentage of overlapping was estimated by the War Charities Committee on their investigation at 10 per cent and of that only a very small amount was due to women.[pg 47]
Belgian Refugees' Committee. 1914.
Clerical and Commercial Occupation Committee, do (Scotland.) 1915.
Disabled Officers and Men.
Education After the War. April, 1916.
Educational Reform. (August, 1916.)
Food, Committee of Inquiry Into High Cost of—June, 1916.
Advisory Committee on Women in Industry. March, 1916.
Labor Commission to Deal with Industrial Unrest. (Ministry of Labor.) June, 1917.
Munitions Central Labor Supply Committee.
Munitions, Arbitration Tribunals.
Munitions, Committee on the Supply and Organization of Women's Service in Canteens, Hostels, Clubs, etc. December, 1916.
Naval and Military War Pensions Statutory Committee. January, 1916.
Nurses, Supply of—October, 1916.[pg 48]
Polish Victims' Relief Fund.
Prevention and Relief of Distress. 1914.
Professional Classes Sub-Committee.
Prisoners of War Help Committee.
Reconstruction Committee. (To advise the Government on the many national problems which will arise at the end of the war.) 1916.
Shops: Committee of Inquiry, to Consider Conditions of Retail Trade to Secure the Enlistment of Men. (November, 1915.)
Teachers' Salaries. Departmental Committee of Enquiry. June, 1917.
War Charities. April, 1916.
National War Savings Committee. April, 1916.[pg 49]
Committee, Report on Joint Standing Industrial Councils. 1917.
Women's Wages Committee. 1917.
Central Committee on Women's Employment. 1914.
Drinking Among Women, Committee of Enquiry. November, 1915.
There are also two women on the—
Executive Committee of National Relief Fund.
Ministry of Food has two women Co-Directors—
Mrs. C.S. Peel
Mrs. Pember Reeves
"Come, ye blessed of my Father;
I was sick and ye visited me."
"A lady with a lamp shall stand
In the great history of the land,
A noble type of good
When war broke out on August 4, 1914, probably the only women in our country who knew exactly how they could help, and would be used in the war, were our nurses in the Navy and Army nursing services.
In the Army, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service had in it at that time about 280 members, matrons, sisters and staff nurses, Miss Becher, R.R.C., being Matron-in-Chief for Military Hospitals. The Q.A.I.M.N.S. had a large Reserve which was also immediately called out and these nurses were used at once, six parties being sent to France and Belgium by August 20th.
The Second Branch was the Territorial Force Nursing Service, which was in 1914 eight years old. It was initiated by Miss Haldane and a draft scheme of an establishment of nurses willing to serve in general hospitals in the event of [pg 54] the Territorial Forces being mobilized, was submitted at a meeting held in Miss Haldane's house, Sir Alfred Keogh, Medical Director General, being present. This scheme was approved and an Advisory Council appointed at the War Office.
The Matrons of the largest and most important nurse-training centres in the Kingdom were appointed as principal matrons (unpaid) and to them the success of this Force is largely due. They received the applications of matrons, sisters and nurses willing to join, looked after their references and submitted them, after approval by the Local Committee, to the Advisory Council. To their splendid work was due the ease of the vast mobilization of nurses when war broke out. There were then 3,000 nurses on their rolls. On August 5th they were called out and in ten days 23 Territorial General Hospitals in England, Wales and Scotland were ready to receive the wounded and the nurses were also ready.
Each hospital had 520 beds, but this accommodation was quite inadequate after a few months [pg 55] of war, and the accommodation of practically every hospital was increased to 1,000 to 3,000 beds and many Auxiliary Hospitals had to be organized. By June, 1915, the Territorial Nursing Staff was 4,000 in number and in Hospitals in France and in Belgium and in clearing stations, there were over 400 Territorial Nurses as well as Imperial Nurses.
The Naval Nurses were about 70 in number with a Reserve, and their Reserve was called up at once also, and they went to their various Hospitals. The other two great organizations, the British Red Cross and the order of St. John of Jerusalem, now working together through the joint committee set up to administer the Times Fund for the Red Cross, which has reached over $30,000,000, had their schemes also. In time of war they are controlled by the War Office and Admiralty. The Red Cross had, since 1909, organized Voluntary Aid Detachments to give voluntary aid to the sick and wounded in the event of war in home territory. There were 60,000 men and women trained in transport work, cooking, [pg 56] laundry, first aid and home nursing. St. John's ambulance had the same system of ambulance workers and V.A.D.'s to call on.
As the war proceeded it was quite clear that the nursing staffs, though we had secured 3,000 more trained nurses through the Red Cross in the first few weeks of the war, would be quite inadequate, and it was found necessary to use V.A.D.'s and to open V.A.D. Hospitals, most of them being established in large private houses lent for the purpose. Within nine months there were 800 of these at work in every part of England, Scotland and Wales. The V.A.D.'s suffered a little at first from confusion with the ladies who insisted on rushing off to France after taking a ten day's course in first aid. We had suffered a great deal from that kind of thing in the South African War and were determined to have no repetition of it, so they were firmly and decisively removed from France without delay.
To get more trained nurses, rules were relaxed and the age limit raised. Many nurses, retired and married, returned to work, but very quickly [pg 57] it was perfectly clear our trained nurses were inadequate in number for the great work before us, and in less than a year in most hospitals every ward had one V.A.D. worker assisting who had been nominated by her Commandant and County Director, and in March, 1915, the Hospitals were asked by the Director General of the Army Medical Service to train V.A.D.'s in large numbers as probationers, for three or six months, to fit them for work under trained nurses. Every possible woman, trained or partially trained, was mobilized and thousands have been trained during the three years of war, and V.A.D. members have been drafted to military and Red Cross Hospitals, abroad and at home, in addition to doing the work of the V.A.D. Hospitals. A V.A.D. Hospital with a hundred beds will have two trained nurses, and all the other work is done by V.A.D.'s. The Commandant-in-Chief now is Lady Ampthill. Dame Katharine Furse was Commandant-in-Chief until quite recently, but is now head of the new Women's Royal Navy Service.[pg 58]
Many have gone to France and done distinguished work and there is no body of women in our country who have done more faithful and useful work than our V.A.D.'s, who nurse, cook and wash dishes, serve meals, scrub the floors, look after the linen and do everything for the comfort and welfare of our men, with a capacity, zeal and endurance beyond praise. About 60,000 women have helped in this way. Our nurses and V.A.D.'s have distinguished themselves at home and abroad. They have been in casualty lists on all our fronts. They have been decorated for bravery and for heroic work. The full value of all they have done cannot yet be appraised. They have spent themselves unceasingly in caring for our men. They have nursed them with shells falling around. Hospitals have frequently been shelled and in one case two nurses worked in a theatre, wearing steel helmets during the bombardment, with patients who were under anaesthetics and could not be moved. They have waited out beside men who could not be got in from under shell fire of the enemy until darkness [pg 59] fell. Two V.A.D. nurses in another raid saw to the removal of all their patients to cellars and, while they themselves were entering the cellars after everyone was safe, bombs fell upon the building they had just left and completely demolished it. Some of our nurses have died of typhus. They have been wounded in Hospitals and on Hospital Trains, and they have done all their work as cheerfully and with the same high courage as our men have. We have had helping us in our nursing numbers of Canadian nurses, not only for the beautiful Canadian Hospital at Beechborough Park, but for many other Hospitals in England and France, and nurses from Australia and New Zealand.
We have had American nurses, also, but these will now be absorbed, as needed, by the American Army in France.
The records of our Medical women in the war are among the very best. The belief that nursing was woman's work but that medicine and surgery were not, was dying before the war, but it existed, and it was the war that gave it the final [pg 60] death blow. Immediately war broke out Dr. Louisa Garrett Anderson, a daughter of our pioneer woman doctor, Dr. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, and Dr. Flora Murray formed the Women's Hospital Corps, a complete small unit and offered it to the British Government. It was refused but accepted by the French Government, and was established by them at Claridge's Hotel in Paris, where it did admirable work. Its work aroused the interest and admiration of the British Royal Army Medical Corps, and they were asked to form a Hospital at Wimereux, which afterwards amalgamated with the R.A.M.C. Later Sir Alfred Keogh established them in Endell Street, London, where they have a Hospital of over 700 beds. The women surgeons and doctors and staff are graded for purposes of pay in the same way as men members of R.A.M.C.
In July, 1916, the War Office asked for the services of 80 medical women for work at home and abroad, and later for 50 more.
The Women's Service League sent a unit to [pg 61] Antwerp which did some excellent work, though it was there only a very short time. The members of the unit were among the last to leave the city, escaping in the last car to cross the bridge before it was blown up.
The work of the Scottish Women's Hospitals, organized by the Scottish Federation of the Nation Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, and initiated by Dr. Elsie Inglis, of Edinburgh, would require a volume to themselves, and American women, who have given so generously and so freely to them, know a great deal about their work. The first unit went to Royaumont in France, and established itself at the old Abbaye there. It stood from the beginning in the very first rank for efficiency. A leading French expert, Chief of the Pasteur Laboratory in Paris, speaking of this Hospital, said he had inspected hundreds of military Hospitals, but not one which commanded his admiration so completely as this. Another unit was sent to Troyes and was maintained by the students of Newnham and Girton Colleges. Dr. Elsie Inglis's greatest work [pg 62] began in April, 1915, when her third unit went to Serbia, where she may he truly said to have saved the Serbian nation from despair. The typhus epidemic had at the time of her arrival carried off one-third of the Serbian Army Medical Corps, and the epidemic threatened the very existence of the Serbian Army. She organized four great Hospital Units, initiated every kind of needful sanitary precaution, looked into every detail, regardless of her own safety and comfort, hesitating at no task, however loathsome and terrible. Her constant message to the Serbian Medical Headquarters Staff was "Tell me where your need is greatest without respect to difficulties, and we will do our best to help Serbia and her brave soldiers."
Two nurses and one of the doctors died of typhus. Miss Margaret Neil Fraser, the famous golfer, was one of those who died there, and many beds were endowed in the Second Unit in her memory.
The Third Serbian Unit when on its way out was commandeered by Lord Methuen at Malta [pg 63] for service among our own wounded troops, a service they were glad to render. Later when the Germans and Austrians overran Serbia, one of the Units retreated with the Serbian Army, but the one in which Dr. Inglis was, remained at Kralijevo where she refused to leave her Serbian wounded, knowing they would die without her care. She was captured with her staff and, after difficulties and indignities and discomforts, were released by the Austrians and returned through Switzerland to England. On her return she urged the War Office to send her, and her Unit, to Mesopotamia. Rumors had already reached England of the terrible state of things there from the medical point of view, which was fully revealed later by the Mesopotamian Commission. She was refused permission to go, though it is perfectly clear their assistance would have been invaluable and ought to have been used. Once more she returned to help the Serbians and established Units in the Balkans and South Russia. The Serbian people have shown every token of gratitude and of honor [pg 64] which it was in their power to bestow upon her. The people in 1916 put up a fountain in her honor at Mladenovatz, and the Serbian Crown Prince conferred on her the highest honor Serbia has to give, the First Order of the White Eagle. Dr. Inglis died, on November 26th, three days after bringing her Unit safely home from South Russia. Memorial services were held in her honor at St. Margaret's, Westminster, and in St. Giles's Cathedral, Edinburgh. Those who were there speak of it not as a funeral but as a triumph. The streets were thronged; all Edinburgh turned out to do her homage as she went to her last resting place. The Scottish Command was represented and lent the gun-carriage on which the coffin was borne and the Union Jack which covered it.
In the Cathedral the Rev. Dr. Wallace Williamson, Dean of the Order of The Thistle, said: "We are assembled this day with sad but proud and grateful hearts to remember before God a very dear and noble lady, our beloved sister, Elsie Inglis, who has been called to her rest. [pg 65] We mourn only for ourselves, not for her. She has died as she lived, in the clear light of faith and self-forgetfulness, and now her name is linked forever with the great souls who have led the van of womanly service for God and man. A wondrous union of strength and tenderness, of courage and sweetness, she remains for us a bright and noble memory of high devotion and stainless honor.... Especially today, in the presence of representatives of the land for which she died, we think of her as an immortal link between Serbia and Scotland, and as a symbol of that high courage which will sustain us, please God, till that stricken land is once again restored, and till the tragedy of war is eradicated and crowned with God's great gifts of peace and of righteousness."
The National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies also sent the Millicent Fawcett Unit, named after its honoured President, to Russia in 1916 to work among the Polish refugees, especially to do maternity nursing, and work among the children.[pg 66]
In February a Maternity Unit started work in Petrograd. With an excellent staff of women doctors, nurses and orderlies, the little hospital proved a veritable haven of helpfulness to the distressed refugee mothers. It soon established so good a reputation for its thorough and disinterested work that the help of the workers was asked for by the Moscow Union of Zemstovos (Town and Rural Councils) for Middle Russia and Galicia.
In May the Millicent Fawcett Hospital Units were sent out and at Kazan on the Volga a badly needed Children's Hospital for infectious diseases was opened. The only other hospital in the place was so full that it had two patients in each bed. They had a fierce fight against diphtheria and scarlet fever, which in many cases was very bad, and they succeeded in saving most of the children, who would certainly have died in their miserable homes.
In the summer, the Units took over a small hospital at Stara Chilnoe, a district without a doctor, and they treated not only refugees, but [pg 67] the peasants who came in daily in crowds from the surrounding districts. Other Units of the same kind were started in remote districts and in summer a Holiday Home at Suida was run to which the women and children could come from the Petrograd Maternity Hospital for a rest. They also took charge of two hospitals, temporarily without any medical staff, in a remote part of the Kazan district, where they were objects of the most intense curiosity.
The interpreters were kept busy answering questions about the ages, salaries and husbands of the staff, and the nurses' wrist watches roused great excitement.
That their gratitude and kindness was very real, though their notions of suitability of place and time were primitive, was shown by the gift of three live hens being dumped, at 4 a.m., on the bed of a sister sound asleep.
The final piece of work was the establishing of an infectious Hospital for peasants and soldiers in Volhynia, sixty miles behind the firing [pg 68] line in Galicia. This was done at the urgent request of the Zemstovos Union.
There they had to deal with a great deal of smallpox and in another case with scabies which they stamped out in one small village. These Units left Russia before the recent changes, but their work was valuable and appreciated, and again American women helped us in raising the necessary funds, having subscribed $7,500 towards the Units.
One of the workers, Ruth Holden, of Radcliffe College, Boston, died in one of the epidemics. We have had American women, as we have had men, helping us from the beginning of the war. The American Women's War Relief Fund most generously offered to fully equip and maintain a surgical hospital of 250 beds at Oldway House, Paignton, South Devon, at the beginning of the war, and this offer was gratefully accepted by the War Office through the Red Cross Society.
They also gifted six motor ambulances for use at the front—and these and the hospital have [pg 69] been of the very greatest service to our wounded men.
Others of our medical women are with mixed Units, such as The Wounded Allies' Relief Committee. Dr. Dickinson Berry went out with others in a Unit from the Royal Free Hospital to help the Serbian Government, and Dr. Alice Clark is in the Friends' Unit.
Our medical women have won rich laurels and have established themselves in their own profession permanently and thoroughly. Behind the Hospitals, we have the thousands of women who every day are working at the Hospital Supply Depots of our country. These are everywhere and nothing is more wonderful than the way in which our voluntary workers have gone on faithfully working, conforming to discipline and hours and steady service as conscientiously as any paid worker.
The organizing ability displayed by our women in this amounts to genius. The buying of material, cutting and making up, parcelling, storing, and packing of gigantic supplies, all the [pg 70] secretarial and clerical work involved has been the work of women and mostly of women of the leisured classes, many of them without any previous training. From the organization of the big schemes of supply down to such work as the collecting of sphagnum moss, everything that was needed has been done, and done well.[pg 71]
"It's a long, long way to Tipperary,
But my heart's right there."
"Blighty" is Home, the British soldiers in India's corruption of the Hindustanee, and Blighty is a word we all know well now.
The full records of this are not easy to give—so much has been done. Perhaps the simplest way is to begin with the soldier at the training camp and follow him through his soldier's existence. The first work lies in giving him comforts, and the women of our country still knit a good deal and in the early days knitted, as you do now to get your supplies, in trains and tubes and theatres and concerts, and public meetings. This was happening while many of our working women were without work and it was felt that this was likely to compete very seriously with the work of these women. The Queen realized there was likely to be hardships through this [pg 74] and also that there would probably be a great waste of material if voluntary effort was not wisely guided. So she called at Buckingham Palace a committee of women to consider the position and Queen Mary's Needlework Guild was the outcome of it. The following official statement, issued on August 21, 1914, intimated the Queen's wishes and policy.
Queen Mary's Needlework Guild has received representations to the effect that the provision of garments by voluntary labor may have the consequence of depriving of their employment workpeople who would have been engaged for wages in the making of the same garments for contractors to the Government. A very large part of the garments collected by the Guild consists, however, of articles which would not in the ordinary course have been purchased by the Government. They include additional comforts for the soldiers and sailors actually serving, and for the sick and wounded in hospital, clothing for members of their families who may fall into distress, and clothing to be distributed by the local committees for the prevention and relieving of distress among families who may be suffering from unemployment owing to the war. If these garments were not made by the voluntary labor of women who are willing to do their share of work for the country in the best way open to them, they would not, in the majority [pg 75] of cases, be made at all. The result would be that families in distress would receive in the winter no help in the form of clothing, and the soldiers and the sailors and the men in hospitals would not enjoy the additional comforts that would be provided. The Guild is informed that flannel shirts, socks, and cardigan jackets are a Government issue for soldiers; flannel vest, socks, and jerseys for sailors; pajama suits, serge gowns for military hospitals; underclothing, flannel gowns and flannel waistcoats for naval hospitals. Her Majesty the Queen is most anxious that work done for the Needlework Guild should not have a harmful effect on the employment of men, women, and girls in the trades concerned, and therefore desires that the workers of the Guild should devote themselves to the making of garments other than those which would, in the ordinary course, be bought by the War Office and Admiralty. All kinds of garments will be needed for distribution in the winter if there is exceptional distress.
The Queen would remind those that are assisting the Guild that garments which are bought from the shops and are sent to the Guild are equally acceptable, and their purchases would have the additional advantage of helping to secure the continuance of employment of women engaged in their manufacture. It is, however, not desirable that any appeal for funds should be made for this purpose which would conflict with the collection of the Prince of Wales's Fund.
Branches of Queen Mary's Needlework Guild [pg 76] were started everywhere and the Mayoresses of practically every town in the Kingdom organized their own towns. Gifts came from all over the world and a book kept at Friary Court, St. James', records the gifts received from Greater Britain and the neutral countries.
The demand for comforts was very great and in ten months the gross number of articles received was 1,101,105, but this did not represent anything like all. It was the Queen's wish that the branches of her Guild should be free to do as they wished in distribution, send to local regiments, or regiments quartered in the neighborhood, or use them for local distress. Great care was taken to see there was no overlapping, and this is secured fully by Sir Edward Ward's Committee.
Our men have been well looked after in the way of comforts, socks and mitts and gloves and jerseys, and mufflers and gloves for minesweepers and helmets, everything they needed, and the Regimental Comforts Funds and work still exists as well, all co-ordinated now.[pg 77]
The Fleet has also had fresh vegetables supplied to it the whole time by a voluntary agency.
At the Training Camps, in France, in every field of war, we have the Y.M.C.A., and there is no soldier in these days and no civilian who does not know the Red Triangle. There are over 1,000 huts in Britain and over 150 in France. It is the sign that means something to eat and something warm to drink, somewhere cozy and warm out of the cold and chill and damp of winter camp and trench, somewhere to write a letter, somewhere to read and talk, somewhere that brings all of "Blighty" that can come to the field of war. In our Y.M.C.A. huts, 30,000 women work. In the camp towns we have also the Guest Houses, run by voluntary organizations of women. In the Town Halls we have teas and music and in our houses we entertain overseas troops as our guests.
Our men move in thousands to and from the front, going and on leave, moving from one camp to another, and Victoria Station, Charing Cross and Waterloo are names written deep in our [pg 78] hearts these days. We have free buffets for our fighting men at all of these, and at all our London stations and ports, and these are open night and day. All the money needed is found by voluntary subscriptions.
Our men come in on the leave train straight from the trenches, loaded up with equipment, with their rifles canvas-covered to keep them dry and clean, with Flanders mud caked upon them to the waist, very tired, with that look they all bring home from the trenches in their eyes, but in Blighty and trying to forget how soon they have to go back. The buffets are there for them, and those who have no one to meet them in London and who have to travel north or west or east to go home, are met by men and women who direct them where to go by day and motor them across London to their station at night. The leave trains that get in on Sunday morning brings Scottish soldiers that cannot leave till evening, and St. Columba's, Church of Scotland, has stepped into the breach. The women meet the train, carry off the soldier for breakfast in the Hall, [pg 79] which is ready, and they entertain them all day. Thousands have been entertained in this way, and "It's just home," said one Gordon Highlander.
The soldier is in France and there he finds we have sent him Blighty, too—canteens and Y.M.C.A. Huts. Our books and our magazines, everything we can think of and send, goes to every field of war.
He is followed where he can be by amusement and entertainment. Concert parties are arranged by our actors and actresses, and they go out and sing and act and amuse our men behind the lines. Lena Ashwell has organized Concert parties and done a great work in this way.
Such work as Miss McNaughton's, recorded in her "Diary of the War," and for which she was decorated before her death, largely caused by overwork, as Lady Dorothie Fielding's ambulance work, for which she also was decorated, and the work of the "Women of Pervyse" stand out, even among the wonderful things done by individual women in this war.
The "Women of Pervyse," Mrs. Knocker, now [pg 80] the Baronnes de T'Serclas, and Miss Mairi Chisholm, went out with the Field Ambulance Committee, and were quartered with others at Ghent before and during and after the siege of Antwerp. When the ambulance trains started to come in from Antwerp they worked day and night moving the wounded from the station to the hospitals—they worked for hours under fire moving wounded, unperturbed and unshaken.
After the battle of Dixmude and the armies had settled on the Neuport-Ypres line, Mrs. Knocker started the Pervyse Poste de Secours Anglis, a dressing station so close to the firing line that the wounded could literally be lifted to it from the trenches.
There they have worked and cared for the men in conditions almost incredible. In February, 1915, they were decorated by King Albert, and since March they have been permanently attached to the Third Division of the Belgian Army.
In June, 1915, they were mentioned in dispatches for saving life under heavy fire. They [pg 81] have saved hundreds of lives by being where they can render aid so swiftly, and the military authorities do not move them, not only because they wish to pay tribute to their valor but because they are so valuable.
Most of all, "Blighty" goes to the soldier in his letters and there is nothing so dear to the soldier as his letters, and nothing is worse than to have "no mail." The woman who does not write, and the woman who writes the wrong things, are equally poor things. The woman who wants to help her man sends him bright cheerful letters, not letters about difficulties he can't help, and that will only worry him, but letters with all the news he would like to have, and the messages that count for so much. Every woman who writes to a soldier has in that an influence and a power worthy of all her best. Not only our letters but our thoughts and our prayers are a wall of strength to, and behind our men.
In this war some have talked of spiritual manifestations that saved disaster in our great retreat. In that people may believe or disbelieve, [pg 82] but no person of intelligence fails to realize the power of thought, and love, and hope, and the spirit of women can be a great power to their men in arms. There are so many ways of giving and sending that none of us need to fail.
Then he is in it—in the trenches—over the top—and he may be safe or he may be wounded—a "Blighty one," as our men say, and we get him home to nurse and care for—or he may make the supreme sacrifice and only the message goes home.
To everyone it must go with something of the consolation of the poem written by Rifleman S. Donald Cox of the London Rifle Brigade.
"To My Mother—1916
"If I should fall, grieve not that one so weak
And poor as I
Nay, though thy heart should break,
Think only this: that when at dusk they speak
Of sons and brothers of another one,
Then thou canst say, 'I, too, had a son,
He died for England's sake,'"
He may be a prisoner and then we follow him again. There are over 40,000 of our men prisoners and we have over 200,000 of the enemy. The treatment and conditions of our prisoners in Germany were sometimes terrible—the horrors of Wittenberg we can never forget, and we are deeply indebted to the American Red Cross, for all it did before America's entry into the war, for our prisoners.
From the beginning of the war we have had to feed our prisoners, and for the first two years parcels of food went from mothers, sisters and relatives of the men. Regimental Funds were raised and parcels sent through these. Girls' Clubs and the League of Honour and Churches and groups of many kinds sent also. The Savoy Association had a large fund and did a great work.
Parcels, which must weigh under eleven pounds, go free to prisoners of war and there are [pg 84] some regulations about what may be sent. Now the whole work is regulated by the Prisoners of War Help Committee—an official committee, and parcels are sent out under their supervision to every man in captivity.
Books, games and clothing also go out from us. In most of the Camps and at Ruhleben, where our civilians are interned, studies are carried on, and classes of instruction, and technical and educative books are much needed and demanded. Schools and colleges have sent out large supplies of these.
We have also raised funds for the Belgian Prisoners of War in Germany.
We have exchanged prisoners with Germany and have secured the release and internment in Switzerland of some hundreds of our worst wounded, and permanently disabled, and tubercular and consumptive men. In Switzerland, among the beautiful mountains, they are finding happiness and health again and many of them are working at new trades and training.
We sent out their wives to see them and some [pg 85] girls went to marry their released men. Some of our prisoners have escaped from Germany and reached us safely after many risks and adventures.
"Blighty" goes out to our men also in our Chaplains, the "Padres" of our forces, and many times soldiers have talked to me of their splendid "Padre" in Gallipoli, or France or Egypt. They have died with the men, bringing water and help and trying to bring in the wounded. They have been decorated with the V.C., our highest honor, the simple bronze cross given "For Valour." They write home to mothers and wives and relatives of the men who fall, and send last messages and words of consolation.
Their task is a great one, for to men who face death all the time, and see their dearest friends killed beside them, things eternal are living realities and there are questions for which they want answers. There is so much the Padre has to give and his messages are listened to in a new way and words are winged and living where these men are.[pg 86]
We have so many of our men from overseas among us who are far from their own homes, and in London we have Clubs for the Canadians, the Australians, the New Zealanders, for the two together, immortally to be known as the "Anzacs," and for the South Africans, where they can all find a bit of home. We have also just opened American Huts and the beautiful officers' Club at Lord Leconfield's house, lent for the purpose.
For the permanently disabled soldier we are doing a great deal. St. Dunstan's, the wonderful training school for the blind, has been the very special work of Sir Arthur Pearson, who is himself blind, and Lady Pearson.
The Lord Roberts Workshops for the disabled are doing splendid work in training and bringing hope to seriously crippled men.
The British Women's Hospital for which our women have raised $500,000, is on the site of the old Star and Garter Hotel at Richmond, and is to be for permanently disabled men.[pg 87]
There, overlooking our beautiful river, men who have been broken in the wars for us, may find a permanent home in this monument of our women's love and gratitude.[pg 89]
"She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
She is like the merchant's ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
"She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
"Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come."
The first result of the outbreak of war for women was to throw thousands of them out of work.
Nobody knew—not even the ablest financial and commercial men—just what a great European war was going to mean, and luxury trades ceased to get orders; women journalists, women writers, women lecturers, and women workers of every type were thrown out of work and unemployment was very great.
A National Relief Fund was started for general distress and the Queen dealt in the ablest manner with the women's problem. She issued this appeal: "In the firm belief that prevention of distress is better than its relief, and employment is better than charity, I have inaugurated the 'Queen's Work for Women Fund,' Its object is to provide employment for as many as possible of the women of this country who have been [pg 92] thrown out of work by the war. I appeal to the women of Great Britain to help their less fortunate sisters through the fund.
This appeal was instantly responded to and large sums were subscribed. A very representative Committee of Women was established, with Miss Mary MacArthur, the well known Trade Union leader, as Hon. Secretary and the Queen was in daily touch with its work.
In the dislocation of industry which had caused the committee's formation, it was found that there was great slackness in one trade or a part of it and great pressure in other parts of it or other trades. The problem was to use the unemployed firms and workers for the new national needs.
The committee considered it part of their work to endeavor to increase the number of firms getting Government contracts, and they created a special Contracts Department, under the direction of Mr. J.J. Mallon, of the Anti-sweating League. They, as a result, advised in regard to [pg 93] the placing of contracts and they undertook to get articles for the Government, or ordered by other sources, manufactured by firms adversely affected by the war or in their own workrooms. They worked with the firms accustomed to making men's clothing and now unemployed, and found that they could easily take military contracts if certain technical difficulties were removed. They interviewed the War Office authorities, modifications were suggested and approved and the full employment in the tailoring trade which followed gave a greatly improved supply of army clothing. Contracts were secured from the war office for khaki cloth, blankets, and various kinds of hosiery, and these were carried out by manufacturers who otherwise would have had to close down.
The Queen gave orders for her own gifts to the troops, and considerable work was done through trade workshops, care being taken to see that this work was only done where ordinary trade was fully employed. Two contracts from the War Office, typical of others, were for 20,000 [pg 94] shirts and for 2,000,000 pairs of army socks. Over 130 firms received contracts through the committee.
New openings for trades were tested and the possibility of the transference of work formerly done in Germany.
In its Relief Work the committee had its greatest problems. It was clear that if rates paid were high, women would come in from badly paid trades, and it was clear that if they sold the work, it would injure trade—so in the end it was decided to pay a low wage, 11/6 a week—and to give away, through the right agencies, the garments and things made in the workrooms.
The inefficiency of many workers was very clear and training schemes resulted—for typing, shorthand, in leather work, chair seat willowing, in cookery, dressmaking and dress-cutting, home nursing, etc.
Professional women were helped through various funds and workrooms were established by other organizations, several being started in London by the N.U.W.S.S.[pg 95]
As the months went on women began to be absorbed more and more into industry. Men were going into the army ceaselessly, our war needs were growing greater and our women found work opening out more and more. The Women's Service Bureau had been opened within a week of the outbreak of war and had done valuable work in placing women, before the Board of Trade issued its first official appeal to women, additional to those already in industry, to volunteer for War Service. It was sent out by Mr. Runciman, President of the Board of Trade, and read as follows:
The President of the Board of Trade wishes to call attention to the fact that in the present emergency, if the full fighting power of the nation is to be put forth on the field of battle, the full working power of the nation must be made available to carry on its essential trades at home. Already, in certain important occupations there are not enough men and women to do the work. [pg 96] This shortage will certainly spread to other occupations as more and more men join the fighting forces.
In order to meet both the present and the future needs of national industry during the war, the Government wish to obtain particulars of the women available, with or without previous training, for paid employment. Accordingly, they invite all women who are prepared, if needed, to take paid employment of any kind—industrial, agricultural, clerical, etc.—to enter themselves upon the Register of Women for War Service which is being prepared by the Board of Trade Labour Exchanges.
Any woman living in a town where there is a Labour Exchange can register by going there in person. If she is not near a Labour Exchange she can get a form of registration from the local agency of the Unemployment Fund. Forms will also be sent out through a number of women's societies.
The object of registration is to find out [pg 97] what reserve force of women's labour, trained or untrained, can be made available if required. As from time to time actual openings for employment present themselves, notice will be given through the Labor Exchanges, with full details as to the nature of work, conditions, and pay, and, so far as special training is necessary, arrangements will, if possible, be made for the purpose.
Any woman who by working helps to release a man or to equip a man for fighting does national war service. Every woman should register who is able and willing to take employment.
The forms were sent out in large numbers through the women's societies of the country, and it was stated on them that women were wanted at once for farm-work, dairy work, brush-making, leather stitching, clothing, machinery and machining for armaments.
By next day the registrations were 4,000, mostly middle-class women, and in the first week [pg 98] 20,000 registered and an average of 5,000 a week after, but the mass of women who registered waited with no real lead or use of them for a long time. The Government seemed to suffer from a delusion a great many people have, that if you have enough machinery and masses of names something is being done, but you do not solve any problem by registers. You solve it by getting the workers and the work together.
The Government had not approached employers at first, but had left it to them entirely to take the initiative in this great replacement. This they had to a considerable extent done, using the Labour Exchanges and the other agencies and women were more and more quickly, steadily, ceaselessly replacing men.
The appeals for women for munition work were most swiftly responded to and educated women volunteered in thousands, as did working girls and women.
The question of assisting employment by fitting more women for commercial and industrial occupations was considered by the Government, [pg 99] and in October, 1915, the Clerical and Commercial Occupations Committee was appointed by the Home Office—a similar committee being set up for Scotland. It arranged with the London County Council and with local authorities that their Education Committees should initiate emergency courses all over the country for training in general clerical work, bookkeeping and office routine. The courses lasted from three to ten weeks, and the age of the students varied from eighteen to thirty-five.
Many free courses were inaugurated by business firms in large London stores, notably Harrods and Whiteleys, where their courses included all office and business training. Six week courses of free training for the grocery trade, for the boot trade, lens making, waiting, hairdressing, etc., were also given.
Our woman labor has been found to be quite mobile and girls have moved in thousands from one part of the country to another, and the munition girl travelling home on holiday on her special permit is a familiar figure.[pg 100]
The registration, placing and moving of our workers is all done by our Labour Exchanges, now renamed Employment Exchanges and transferred from the Board of Trade to the Ministry of Labour.
When the National Service Department was set up, a Women's Branch was established with Mrs. H.J. Tennant, and Miss Violet Markham as Co-directors, and they made various appeals, registered women for the land, munitions, W.A.A.C. and for wood cutting and pitprop making. A great demonstration of "Women's Service" was held in the Albert Hall in January 17, 1917, at which Mrs. Tennant and Miss Markham, Lord Derby, Minister of War; Mr. Prothero, President of the Board of Agriculture, and Mr. John Hodge, Minister of Labour, spoke and at which the Queen was present. It was an appeal to women for more work and a registration of their determination to go on doing all that was needed. The men's message was one to equals—they asked great things. A message from Queen Mary was read for the first time at any public [pg 101] meeting and it was the only occasion on which she has attended one.
The number of women now in our industry directly replacing men, according to our latest returns, is over one and a quarter millions. This does not include domestic service, where our maids grow less and less numerous and Sir Auckland Geddes, Director of National Service, tells us he is considering cutting down servants in any establishment to not more than three, and it does not include very small shops and firms.
The processes in industry in which women work are numbered in hundreds. The War Office in 1916 issued an official memorandum for the use of Military Representatives and Tribunals setting forth the processes in which women worked and the trades and occupations, and giving photographs of women doing unaccustomed and heavy work, to guide the Tribunals in deciding exemptions of men called up for Military Service.
In professional work today women are everywhere. There are 198,000 women in Government [pg 102] Departments, 83,000 of these new since the war. They are doing typing, shorthand, and secretarial work, organizing and executive work. They are in the Censor's office in large numbers and doing important work at the Census of Production. There are 146,000 on Local Government work. The woman teacher has invaded that stronghold of man in England, the Boys' High and Grammar Schools, and is doing good work there. They are replacing men chemists in works, doing research, working at dental mechanics, are tracing plans. They are driving motor cars in large numbers. Our Prime Minister has a woman chauffeur. They are driving delivery vans and bringing us our goods, our bread and our milk. They carry a great part of our mail and trudge through villages and cities with it. They drive our mail vans, and I know two daughters of a peer who drive mail vans in London. I know other women who never did any work in their lives who for three years have worked in factories, taking the same work, the same holidays, the same pay as the other girls. [pg 103] Women are gardeners, elevator attendants, commissionaires and conductors on our buses and trams, and in provincial towns drive many of the electric trams.
In the railways they are booking clerks, carriage and engine cleaners and greasers, and carriage repairers, cooks and waiters in dining cars, platform, parcel and goods porters, telegraphists and ticket collectors and inspectors, and labourers and wagon sheet repairers. They work in quarries, are coal workers, clean ships, are park-keepers and cinema operators. They are commercial travellers in large numbers. They are in banks to a great extent and are now taking banking examinations.
There was a very strong feeling as the replacement by women went on that there must be no lowering of wage standards which would not only be grossly unfair to women but imperil the returning soldier's chance of getting his post back.
Mrs. Fawcett, on behalf of the Women's Interests Committee of the N.U.W.S.S., called [pg 104] a conference on the question of War Service and wages in 1915, and Mr. Runciman stated at the conference:
As regards the wages and conditions on which women should be employed, as a general principle the Exchanges did not, and could not, take direct responsibility as to the wages and conditions, beyond giving in each case such information as was in their possession. In regard, however, to Government contractors, it had been laid down that the piece rates for women should be the same as for men, and further special instructions had been given to the Exchanges to inform inexperienced applicants of the current wages in each case, so that they should be fully apprised as to the wage which it was reasonable for them to ask. A general safeguard against permanent lowering of wages by the admission of women to take the place of men on service would be made by asking employers, so far [pg 105] as possible, to keep the men's places open for them on their return.
Wages in most cases are at the same rate as men, and as women are organized in Britain in large numbers, the Trades Unions and Women's Committees are always alive and ready to act on the question of payment and conditions. Our workers, men and women, are very well paid and despite high prices, were never more comfortable, and never saved more. The call for women to replace men still goes on in Britain. Miners are going to be combed out again. The Trade Unions have been again approached by the Premier and Sir Auckland Geddes on this question of man power. The Battalions must be filled up—in France we need 2,000,000 men all the time and of these 1,670,000 are from our own Islands.
It is calculated there are in Britain today—Ireland is not tapped in woman power any more than in man power—less than a million women who could do more important work for the war [pg 106] than they are now doing. Most of these are already doing work of one kind or another, but could probably do more.
Our homes, our industries, munitions, the land, hospitals, Government service and the Waac's are absorbing us in our millions. Britain could not have raised her Army and Navy and could not now keep her men in the field without the mobilization of her women and their ceaseless, tireless work behind her men, and as substitutes for them, in the working life of the community.[pg 107]
"For all we have and are,
For all our children's fate—
Rise up and meet the war,
The Hun is at the gate.
"Comfort, content, delight,
The ages' slow-bought gain,
Have shrivelled in a night,
Only ourselves remain.
"Though all we knew depart,
The old commandments stand,
In courage keep your heart,
In strength lift up your hand."
"Hats off to the Women of Britain!"—Sir ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE in The Times, November 28, 1916.
When war broke out the Government had three National workshops producing munitions—today it has 100, and it controls over 5,000 establishments through the Ministry of Munitions, many of which are continually growing in size.
The total output has increased over thirty-fold but in many cases increase in production has been far greater. In guns, the production of 4.5 field howitzers is over fifty times as large; of machine guns and howitzers over seventy times and of heavy howitzers (over 6 inch) over 420 times as large.
More small shell is now made in a fortnight than formerly in a year, and the increase in output of heavy shell has been still larger. Equally striking results have been attained in [pg 110] the production of machine guns, aeroplanes motor bodies, and the other war supplies, for which demand and replacement have necessarily grown with the demand for guns and shells. To these have to be added the ships and the anti-submarine and anti-aircraft machines and devices that have been demanded by the enemy's method of warfare.
This work has only been possible in a country that has raised five million men, 75 per cent from our own islands, because of what women have done.
Today there are between 800,000 and 1,000,000 women in munitions works in our country, and the history of their entry and work is a wonderful one. Women themselves were quicker than the Government to realize how much they would be needed in munitions, and started to train before openings were ready.
Women realized vividly what Lloyd George's speech of June, 1915, made clear, the urgent, terrible need of our men for more munitions—the Germans could send over ten shells to our [pg 111] one—and women volunteered in thousands for munition work.
The London Society for Women's Suffrage, which was running "Women's Service," had women volunteers for munitions in enormous numbers and tried to secure openings for them. It investigated and found that acetylene welders were badly needed. There were very few in Britain, and welding is essential for aircraft and other work, so they started to find out if there were classes for training women, and found none in Technical Schools were open to women. They found welders were needed very much in certain aircraft factories in the neighborhood of London and the manager of one assured them that if women were trained satisfactorily for oxy-acetylene welding, he would give them a trial. So "Women's Service" decided to open a small workshop and secured Miss E.C. Woodward, a metal worker of long standing, as instructor. The school was started in a small way with six pupils. Oxy-acetylene welding is the most [pg 112] effective way of securing a perfect weld without any deleterious effect upon the metal.
The great heat needed for the purpose of uniting two or more pieces of metal so as to make of them an autogenous whole is obtained, in this process, by the burning of acetylene gas in conjunction with oxygen.
Carbide, looking like little lumps of granite, is placed in a tray at the bottom of the generator for acetylene gas, which is of the form of a small portable gasometer. The tap, admitting water to the carbide trays, is turned on, and gas at once generates, and forces up the generator in the way so familiar to those who often see a gasometer. This gas passes through a tube to the blow-pipe of the welder, or to any other use for which it is destined.
In oxy-acetylene welding, the process employs the flame produced by the combustion in a suitable blow-pipe of oxygen and acetylene. When a light is applied to the nozzle of the pipe a yellow flame, a foot long, flares up, and in the centre of it, close to the nozzle, appears a very small, [pg 113] dazzling, bluish flame, which can only safely be gazed upon by eyes protected by coloured glasses. The temperature of this flame at the apex is about 6,300 degrees Fahr., and it is with this that the metals to be welded together are brought to a suitable degree of heat.
The workers' eyes are protected by black goggles, their hair confined by caps or handkerchiefs, and overalls or leather-aprons protect their clothes from the sparks and also from the smuts which naturally accrue on surrounding objects. Each welder holds in her right hand the blow-pipe of the craft, from which depends two long flexible tubes, one conducting oxygen from the tall cylinder in the corner, and the other acetylene from the generator. In her left hand she holds the welding-stick of soft Swedish iron, from which tiny molten drops fall upon the glowing edges of the metal to be welded together. The work is fascinating even to the onlooker, and to see the result, metal so welded you feel it is impossible it ever could have been two pieces, is still more fascinating.[pg 114]
The first welders triumphantly passed their tests and gave every satisfaction in the factory, and the training went on and the School was enlarged.
The oxy-acetylene welders turned out by this School have gone all over the country and 220 were trained and placed in the first year. Those selected were, with few exceptions, educated women, which was undoubtedly a material factor in the success of their work. This School opened training to women and welding is now taught to women in many of our Technical Schools. A class in Elementary Engineering has also been carried on by Women's Service with great success and the women placed in workshops.
The Ministry of Munitions has also arranged, in conjunction with the London County Council and other Educational Authorities, to have free munition training for women at every centre in the Kingdom. The courses vary from six to nine weeks and maintenance grants are paid during the period of training.[pg 115]
In October, 1915, the Central Labour Supply Committee which dealt with women's and men's conditions, issued certain recommendations in Circular L.2. These dealt with the conditions and rates of pay of women and fully skilled and unskilled men. The provision of this much-discussed circular that affected women doing skilled work was in Clause 1, which provides that "Women employed on work customarily done by fully skilled tradesmen shall be paid the time rates of the tradesman whose work they undertake."
These provisions were then only binding on the Government establishments, and could not be enforced by the Ministry of Munitions in controlled establishments. On December 31, 1915, a conference was held between the Prime Minister, the Minister of Munitions and representatives of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, when an agreement in regard to "dilution" was arranged. Circular L. 2 was adopted at this conference as the basis of the undertaking given by the Ministry in regard to dilution of labor. [pg 116] An employer under it can be punished as contravening the Munitions Act if he fails to carry out the direction of the Minister. The power of enforcing the provisions of L. 2 were acquired in January, 1916, and it is quite obvious that in this circular a principle of the greatest importance to men and women is laid down. Women were wholly averse to being "blacklegs" in industry.
The great work of "Dilution" in Munitions—and by dilution we mean the use in industry of unskilled, semi-skilled and woman labor, so that highly skilled men may not be used except for the most important work—is done by the Dilution Department of the Ministry of Munitions, which issues Dilution of Labour Bulletins and Process Sheets periodically, showing the work women are doing. A series of exhibitions of women's work have also been arranged by the Technical Section of the Labour Supply Department in all the big towns in England. In Sheffield over 16,000 people came to see the [pg 117] Exhibition—the largest number of these being foremen and workmen sent by their firms.
The Exhibitions consist of two main sections, one of which shows actual samples of munitions made by women, and the other of photographs of women doing work on apparatus or processes that could not be shown. A complete Clerget engine, for instance, was lent by the Air Board to illustrate the final assembly of the numerous parts of these engines being made wholly or partly by women. In the same way, many parts of complete Stokes Guns, Vickers Machine Guns and Service Rifles were exhibited. The exhibits were divided into fifteen groups. The first group dealing with engines for aircraft. The second group showed engines for motor cars, tanks, tractors, motor buses, motor lorries and motor vehicles.
A separate group consisted of a variety of accessories for internal combustion engines, including air pump for the Clerget engine, which is completely manufactured and assembled by women, largely under women supervision; and [pg 118] magnetos, a very important and accurate industry, before the war largely in German hands, of which women now undertake the entire manufacture.
The fourth group dealt with steam engines, including details of locomotives, high speed engines, steam winches, and steam turbines.
The next two groups dealt respectively with guns and components and with small arms.
The next three groups included gauges, drills, cutters, punches and dies, trucks, jigs, tap pieces and general tool-room work. The gauges included plug, ring, cylinder and screw gauges to the closest degrees of accuracy, which in practice are verified by the rigid inspection of the National Physical Laboratory.
A fair illustration of the accuracy that is habitually required in a large volume of work is to be seen in the final gauging and inspection of a screw gauge for a fuse, in which the women inspectors were described in the catalogue as examining these screws by an optical projection apparatus, magnifying fifty times, with the help [pg 119] of which the inspector notes the defects in size and form, and the necessary corrections.
The cutting tools included sets of cutters for the manufacture of shells, as well as twist drills, reamers, milling cutters, gear cutters, screwing dies, taps and lathe tools. Some of this work is of high accuracy, and a set of solid screwing dies has the particular interest that almost all the operations are carried out by women after they have been in the shop for a fortnight. The general tool-room work included an exhibit of seventy-one punches and dies for cartridge making. Another set of dies was shown for small-arms ammunition, and specimens were also exhibited of chucks, die-heads and other work.
Two other groups dealt with the metal fittings and wooden structural parts of aircraft, and to see girls work on these is intensely interesting—anything more fragile looking and more beautiful than the long uncovered wing it would be difficult to find. A notable feature of the metal group was a number of parts that are marked off from drawings by women working under a woman charge-hand, [pg 120] and themselves making their own scribing-templates when necessary. Many examples of welding work were also shown.
There were Optical Munitions and medical and surgical glass and X-ray tubes made entirely by women, and the Exhibitions record the progress of women in Munitions in the most wonderful and striking way.
Mr. Ben. H. Morgan, Chief Officer, in a recent speech on Munitions and Production said:
"Labor had to be found to staff the thousands of factories in which this stupendous production was to be carried out, and it has been possible to find it only by subdividing work closely, and entrusting a large variety of machinery and fitting to women, with the help of the fullest possible equipment of jigs and all available appliances for mechanically defining and facilitating the work, and of instruction by skilled men. By this means an output has been obtained that will compare favorably with that of any class of [pg 121] workers in any country. Comparing, for instance, our women's figures of output on certain sizes of shell and types of fuses with those of men in the United States, I found recently that the women's machining times were not only as good but in many cases better than those of men in some of the best organized American shops.
"This is an extraordinary result to have been obtained from women who, for the most part, had never known either the work or the discipline of factory life, and were wholly unused to mechanical operations. More than one circumstance has doubtless contributed to making it possible; but it is my assured conviction that foremost among the incentives by which women have been helped has been their constant thought of their flesh and blood, their husbands, brothers, sons, sweethearts, in the trenches. I know a typical example in a Yorkshire mother, who early in the war sent her only son to the fighting line. The lad was a skilled [pg 122] mechanic, and she took his place at his lathe in the Leeds shops where he worked. She is not only keeping this job going, but her output on the job she is doing is a record for the whole country."
The women workers' productions has been admirable and is steady and continues so. The Manchester Guardian of November 15, 1915, astounded women and men alike by its announcement that "figures were produced in proof of the very startling assertion that the output of the women munition workers is slightly more than double that of men."
In the latest Dilution of Labour Bulletin this is recorded:
"A firm in the London and South Eastern district making propellers for aeroplanes has recently begun the employment of women, and the results are exceeding all expectations. As an instance it is reported [pg 123] that five women are now doing the work of scraping, formerly done by six men, with an increase of 70 per cent in output."
The way in which managers, foremen and skilled men have trained and helped the women and work with them cannot be too highly praised—the success of "dilution"—the ability of women to help their country in this way, was only possible through the good will and co-operation of our great Trade Unions and skilled men.
Women supervisors and examiners are trained at Woolwich, and the first of these were found by "Women's Service," and we find women control and manage large numbers of women in the big works extremely well. One girl of twenty-three, the daughter of a famous engineer, is controlling the work of 6,000 women who are working on submarines, guns, aircraft, and all manner of munitions.
One great engineer who believes in women and women's future in engineering has started what we might term an engineering college for women.[pg 124]
He has built a model factory away in the hills "somewhere in Scotland" with four tiers of ferro-cement floors. It is built with the idea of taking 300 women students and eight months after it opened, it had sixty women students. It is a factory entirely for women, run by, and to a large extent managed by women, with the exception of two men instructors. In the ground floor the girls are working at parts of high power aeroplane engines, under their works superintendent, a woman who took her Mathematical Tripos at Newnham College, and was lecturer at one of our girls' public schools. The women rank as engineer apprentices and their hours are forty-four a week. The first six months are probationary with pay at 20/- ($5) a week, and the students are doing extremely well.
"Women are now part and parcel of our great army," said the Earl of Derby, on July 13, 1916, "without them it would be impossible for progress to be made, but with them I believe victory can be assured."
Mr. Asquith, too, has paid his tribute to the [pg 125] woman munition maker and to others who are doing men's work. In a memorable speech on the Second Reading of the Special Register Bill, he admitted that the women of this country have rendered as effective service in the prosecution of the war as any other class of the community. "It is true they cannot fight in the gross material sense of going out with rifles and so forth, but they fill our munition factories, they are doing the work which the men who are fighting had to perform before, they have taken their places, they are the servants of the State and they have aided in the most effective way in the prosecution of the war."
Our munition women are in the shipyards, the engineering shops, the aeroplane sheds, the shell shops, flocking in thousands into the cities, leaving homes and friends to work in the munition cities we have built since the war. When our great arsenals and factories empty, women pour out in thousands. Night and day they have worked as the men have and it has been no easy or light task. We know that still more will be [pg 126] demanded of us, but we think, as our four million men do, that these things are well worth doing for the freedom of the souls of the nations.
In the munition factories that feeling and conviction burns like a flame and the enemy who thinks to demoralize our men and our women by bombing our homes and our workshops finds the workers, men and women, only made more determined.
The women handle high explosives in the "danger buildings" for ten and a half hours in a shift, making and inserting the detonating fuses, where a slip may result in their own death and that of their comrades. Working with T.N.T. they turn yellow—hands and face and hair—and risk poisoning. They are called the "canary girls," and if you ask why they do it they will tell you it isn't too much to risk when men risk everything in the trenches—and sometimes the one they cared for most is in a grave in France or on some other front, and they "carry on."
The Prime Minister paid a tribute to munition [pg 127] makers in one of his speeches when he said:
"I remember perfectly well when I was Minister of Munitions we had very dangerous work. It involved a special alteration in one element of our shells. We had to effect that alteration. If we had manufactured the whole thing anew it would have involved the loss of hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition at a time when we could not afford it. But the adaptation of the old element with a fuse is a very dangerous operation, and there were several fatal accidents. It was all amongst the women workers in the munition factories; there was never a panic. They stuck to their work. They knew the peril. They never ran away from it."[pg 129]
"Are our faces grave, and our eyes intent?
Is every ounce that is in us bent
On the uttermost pitch of accomplishment?
Though it's long and long the day is.
Ah! we know what it means if we fool or slack;
—A rifle jammed—and one comes not back;
And we never forget—it's for us they gave.
And so we will slave, and slave, and slave,
Lest the men at the front should rue it.
Their all they gave, and their lives we'll save,
If the hardest of work can do it;—
Though it's long and long the day is."
The Ministry of Munitions has a great department devoted to the work of looking after our workers' interests.
This department of the Ministry was established by Mr. Lloyd George. Mr. Rowntree, whose work is so well known, was put in charge.
The health of the Munition Workers' Committee was set up when the Ministry was established with the concurrence of the Home Secretary, "To consider and advise on questions of industrial fatigue, hours of labor, and other matters affecting the personal health and physical efficiency of workers in munition factories and work shops."
Sir George Newman, M.D., is chairman of the committee and the two women members are Mrs. H.J. Tennant and Miss R.E. Squire. Memoranda on various industrial problems have been [pg 132] drawn up by the committee and acted upon—the first being on Sunday labour.
In the early part of the war our men and women frequently worked seven days in the week and shifts were very long for women as for men. Practically no holidays were taken in answer to Lord Kitchener's appeals. The regulations preventing women from working on Sunday had been removed in a limited number of cases. The investigation of the committee in November, 1915, showed that Sunday labor when it meant excessive hours was bad and it did not increase output, that the strain on foremen and managers in particular was very great, and they recommended a modification of the policy.
In a later Memorandum, No. 12, on output in relation to hours of work, very interesting figures were given, practically all showing increased output as a result of shorter hours of labor.
The committee reported in Memorandum No. 5 that it was of the opinion that continuous work by women in excess of the normal legal limit of sixty hours per week ought to be discontinued [pg 133] as soon as practicable, and that the shift system should be used instead of overtime.
A special Memorandum, No. 4, was entirely concerned with the employment of women and dealt with hours, conditions, rest and meals, management and supervision, and it strongly urged every precaution and protection for women.
The Welfare Department meantime had started on its work of securing, training and appointing Welfare Supervisors, Miss Alleyne looking after that branch of the work.
The Department was "charged, with the general responsibility of securing a high standard of conditions" for the workers.
The growth of the work has been enormous. The Ministry of Munitions today has large numbers of Welfare Supervisors with every Government establishment and the controlled establishments have them also. In Government shops they are paid by the Ministry, in controlled establishments by the management and their [pg 134] appointment is notified to the Welfare Department.
The Ministry has issued a leaflet on "Duties of Welfare Supervisors for Women," which is given at the end of this chapter.
It will be seen that the Welfare Worker must be a rather wonderful person. She must be tactful, know how to handle girls, and be a person of judgment and decision. We have succeeded in securing a very large number of admirable women and excellent work is being done. The Welfare Workers are in their turn inspected by Welfare Inspectors and Miss Proud, the Chief Inspector in dangerous factories, who sees the precautions against risk of poisoning from Tri-nitro-toluol, Tetryl, the aeroplane wing dope, etc., are all carried out by the management, has written an admirable textbook on welfare work. The country for this purpose is divided into nine areas, and two women inspectors work in each.
Woolwich Arsenal is one of our great centres of women's work and the Chief Welfare Supervisor there, Miss Lilian Barker, is the most [pg 135] capable woman Supervisor in Britain, a statesman among Supervisors. Any visitor to the Arsenal cannot help being struck by the general impression of contentment, happiness and health of the woman worker there in her thousands. It is rare to see a sickly face among them, even among the girls in the Danger Zone. Miss Barker is constantly adding to her own staff of supervisors and training others for provincial centres. She and her Assistants interview new hands and arrange changes and transfers of women. She enquires into all complaints, advises as to clothing, keeps an eye on the vast canteen organization of Woolwich, and initiates schemes for recreation—notices of whist drives, dances and concerts are constantly up on the boards. The housing of the immigrant workers—no small problem, she and her assistants deal with. They suggest improvements in conditions and are awake to signs of illness or overfatigue. They follow the worker home and look after the young mother and the sick girl and women.[pg 136]
Hostels have been built there and all over the country by the Government and by factory owners, and the Hostel Supervisors have a big and useful work to do.
They are very well arranged with a room for each girl and nice rest rooms, dining rooms and good sickroom accommodations. Rules are cut down to a minimum. Most Supervisors find out ways of working without them.
"Smoking is allowed at this end of the restroom," said one Superintendent, "but since we have permitted this recreation, it seems to have fallen out of favour," which seems to show munition girls are very human.
Hutments have also been built for married couples. Lodgings are inspected and when suitable, scheduled for workers coming to the area. In some cases the management in private factories do not adopt formal welfare workers but get a woman of the right type and put her in charge of the female operatives, with generally excellent results. The value of the influence of this work on our girls cannot be over-estimated—it [pg 137] is an influence of the very best kind, and our experiences in munition and welfare work, every class of women working together, is going to be of great and permanent good.
The professional woman and the girls who flock to London in large numbers for work in Government Departments, must be housed also, and there are many extremely good Hostels. Bedford House, the old Bedford College for Women, is now a delightful Hostel run by the Y.W.C.A., whose work for munition girls deserves very special mention. They had Hostels over the country before the war and have added to these. They have set up Clubs all over the country for the girls in munitions and industry in 150 centres, and these are very much appreciated and used by thousands of girls.
The feeding of the munition worker is another great piece of work. It started, like so many of our things, in voluntary effort. The conditions of the men and women working all night and without any possibility of getting anything warm to eat and drink and, exhausted with their heavy [pg 138] work, made people feel something must be done, and the first efforts were to send round barrows with hot tea and coffee and sandwiches, etc. More and more it was realized that the provision of proper meals for the workers, men and women, was indispensable for the maintenance of output on which our fighting forces depended for their very lives—and the Government, the Y.M.C.A., the Y.W.C.A. and various other agencies, started to establish canteens. The Y.W.C.A. alone in its canteens serves 80,000 meals a week. Large numbers of private firms have established their own canteens.
The Health of Munition Workers Committee reported, in November, 1915, that it was extremely desirable to establish canteens in every factory in which it would be useful. Many canteens existed before the war, but they have been added to enormously and the recommendations of the committee as to accessibility, attractiveness, form, food and service carried out.
The Canteen Committee of the Liquor Control Board who have looked after this work have [pg 139] issued an admirable official pamphlet, "Feeding the Munition Worker," in which plans for construction and all details are given. An ideal canteen should always provide facilities for the worker to heat his or her own food.
The prices are very reasonable, and in most cases only cover cost of food and service, soup and bread is 4 cents—cut from joint and two vegetables, 12 to 16 cents.
Puddings, 2 to 4 cents,
Bread and cheese, 3 to 4 cents,
Tea, coffee and cocoa, 2 cents a cup,
and a variety is arranged in the week's menu.
The Y.W.C.A. Huts are very popular. In some of them the girls get dinners for 10 cents, and the dinner includes joint, vegetables and pudding.
There are comfortable chairs in them in which girls can rest and attractive magazines and books to read in the little restrooms. The workers in charge of these canteens are educated women and the waiting and service is done by voluntary helpers. There is not only excellent [pg 140] feeding for our workers in these canteens, but there is great economy in food and fuel. To cook 400 dinners together is much less wasteful than to cook them separately, and the cooks in these are generally trained economists.
The children, too, are not forgotten. Our welfare workers follow the young mother home and find out if the children are all right and well taken care of. We have done even more in the war than before for our babies and the infant death rate is falling. We have established excellent creches and nurseries where they are needed.
It is impossible to overestimate the value of all this work in industry. The Prime Minister, speaking last year on this subject, said, "It is a strange irony, but no small compensation, that the making of weapons of destruction should afford the occasion to humanize industry. Yet such is the case. Old prejudices have vanished, new ideas are abroad; employers and workers, the public and the State, are all favourable to new methods. The opportunity must not be allowed to slip. It may well be that, when the [pg 141] tumult of war is a distant echo and the making of munitions a nightmare of the past, the effort now being made to soften asperities, to secure the welfare of the workers, and to build a bridge of sympathy and understanding between employer and employed, will have left behind results of permanent and enduring value to the workers, to the nation and to mankind at large."
I am no believer in the gloomy predictions of industrial revolutions after the war. We will have revolutions—but of the right kind and one thing has been clearly shown, that the workers of our country are not only loyal citizens but realize every issue of this conflict as vividly as anyone else. On their work, men and women, our Navy, our Army and our country, have depended—and they have not failed us in any real thing.
NOTE.—It is not suggested that all these duties [pg 142] should be imposed upon the Employment Superintendent directly she is appointed. The size of the Factory will to a certain extent determine the scope of her work, and in assigning her duties regard will of course be had to her professional ability to cope with them.
These officers are responsible solely to the firms that employ them, and in no sense to the Ministry of Munitions.
The experience which has now been obtained in National and other Factories making munitions of war has demonstrated that the post of Welfare Supervisor is a valuable asset to Factory management wherever women are employed. Through this channel attention has been drawn to conditions of work, previously unnoted, which were inimical to the well-being of those employed. The following notes have, therefore, been prepared for the information of employers who have not hitherto engaged such officers, but who desire to know the position a Welfare Supervisor [pg 143] should take and the duties and authority which, it is suggested, might be delegated to her.
It has generally been found convenient that the Welfare Supervisor should be directly responsible to the General Manager, and should be given a definite position on the managerial staff in connection with the Labour Employment Department of the Factory. She is thus able to refer all matters calling for attention direct to the General Manager, and may be regarded by him as a liaison between him and the various Departments dealing with the women employees.
The duty of a Welfare Supervisor is to obtain and to maintain a healthy staff of workers and to help in maintaining satisfactory conditions for the work.
In order to obtain a staff satisfactory both from the point of view of health and technical efficiency, it has been found to be an advantage [pg 144] to bring the Welfare Supervisor into the business of selecting women and girls for employment.
Her function is to consider the general health, physical capacity and character of each applicant. As regards those under 16 years of age, she could obtain useful advice as to health from the Certifying Surgeon when he grants Certificates of fitness. The Management can, if they think fit, empower her to refer for medical advice to their panel Doctor, other applicants concerning whose general fitness she is in doubt. This selection of employees furnishes the Welfare Supervisor with a valuable opportunity for establishing a personal link with the workers.
Her function is thus concerned with selection on general grounds, while the actual engaging of those selected may be carried out by the Overlooker or other person responsible for the technical side of the work. In this way both aspects of appointment receive full consideration.
The Management may find further that it is [pg 145] useful to consult the Welfare Supervisor as to promotions of women in the Factory, thus continuing the principle of regarding not only technical efficiency but also general considerations in the control of the women in the Factory.
The Welfare Supervisor should ascertain what are the particular needs of the workers. These needs will then be found to group themselves under two headings:
(a) Needs within the Factory—Intramural Welfare.
(b) Needs outside the Factory—Extramural Welfare.
The Welfare Supervisor may be made responsible for the following matters:
(a) General behaviour of women and girls inside the factory.—While responsibility for the [pg 146] technical side of the work must rest with the Technical Staff, the Welfare Supervisor should be responsible for all questions of general behaviour.
(b) Transfer.—The Welfare Supervisor would, if the health of a woman was affected by the particular process on which she is engaged, be allowed, after having consulted the Foreman concerned, to suggest to the Management the possibility of transfer of the woman to work more suited to her state of health.
(c) Night Supervision.—The Welfare Supervisor should have a deputy for night work and should herself occasionally visit the Factory at night to see that satisfactory conditions are maintained.
(d) Dismissal.—It will be in keeping with the general suggestions as to the functions of the Welfare Supervisor if she is consulted on general grounds with regard to the dismissal of women and girls.
(e) The maintenance of healthy conditions.—This [pg 147] implies that she should, from the point of view of the health of the female employees, see to the general cleanliness, ventilation and warmth of the Factory and keep the Management informed of the results of her observations.
(f) The provision of seats.—She should study working conditions so as to be able to bring to the notice of the Management the necessity for the provision of seats where these are possible.
Unless the Factory is a small one it would hardly be possible for the Welfare Supervisor to manage the canteen. The Management will probably prefer to entrust the matter to an expert who should satisfy the Management in consultation with the Welfare Supervisor on the following matters:—
(1) That the Canteen provides all the necessary facilities for the women workers; that [pg 148] is to say, suitable food, rapidly and punctually served.
(2) That Canteen facilities are provided when necessary for the women before they begin work so that no one need start work without having taken food.
(3) That the Canteen is as restful and as comfortable as possible so that it serves a double purpose of providing rest as well as food.
While not responsible for actually attending to accidents, except in small Factories, the Welfare Supervisor should work in close touch with the Factory Doctor and Nurses. She should, however, be responsible for the following matters:—
(1) She should help in the selection of the Nurses, who should be recognised as belonging to the Welfare staff.
(2) While not interfering with the Nurses [pg 149] in the professional discharge of their duties, she should see that their work is carried out promptly and that the workers are not kept waiting long before they receive attention.
(3) She should supervise the keeping of all records of accident and illness in the Ambulance Room.
(4) She should keep in touch with all cases of serious accident or illness.
It would further be useful if she were allowed to be kept in touch with the Compensation Department inside the Factory with a view to advising on any cases of hardship that may arise.
The Welfare Supervisor should be held responsible for the following matters:—
(1) General cleanliness.
(2) Prevention of Loitering.
(3) Prevention of Pilfering.
The Management will decide what staff is necessary [pg 150] to assist her, and it should be her duty to report to the Management on these matters.
The Welfare Supervisor should have the duty of supervising the Protective Clothing supplied to the women for their work.
The Welfare Supervisor should keep in touch with all outside agencies responsible for:—
(2) Transit facilities.
(3) Sickness and Maternity cases.
(5) Day Nurseries.
In communicating with any of these agencies it will no doubt be preferable that she should do so through the Management.
A. The Welfare Supervisor should for the purpose of her work have some personal records of [pg 151] every woman employee. If a card-index system is adopted, a sample card suggesting the necessary particulars which it is desirable should be kept by Welfare Supervisors is supplied to employers on request.
B. The Welfare Supervisor should have some way of observing the health in relation to the efficiency of the workers, and if the Management approved this could be done:
(a) By allowing her to keep in touch with the Wages Department. She could then watch the rise and fall of wages earned by individual employees from the point of view that a steady fall in earnings may be the first indication of an impending breakdown in health.
(b) By allowing her to keep in touch with the Time Office she should be able to obtain records of all reasons for lost time. From such records information can be obtained of sickness, inadequate transit and urgent domestic duties, which might otherwise not be discovered. Here again, if a card-index system [pg 152] is adopted a sample card for this purpose can be obtained from the Welfare and Health Section on request.
(c) By keeping records of all cases of accident and sickness occurring in the Factory. Sample Ambulance Books and Accident Record Cards can also be obtained from the Welfare and Health Section.
"If it were not for the women, agriculture would be at an absolute standstill on many farms in England and Wales today."
The Land Army of Women, which now numbers over 258,300 whole and part-time workers, has done splendid work. For some years before the war women had been very little used on the land in certain parts of England and Wales. In Scotland and in some of the English counties there had always been, and still were, quite fair numbers of women on the land.
Within eighteen months of the outbreak of war, about 300,000 agricultural laborers had enlisted and the work had been carried on with difficulty by the farmer in the first year of the war. The farmer secured all the labor he could, old men returned to help, and the army released skilled men temporarily, from training, to help. Soldiers were used in groups for seasonal work, the farmer paying a good rate for them. Groups of women were also organized for seasonal work [pg 156] by various voluntary organizations, two of these being the Land Council and the Women's National Land Service Corps. The Women's Farm and Garden Union also did good work. The Land Service Corps made one of its most important objects the organization of village women into working gangs under leaders. One interesting piece of work undertaken by the Corps last year was finding a large number of women for flax-pulling in Somerset. This the Flax-Growers' Association asked them to do as sufficient local labor could not be raised. The War Agricultural Committee made all the local arrangements. This was pioneer work of great value and importance as flax is essential in the making of aeroplane wings.
The Corps sent a group of 100 women under competent gang leaders. The workers were housed in an empty country house and the War Office provided bedding. The Y.W.C.A. undertook the catering at the request of the Corps. The work, which was a great success, consisted in [pg 157] pulling, gating, wind mowing, stocking and tying flax.
The Corps has already been asked to undertake this again next year. Owing to the Russian troubles and the closing of the Port of Riga, it will be necessary to put many more hundreds of acres under cultivation and it is probable four or five times as many women will be needed next year.
Some of the Corps members are doing good work in Army Remount Depots, working in the stables and exercising the horses. One of the latest interesting developments of women's work is in the care of sick horses, carried out in the Horse Hospital in London.
Within nine months of the outbreak of war, it was clear we must secure help for the farmers, in order to enable them to do their work. As the submarine menace developed, and the supply of grain in the world was affected by the numbers of men taken away from production, it was clear we must try to grow more food.[pg 158]
Our grain production at the best was only twelve weeks of our supply, and even to keep up to that seemed to be a problem.
It was clear that in agriculture, as in so many other things, women must fill up the ranks, and in the first official appeal of the Government for additional woman labor, the land had an important place.
Lord Selborne, President of the Board of Agriculture, drew up a scheme for the organization of agriculture throughout the country. It consisted of War Agricultural Committee set up in each county who look after production, use of land, procuring use of motor machinery, etc., and of Women's Agricultural Committees. The latter undertake the organization of securing women workers for the land, choosing them, and arranging for training and placing out.
The voluntary groups of women who have been working at the problem in the war are now practically all merged in the Board of Agriculture's organization. The Women's Branch of the Food Production Department now controls and [pg 159] arranged the whole work and Miss Meriel Talbot is the able chief.
The Women's Land Corps, like the other organizations, was prepared to be merged in the new Land Army of the Board and to cease to exist as a separate organization. Its members were willing to become part of the new Land Army.
The Board found there was a distinct need for a voluntary association which would continue to enroll women, who could not sign on for the duration of the war, and who were able to forego the benefits of free training, outfit and travelling given under the Government scheme. Over 100 members of the Corps did enroll and the original Corps members do not require to appear before the local Selection Committees nor to submit references, which marks the Board's confidence in the Corps.
Many of the Corps Workers are now organizing Secretaries for the Counties or Assistant Secretaries, or are travelling Inspectors under the Board of Agriculture.[pg 160]
The Corps still organizes the supply of temporary workers for seasonal jobs such as potato dropping, hoeing, harvesting, fruitpicking, potato and root lifting, etc., done by groups under leaders. The work of organizing in the Counties is carried out by the appointment of a woman as District representative. She is responsible for a general supervision of the work in all the villages in her district. Each village has a woman to act as Registrar and her duty (with assistants, if necessary) is to canvass all the village women and girls for volunteers for whole and part time work, and for training, and to canvass the farmer to find out what labour he needs, and in the beginning they had to induce him to use women. She puts the farmer and the women suitable for his needs in her own district, in touch with each other, and passes to the District Representative and to the Employment Exchanges the names of all women qualified to help and not placed, and of those willing to train.
All these committees, registrars and representatives are honorary workers. The Board of [pg 161] Agriculture appoints to each County for work with the committee a woman Organizing Secretary, and assistant also if necessary.
The Board of Agriculture, working through the Employment Exchanges and under the direction of their women heads, arranged a series of meetings and work of propaganda by posters and leaflets throughout the whole country early in 1916.
The Representatives and Registrars organized the meetings to which the farmers and the women were invited, and the whole scheme was explained. These were very frequently held in the market towns on market day and the farmer and his wife came in to hear after the sales. We had to assail the prejudices of some of our farmers pretty vigorously and of the women, too. We found the women who volunteered best for land work were in the class above the industrial worker, and that the comfortable and well educated woman stood its work admirably.
The farmers were stiff to move in some cases and especially disliked the idea of having to train [pg 162] the women. "They weren't going to run after women all day—they had too much to do to go messing round with girls!" This objection was met by the Board of Agriculture arranging training centres in every county. Some of the training was done at the Women's Agricultural Colleges and among places that arranged training very early were the Harper Adam's College in Shropshire (Swanley); Garford (Leeds); Sparsholt (Winchester); The Midland Agricultural Training College (Kingston), and Aberystwith.
The Women's Agricultural Committee have arranged a great many training centres at big farms and on the Home farms of some of our estates.
The girls volunteering for training must be eighteen years of age. They are interviewed as to suitability and references by the Selection Committee. They must have a medical certificate filled in by their own doctor or by one of the committee's doctors.
On being passed, they go to the training centre, the travelling expenses being paid by the Board. [pg 163] Outfit is free and the uniform is a very sensible one of breeches, tunic, boots and gaiters or puttees, and soft hat, breeches, etc., cut to measure for each girl. Training and maintenance are free and there is always an instructor on the farm in addition to the farmer and his workers. The travelling to the post found, is again paid by the Government, and if work is not found at once, on completion of training, maintenance is paid till it is.
The training is generally of four to six weeks' duration and in some cases longer, and over 7,000 women have been trained in this way and placed.
Appeals for land recruits were made in February, 1916, and in January and April, 1917, when the Women's National Service Department asked for 100,000 women.
The Land Army women after three months' service receive an official armlet—a green band with lion rampant in red and a certificate of honour. The Land women are the only women who receive an armlet—the munition girl wears a triangular brass brooch with "On war service."[pg 164]
To induce the conservative farmer to try the women, exhibitions of farm work were arranged in different part of the country with great success, and the girls showed they could plough, and weed and hoe and milk and care for stock, and do all the farm work, except the heaviest, extremely well.
The War Office in its official memorandum of 1916 gives a long list of the farm and garden work in which women are successfully employed, and they have been particularly successful in the care of stock.
The farmer who used to declare he would never have a woman and that they were no use, and who has them now, is always quite pleased and generally cherishes a profound conviction that the reason why his women are all right is because he has the most exceptional ones in the country.
Housing the worker and especially the groups for seasonal work has been a problem, but it has been done and the feeding of groups well has been managed, too.
The housing conditions for the girl going to [pg 165] work whole-time are investigated by the Board organizer, and the representatives of committee. Very frequently a small group of girls have a cottage on the farm.
The Inspectors of the Board are in charge of three counties each and look after all conditions.
The girls are now being trained to drive the motor tractors for ploughing, and for women who understand horses there is at present a greater demand than supply.
The Women's Branch of the Board is also at this time appealing for well-educated women to aid in Timber Supply for two pieces of work—measuring trees when felled, calculating the amount of wood in the log, and marking off for sawing, and as forewomen to superintend cross-cutting, felling small timber and coppice and to do the lighter work of forestry.
Girls and women are in market gardens and on private gardens in very large numbers. The King has a great many women in his gardens and conservatories. Most estates are growing as many vegetables as possible to supply the [pg 166] many hospitals and the Fleet, and girls are helping very much in this. A great deal has been done by work in allotments, plots of land taken up by town dwellers and cultivated. In one part of South Wales alone 40,000 allotments have been worked and the allotment holders are organizing themselves co-operatively for the purchase of seed, etc. We have Governmental powers now not only to enable Local Authorities to secure unused land for allotments, but to compel farmers to cultivate all their ground. We have fixed a price for wheat for five years, and a minimum wage for the agricultural man and woman.
The girls on the land improve in health and increase in weight. The work is not only of supreme usefulness to the country—we have the submarine ceaselessly gnawing at our shipping and making our burden heavier—so we must produce everything possible. It has improved the physique of our girls—they like it, and many will permanently adopt it. Our Board of Agriculture is also encouraging, for the benefit of [pg 167] the country woman, the formation of Women's Institutes, like those in Canada and America.
In the Lord Mayor's Procession in London, on November 9, 1917, with the men-in-arms of all our great Commonwealth of Nations, with the Turks and the captured German aeroplanes and guns, the munition girls and the Land girls marched. No group in all that great array had a warmer welcome from our vast crowds than our sensibly clothed, healthy, happy and supremely useful Land girls.[pg 169]
"You cannot have absolute equality of sacrifice in a war. That is impossible. But you can have equal readiness to sacrifice from all. There are hundreds of thousands who have given their lives, there are millions who have given up comfortable homes and exchanged them for a daily communion with death. Multitudes have given up those whom they loved best. Let the nation as a whole place its comforts, its luxuries, its indulgences, its elegances, on a national altar, consecrated by such sacrifices as these men have made."
"Deep down in the heart of every one of us there is the spirit of love for our native land, dulled it may be in some cases, perhaps temporarily obscured, by hardship, injustice and suffering, but it is there and it remains for us to touch the chord which will bring it to life; once aroused it will prove irresistible."
To win the war, we must save. There is no task more imperative, no need more urgent, and there is no greater work than the work of educating the peoples of our countries, and inducing them to save and lend to their Governments.
The first Government Committee set up in Britain to do propaganda work for war loans was established shortly after the war under the title of the "Parliamentary War Savings Committee." It did some propaganda for the early war loans. At the same time a very interesting group of people associated with the "Round Table," and including in it many of our most able financiers and economists—such men as the future chairman of the National War Savings Committee, Sir Robert M. Kindersley, K.B.E.; C.J. Stewart, the Public Trustee; Hartley [pg 172] Withers, Lord Sumner, T.L. Gilmour, Theodore Chambers (now Controller of the National War Savings Committee), Evan Hughes (now Organizer-in-Chief), Lieut. J.H. Curle, Countess Ferrers, Basil Blackett, C.B.; William Schooling and Mrs. Minty, Hon. Sec. Excellent articles were written, leaflets published and meetings held at which many of us spoke throughout the country, and valuable work was done towards educating groups of useful people in the country.
In 1915 a committee was appointed by the House of Commons to go into the whole question of Loans and Methods. The committee was presided over by Mr. E.S. Montagu, and its findings were of great interest. It advised the immediate setting up of a committee whose task it would be to create machinery by which the small investor might be assisted to invest in State Securities, and secondly, to educate the country as a whole on the imperative need of economy. The Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury set up the National War Savings Committee in March, 1916, and in April, 1917, it became a Government [pg 173] Department. The first chairman was George Barnes, Esq., M.P., but very soon the chairmanship was taken by Sir Robert Kindersley, a director of the Bank of England, who has spent himself unceasingly in his great task.
The committee started its work with a very small staff, Mr. Schooling being one of the original half-dozen in it, and the schemes and methods of work were evolved. It works in its organization by setting up committees. The County is the biggest unit and the Hon. Secretary of the County works at setting up Local Committees, which are established in towns with under 20,000 of a population, and we put a group of parishes together in rural districts under one Local Committee. All towns, cities and boroughs over 20,000 population are set up by Headquarters and have Local Central Committees. There are now in England and Wales over 1,580 of these committees. Scotland is worked by a separate committee. Linked up to these committees and represented on them, the War Savings Associations work, and there are now altogether over 40,000 of these with a weekly subscribing membership of over 7,000,000 people.[pg 174] [pg 175]
The committees also did the propaganda work for the January-February Loan of 1917, when five billion dollars was raised (£1,000,000,000) and over eight million people (out of our population of forty-five millions) subscribed to the loan.
The work of the committees was admirable at that time and assisted materially in the success of the loan.
The National War Savings Committee was also asked by Lord Devonport in April to assist the Ministry of Food by doing, through its committees, a great food-saving propaganda. This request was made, because, it was explained, the War Savings Committees are the best organized and most thoroughly democratic Government organization in the country. This propaganda was also done with marked success. In autumn of this year the committees have done an extensive campaign of education, and of work to [pg 176] strengthen and enlarge their associations, and also to push the sale of the new War Bonds.
The Treasury's policy now is to raise all the money needed by the wisest borrowing from the people—day by day borrowing.
The entire work of the committees and associations is done voluntarily—nothing is paid in the whole country for the work, and the only charge is Headquarters Staff and propaganda expenses. The County Secretaries are in most cases Board of Education Inspectors whom the Board has generously allowed to help.
The War Saving Association is the body that sells the War Savings Certificates, which are very much like the American ones. These are also sold at all Post Offices and Banks. They cost 15/6 each, and in five years from date of purchase are worth £1. The interest in the fifth year is at the rate of £5.4.7 per cent. The interest begins at the end of the first year and the certificates can be cashed at any time at the Post Office with interest to the date of cashing. The War Savings Certificate has the additional [pg 177] advantage that its interest is free of income tax, and in a country where income tax begins above £120 ($600), and is then at rate of 2/3 in £1 (over 10 per cent) on earned income and 3/. on unearned, its advantage is very clear. The interest does not need to be included in income returns—but no one may buy more than 500 certificates. It is a specially good paying security intended only for the small saver.
The War Savings Associations can be set up by any group of people, ten or upwards, who wish to save co-operatively. They must establish a committee, small or large. They must appoint a Secretary and Treasurer and then apply for recognition to their Local Committee, or if there is not one, to the National Committee. They are given an affiliation certificate by their committee and receive free all the books, papers, etc., necessary for carrying on an association. These are all supplied by the National Committee to Local Committees.
The 40,000 Associations are in the Army, Navy, Munition Works, Government establishments, [pg 178] Railways, Banks, Mines, Churches, Shops, social groups, clubs, men's and women's organizations and 10,000 are in the schools. The schools, where we receive subscriptions down to 2 cents have done wonderful work and the teachers have done a great deal to make our movement what it is. We find the children do the best propaganda in the homes. One teacher, after explaining to his children what it all meant in the morning, in the afternoon had dozens of subscriptions, and among them a sovereign which had been clasped tightly in a hot little hand for a mile and a half's walk. The little boy said, "I told Mother about it and she gave me that for fighting the Germans."
Our Associations have unearthed piles of gold, one village association alone getting in £750 in gold ($3,750). Old stockings have come out and one agricultural laborer brought nine sovereigns to one of our Secretaries one night, and asked her to invest it to help the soldiers. She said, "Why did you bring it to me?" and he said, "Because its secreter than the Post Office." And [pg 179] the Association has the advantage that all its affairs are confidential, and though figures and amounts are known, no single detail need be.
The schemes are two and apart from schools, the minimum weekly subscription is 12 cents. There is a Bank Book scheme and a Stamp scheme in which the member holds a card which takes thirty-one 12-cent stamps, and when filled up is handed in to the Secretary and a War Savings Certificate is received.
The financial advantage to the members of forming an Association is quite easy to understand. Every week the takings are invested by the Secretary (using a special slip given by the National Committee) in War Savings Certificates, so that when members finish subscribing for a certificate, instead of getting one dated the day they finished paying for it, as it would be if they saved by themselves, the Secretary has a store of earlier dated certificates on hand, and the member receives one of these.
This works out quite fairly if one rule is observed—never give any one a Certificate dated [pg 180] earlier than the first week they started paying for it.
The people of England needed a great deal of education in war saving. We had to fight the strongly held conviction that of all sins the most despicable is "meanness," and that too much saving may seem mean.
No Englishman will ever really admit he has any money, and he was inclined to question your right to talk about the possibility of his having some—and your right to tell him what to do with it, supposing he had any. Some of them were a little suspicious that it was the workers we were talking to most—it was not—and some of them were not quite sure they wanted their employers to know how much they saved. That is entirely obviated by the men running their own associations. Other people told you the people in their District never did, could, or would save and were spending their big wages in the most extravagant way—that pianos and fur coats appealed far more than war savings certificates. The official people in the towns [pg 181] when we approached them about conferences said much the same in some cases, but, yes, of course, you could come and have a conference and the Mayor would preside and you could try. And you did, and in six months they had dozens of associations and thousands of members and had sold some thousands of certificates. We sell about one and a half million certificates a week and have sold about 140 millions since March, 1916. The appeal that won them was not only the practical appeal of the value of the money after the war for themselves, to buy a house, to provide for old age, to educate the children. The strongest appeal was the patriotic one. Save your money to save your country. Throw your silver bullets at the enemy. We have not been content to say only "save," we have tried to educate our people on finance and economics. We have tried to show them that no country can go on in a struggle like this unless it conserves its resources—not even the richest countries. We have tried to appeal to the spirit behind all these things [pg 182] and our Chairman in one of his admirable speeches said:
"It is upon these simple human feelings of loyalty, comradeship and patriotism that the great War Savings Movement is founded. Because of the strength of this foundation I feel convinced that we shall succeed in the great national work we are setting out to perform. However difficult our task may prove, however serious the times ahead, this spirit will carry us safely and triumphantly through everything, and in the end we shall find ourselves not weakened but strengthened on account of these same difficulties which we shall most surely overcome."
The problem before us is the problem of finding ten times the amount of money we did before the war for National purposes. We are spending over $30,000,000 a day. By our taxations, which includes an 80 per cent tax on excess profits, we are raising over 25 per cent of our total expenditure. We have met some other part of our expenditure in the three years of war by using our gold reserve very heavily; a great deal [pg 183] of it in payments in America, where you now possess more than a third of the gold of the entire world. We have also used a portion of our securities, our capital wealth and past savings, and we have had to borrow heavily. Our National Debt is now £4,000,000,000. It was £700,000,000 at the outbreak of war. £1,000,000,000 has been lent to our Allies and the Dominions.
Numbers of people have an impression that Governments can find money. They can, to a certain extent, but only in a very limited way, without great harm. There is in this creation an addition to the buying power of the community, but if everybody goes on spending no addition to the productive power, so it only creates high prices and hardship. The inflation of currency caused by it is a risk and an evil. The sound way is to get the money by taxation, from resources and in real voluntary loans.
America's burden is very much the same as our own, and the need here also of voluntary saving and lending to the extent of more than [pg 184] half the expenditure is clear. America, like ourselves, is very wisely trying to democratise its war loans. Nothing is wiser or sounder or more calculated to make progress, and the changes after the war which will come, sound and steady than widely-spread, democratically-subscribed loans. These vast debts will have to be paid by the ability, productiveness and work of all, so it is in the highest degree desirable that the money and interest to be paid back should go out to every class of the community—and not only to small sections. It is well to remember, too, that the country that goes to the peace table financially sound is in a position to make better terms.
But the purely financial side of war savings is not the most important one. We talk in terms of money but the reality is not money but goods and services. The problem before our Governments and the problem that cannot be left to our children (though the debts incurred in securing the credits may be) is the problem of finding every day over $30,000,000 worth of [pg 185] material and labour for the struggle. War savings among the people is not only essential to secure the money needed—it is far more essential from the point of view of securing the cutting down of the consumption of goods and labour by our peoples.
Economists in peace time argue over what is termed "luxury" expenditure, the wasteful expenditure of peace. War expenditure may be correctly termed wasteful to a very great extent, and no country can carry both of these expenditures and remain solvent. Luxury expenditure should be entirely eliminated and the material and labour which was absorbed by it should go into the war. If this could be done completely, little damage would be done to the nation's economic position. The thing to be clearly realized is that all the productive effort of the nation is needed for three things—the carrying on of the war—the production of necessaries and the manufacture of goods for export. Every civilian who uses material and labour unnecessarily makes these tasks harder and goes into the markets [pg 186] as an unfair competitor of the Government. Every man and woman who saves five dollars and lends it to their country give their country what is far more important than the five dollars. They transfer to the Government the five dollars worth of material and labour they could have used up if they had spent it on themselves and that is its real value. This means the needful purchases of the State are substituted for, instead of added to, the purchases of the civilian.
Further, the influence of economy in preventing undue inflation of currency and consequent high prices should be realized. A certain amount of high prices in war is inevitable but if civilians buy extravagantly, competition becomes intense and prices rise beyond all need. The supplies are limited—in our case that is greatly added to by the submarine menace—and the demands of the Government are enormous. The competition between the Government and the people grows more and more intense. Prices go still higher. The Government pays more than it should and so do the people. Higher wages are demanded [pg 187] with consequent higher prices, and so you get a vicious circle that gets more and more dangerous. If the civilian will relieve this pressure by demanding less, and cutting down his expenditure, prices will become more reasonable and the cost of the war less.
The chief difficulty in time of war is to make people realize the need of economy when they have, as our people have, more money than ever before, when enormous sums of money pour out ceaselessly to the people from the Government. They have to realize the fundamental difference between peace prosperity and war prosperity. Peace prosperity comes from the creation of wealth. War prosperity comes from the dissipation of wealth—the use of all resources—the pledging of credits. It is just as if we, as individuals, to meet a personal crisis, took all our personal savings and borrowed all we could and proceeded to spend it. The wise man or woman will save all of it they can and realize that every unnecessary dollar spent helps the enemy. No civilian in a struggle of this kind has any moral [pg 188] right to more than necessary things. We want every man and woman to have all they need for their efficiency. We would not say for one moment that every one can save, and money spent on clothing and feeding the children and keeping the home comfortable is well spent, but nothing should be wasted.
The standard in this matter should be set by the rich, on whom rests the greatest responsibility, moral and social. It is impossible to expect workers to save if they see luxury and extravagance everywhere round them. One cannot too strongly say that.
The civilians who work hard to produce, who have done heavy toil in munitions and industry, and receive good wages and then go out and spend it lavishly might just as well have slacked at their work. The ultimate effect is the same. They have undone the good they did. It is as if soldiers having won a trench let the Germans come back into it.
People of small means often feel that all they can save is so small that it cannot really help [pg 189] and wonder if the effort to save is worth while, but if every person in America saved 2 cents a day, it would amount to $730,000,000 in a year, and that would find a great deal of munitions.
Finding the money by saving finds everything, releases men for the army, finds labour and money for munitions, finds labour for ships and relieves the demands on tonnage, finds supplies. It is the fundamental service of the civilian, and no good citizen wants luxuries while soldiers and sailors need clothes and guns and ships and munitions.
Everybody, man, woman, and child, can join the great financial army and march behind our men, and women have done with us and can do everywhere a great work in this. Women are on our National Committee and doing a great deal of its organization. Our men in the trenches, in the air, at sea, endure for us what we would have said before the war was humanly unendurable. They pay for our freedom with a great price—and we send them out to pay it—in death, disablement, suffering and sacrifice. [pg 190] To fail in our duty behind them would be the great betrayal.
Our treasures are very small things compared with our men. Shall we give them and not our money?[pg 191]
|A BOOKMARK, ISSUED BY N.W.S.C.|
"The whole country ought to realise that we are a beleaguered city."
"If you have any belief in the cause for which thousands of your fellow-countrymen have laid down their lives, you will scrape and scrape and scrape, you will go in old clothes, and old boots, and old ties until such a mass of treasure be garnered into the coffers of the Government as to secure at the end of all this tangle of misery a real and lasting settlement for Europe."
In this great struggle the food question assumes greater and greater importance.
The production of food has been affected by the raising of great armies—more than twenty million men are in arms in Europe—by the feeding of armies, for which we must, of necessity, provide food in excess of what these men would need in civil life. The ability to get the food has been made difficult for us by the submarine warfare. Thousands of tons of wheat lie in Australia, but we cannot afford ships to bring it. Tea has been very short in England, though again there are thousands of tons waiting in India. The most urgent need of the Allies is for ships and more ships. There has been great loss of tonnage and the needs of the Army and Navy absorb the service of vast numbers of the available ships. We have moved 13,000,000 men since [pg 196] war broke out, and the supplies and munitions they have needed, to our many fronts. Ceaselessly we move the wounded. We have to bring into Britain half our food. That we have done this, has been due to the British Navy and the Reserves—the patrols and the mine sweepers—the Fringes of the Fleet—and not least, the merchant seaman. About 6,000 merchantmen have been killed by the enemy, some with diabolical cruelty. These men are torpedoed and come into port, and go for another ship at once. On the ship on which I crossed there were seamen who had been torpedoed three times In its submarine warfare the enemy has broken every international and human law—has used "frightfulness" to its fullest extent, and the answer of our merchant seamen is to go to sea again as soon as the ship is ready, and the older men, who had retired, return to sea. The seaman of our country know the enemy. It was our Seamen's Union that refused to carry the Peace Delegates to Stockholm, and it is they and our fishermen who, in the Reserves, man the patrols and mine sweepers, [pg 197] and who, on our little drifters and trawlers, have fought the enemy's big destroyers—fought till they went down, refusing to surrender.
It is not strange that the best-liked poster in our Food Crusade, and the one people want everywhere, is a simple drawing of a merchant seaman, and under it the words, "We risk our lives to bring you food. It is up to you not to waste it."
The countries that can succeed best in solving the food question are the countries that will win, and the food problem will not cease, any more than many others, when peace is declared.
Very early in the war, existing organizations, such as the National Food Reform Association, and newly created ones, the National Food Economy League and the Patriotic Food League of Scotland, did a great deal of active work on food saving. They aimed at instructing in the scientific principles of the economical use of food, and issued admirable leaflets and Handbooks for Housewives and Cookery Books. A series of Exhibitions, often described as "Patriotic Housekeeping [pg 198] Exhibitions" were held in different parts of the country, organized generally by women's societies. One of the early ones I organized in Salisbury. Later, the Public Trustee was chairman of an Official Committee, which organized large Exhibitions in London and throughout the country. These Exhibitions had stalls showing food values with specimens, had exhibits of the most economical cooking stoves and arrangements, and exhibited every manner of time and labour saving device. They had wonderful exhibits of clothes for children made from old clothes of grown-ups, of marvellous dresses and little jerseys and caps and scarfs made from legs of old stockings. There were charming dresses and underclothing made of the very simplest materials and decorated artistically with stitching and embroidery. These were made by school girls of seven and upwards for themselves, and the Glasgow School of Art's work, done in schools there, was perfectly beautiful. The cost was shown and it was incredibly small. All sorts of things for the household in simple carpentry [pg 199] and upholstery, using up boxes and wood, were shown, and old tins were converted into all sorts of useful household things. Facts as to waste were made as striking as possible by demonstration. Every exhibition had a War Savings Stall and Certificates were often sold at these in large numbers, the Queen buying the first sold at the first London Exhibition.
The great feature of the Exhibitions was Food Saving and Conservation. Demonstrations in cooking and in hay-box cooking, were given and these were attended by thousands of women, Miss Petty, "The Pudding Lady," being a specially attractive demonstrator. She was called "The Pudding Lady," first by little children in London in the East End, where she used to go into the homes, and show them how to cook on their own fires, and with their own meagre possessions. When she came there was pudding, so her title came as a result.
We always included exhibits and posters on the care of the babies and the children. Lectures [pg 200] on vegetable and potato growing, bee and poultry keeping, etc., were also given.
There were competitions in connection with the Exhibitions—prizes were offered for the best cake—for the best war bread—for the best dinners for a family at a small cost—for the best weekly budgets of different small incomes—for the best blouse and dress made at a small cost, etc., and these were extremely popular. The prizes were generally War Savings Certificates or labour-saving devices.
From the Governmental point of view the Food work is in two great divisions: Food Production, which is worked by the Food Production Department of the Board of Agriculture, of which the Women's Branch is doing the work of placing women on the land. It not only works on the production of more food but it organizes the conservation of food, such as fruit bottling, and preserving fruit, and vegetable and fruit drying, etc.
A very great deal has been done in demonstrating how to conserve fruit and vegetables all [pg 201] over the country and this has been done to an extent hitherto quite unreached. Co-operative work has been done and most interesting experiments made. The glass bottles necessary have been secured by the Department, and are sold by them to those doing the conservation at a fixed price. Last summer the Sugar Commission also arranged to sell sufficient sugar for making preserves to those people who grow their own fruit. This they succeeded in doing to a very large extent—which was a most valuable conservation.
The Ministry of Food is the other great body dealing with all food problems of supply, price, regulations, and propaganda.
Lord Rhondda is our Food Controller. Our first Controller was Lord Devonport. Food control is the most unpopular work in any country and a Food Controller deserves the help, sympathy and support of every good citizen. No Food Controller, no matter how able, and no matter how great and comprehensive his powers are, can do his work without the co-operation of the people.[pg 202]
Lord Rhondda's powers are very great as to control of supplier prices and regulations. The price of the four pound loaf (and it must be four pounds) is fixed by our Government at 18 cents and the loss is borne by the Government.
The prices of meat, beans, cheese, tea, sugar, milk, and the profits on other articles are regulated by the Ministry. When Lord Devonport was Food Controller we had courses at lunch and dinner limited—a policy most people felt to be stupid as it meant a run on staple foods—and it was abandoned by Lord Rhondda. We had meatless days, which also have been stopped. We found it difficult to do, and impossible to regulate. We had many potatoless days last spring—by regulation in the restaurants—perforce by most of us in towns where they were almost impossible to get, but this year we have the biggest potato crop we have had.
In restaurants and hotels now supplies are regulated. No one can have more than two ounces of bread at any meal, and the amount of flour and sugar supplied is strictly rationed to [pg 203] the hotels, according to the number served. Not more than five ounces of meat (before cooking) can be served at any meal. These regulations are strictly enforced, and the duty of seeing all the regulations are carried out, and all the work done, devolves upon the Local Food Control Committees which have been set up all over the country under the Ministry, by the local authorities. On every such Committee there must be women. They fix prices for milk, etc., and initiate prosecutions for infringements of the laws regulating food.
No white flour is sold or used in Britain. The mills are all controlled by the Government and all flour is now war grade, which means it is made of about 70 per cent white flour and other grains, rye, corn (which we call maize), barley, rice-flour, etc., are added. We expect to mill potato flour this year. Oatmeal has a fixed price, 9 cents a pound, in Scotland, 10 cents in England. No fancy pastries, no icing on cakes and no fancy bread may be made. Only two shapes of loaf are allowed—the tin loaf and the Coburg. [pg 204] Cakes must only have 15 per cent sugar and 30 per cent war grade flour. Buns and scones and biscuits have regulations as to making, also.
Butter is very scarce and margarine supplies not always big enough, and we have tea and sugar and margerine queues in our big towns—women standing in long rows waiting. It is an intolerable waste of time—and yet it seems difficult to get it managed otherwise.
The woman in the home in our country with high prices, want of supplies, and her desire to economise has had a busy and full time, but our people are quite well fed. Naturally enough, considering the hard work we are all doing, our people are really using more, not less food, but waste is being fought very well.
Waste is a punishable offence and if you throw away bread or any good food, you will be proceeded against, as many have been, and fined 40/- to £100. No bread must be sold that is not twelve hours baked. New bread is extravagant in cutting and people eat more. It is interesting to note that in one period of the [pg 205] Napoleonic wars we did the same thing and ate no new bread.
Food hoarding is an offence and the food is commandeered and the hoarder punished. Several people have been fined £50 and upwards.
The work of the Army in economizing food has been a great work. Rations have been cut down and much more carefully dealt with. The use of waste products has become a science. All the fats are saved—even the fats in water used in washing dishes are trapped and saved. The fats are used to make glycerine, and last year the Army saved enough waste fat to make glycerine for 18,000,000 shells. Fats and scraps for pigs, and bones, etc., are all sold and one-third of the money goes back to the men's messing funds to buy additional foods and every camp tries to beat the other in its care and efficiency and the women cooks are doing admirably in this work.
Officers of the Navy and Army are only permitted to spend a certain amount on meals in restaurants and hotels—3/6 for lunch and 5/6 for dinner and 1/6 for tea.[pg 206]
The other side of the Food Campaign is the propaganda and educative work. Lord Rhondda has two women Co-Directors with him—Mrs. C.S. Peel and Mrs. M. Pember Reeves—in the Ministry of Food, and they help in the whole work and very specially with the educational and propaganda work, and with the work of communal feeding.
A number of communal kitchens have been established with great success—many being in London. At these thousands of meals are prepared—soups and stews, fish, and meats, and puddings, every variety of dishes, and the purchasers come to the kitchens and bring plates and jugs to carry away the food. Soups are sold from 2 to 4 cents for a jugful, and other things in proportion. These are established under official recognition, the Municipalities in most cases providing the initial cost. The prices paid cover the cost of food and cooking, and the service is practically all voluntary.
The first propaganda work was, as I have said, done by the War Savings Committees, and our [pg 207] big task was to try to make our people realize how undesirable it is to have to resort to compulsory rationing. We are rationed on sugar and we do not want to adopt more compulsory rationing than is necessary. Compulsory rationing, in some people's minds, seems to ensure supplies. It does not and where, under voluntary rationing, people go round and find other food and get along with the supplies there are, under compulsory rationing there would always be a tendency to demand their ration and to make trouble about the lack of any one commodity in it.
Compulsory rationing to be workable must be a simple scheme, and no overhead ration of bread, for example, is just. The needs of workers vary and so do the needs of individuals, and bread is the staple food of our poorer classes. They have less variety of foods and need more bread than the better-off people. Compulsory rationing may have to come, but most of us are determined it will not come till it is really unavoidable and we are appealing to our people [pg 208] to prevent that, and masses of them are economizing and saving in a manner worthy of the greatest praise.
The rationing we appealed to our people to get down to, was three pounds of flour per head in the week, 2½ lbs. of meat and ½ lb. sugar.
The King's Pledge, which we had signed by those willing to do this, all over the country, pledged people to cut down their consumption of grain by one-quarter in the household, and the King's Proclamation urged this, and economies in grain and horse feeding.
An old Proclamation of the 18th century appealed to our people to cut down their consumption of their grains by one-third and was almost identical in form, and copies signed by Edmund Burke and other famous people were shown in our Thrift Exhibitions in Buckinghamshire.
We arranged meetings for the maids of households in big groups to explain the need and meaning of economy in food with great success. Every head of a household knows that the maids [pg 209] can make or mar one's efforts to save food, and we have found many of ours admirable, and willing to do wonders in the way of economy and saving.
If compulsory rationing in more than sugar comes as it may, the basis of rationing will, we believe, be worked out with as much consideration as possible of the needs of the workers.
Our Co-operative movement is, in a simple way rationing its buyers, by regulating supplies, and it is in voluntary work of that kind, which is going on extensively, and in the people's own efforts and economies that our great hope lies.
The Ministry of Food arranges meetings and sends speakers to associations and bodies of every kind. The schools are very extensively used for demonstrations to which the parents are invited. The children are talked to and write essays on food and general saving and in these, one little girl of seven told us, "If you don't throw away your crusts, you will beat the Kaiser," and another small boy said, "Boys should give up [pg 210] sliding for the war, as it wears out their boots," and another said, "We should not go to picture houses so much—once a week is quite often enough." One little child who had been coached at school returned home to see a baby sister of two throw away a big crust and said, "If Lord Rhondda was here, wouldn't he give you a row." So the root of the matter seems to be in the youth of our country and the sweetness and willingness of their sacrifices is very fragrant. They sing about saving bread and saving pennies, and to hear a choir of Welsh children sing these songs, with a vigour and enjoyment that is infectious, is quite delightful.
Most of our big girls' schools have given up buying sweets, and when they get gifts of them send them to the prisoners and the soldiers. We have, of course, restricted our manufacture of sweets very much.
Our school children have, in addition, worked enormous numbers of school gardens and grown tons of potatoes and vegetables.
Our distilleries are taken over by the Government [pg 211] for spirits for munitions and our beer is cut down very greatly. Travelling kitchens go out from the Ministry of Food also and do demonstrations in villages and country districts on cooking and conservation. The Ministry issues leaflets of recipes and instructions in cooking and has a special Win the War Cookery Book. Articles are also published on food values and quite a number of people begin to understand something about calories, even though they are rather vague about what it all means.
Naturally most of the Food speaking and work is done by women though food control and saving is men's and women's work.
This year we saved grain by collecting the horse chestnuts, a work that was done by the school children. These are crushed and the oil used for munitions and it was reckoned we could save tens of thousands of tons of grain by doing this.
A wonderful work in the use of waste materials has been the work of the Glove Waistcoat Society, to which American women have kindly [pg 212] sent old gloves. Old gloves are cleaned, the fingers are cut off, the other big pieces stitched together and cut into waistcoats and backed by linenette. These are sold to the soldiers and sailors for wear under their tunics and are most beautifully light and windproof. The fingers of kid gloves are made into glue, of wash leather gloves into rubbers for household use. The big pieces of linenette over are made into dust sheets and the small scraps go to stuff mattresses for a Babies' Home. The buttons are carded and sold and the making up provides work for distressed elderly women. It needs no funds—it is self-supporting—it only needs old gloves.
In preventing waste and in food production and conservation, our people have learned much, and a very great deal of admirable work is being done.[pg 213]
"Now every signaller was a fine Waac,
And a very fine Waac was she—e."
"Soldier and Sailor, too."
The Waacs is the name we all know them by and shall, it seems, continue to. It will have to go into future dictionaries beside Anzac.
The deeds of the Anzacs in Gallipoli and France are immortalised in many records—magnificently in John Masefield's "Gallipoli"—an epic in its simplicity. The work of the Waacs is the work of support and substitution and its records only begin to be made.
The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps is an official creation of this year. At the Women's Service Demonstration in the Albert Hall in January, 1917, Lord Derby asked for Women for clerical service in the army and official appeals were issued in February and repeatedly since that time, and now all over the country we have Recruiting Committees organizing meetings [pg 216] and securing recruits. They are recruiting at the rate of 10,000 a month.
The Waacs had many forerunners in some of our voluntary organizations, in the Women's Reserve Ambulance, of "The Green Cross Society," attached to the National Motor Volunteers—the Women's Volunteer Reserve—the Women's Legion—the Women's Auxiliary Force and the Women Signallers Territorial Corps. The Women's Signallers Corps had as Commandant-in-Chief Mrs. E.J. Parker—Lord Kitchener's sister. They believed women should be trained in every branch of signalling and that men could be released for the firing line by women taking over signalling work at fixed stations. Their prediction came true more than two years later, for today they are in France. They drilled and trained the women in all the branches of signalling semaphore—flags, mechanical arms; and in Morse—flags, airline and cable, sounder (telegraphy), buzzer, wireless, whistle, lamp and heliograph. They also learned map reading—the most fascinating of accomplishments. This [pg 217] Corps had the distinction of introducing "wireless" for women in England in connection with its Headquarters training school. When one of the Corps later accepted a splendid appointment as wireless instructor at a wireless telegraph college—the Corps was duly elated.
The Women's Reserve Ambulance had the distinction of being the first ambulance on the scene in the first serious Zeppelin Raid in London (September, 1915). They came to where the first bombs fell, killing and wounding, and did the work of rescue, and when another ambulance arrived later, "Thanks," said the police, "the ladies have done this job."
They worked assisting the War Hospital Supply Depots, that wonderful organization run by Miss MacCaul, they provided orderlies to serve the meals and act as housemaids, and make the men welcome at Peel House, one of the Canadian Clubs. Others helped in Hospitals, washing up and doing other work.
Others met and moved wounded—others at night took the soldiers to the Y.M.C.A. huts. [pg 218] The Women's Volunteer Reserve, too, seemed to be everywhere doing all sorts of useful, helpful things—disciplined, ready, and trained. The Women's Legion led the way in providing cooks and waitresses for camps and sent out 1,200 of these inside a year. The first convalescent camp to have all its cooking and serving done by women was managed—admirably, too—by the Women's Legion, so the Waacs had many voluntary forerunners, who are mostly in it and amalgamated with it now.
The Waacs are a part of the Army organization—are in His Majesty's Forces and when a girl joins she is subject to army rules and regulations. They are working now in large numbers in England and in France, at all the base towns, and in quiet places, where things that matter are planned and initiated.
The girl who goes to France knows she is going to possible danger by being handed, before she goes, her two identification discs.
For France, no woman under twenty or over forty is eligible. After volunteering, they are [pg 219] chosen by Selection Boards and medically examined. They receive a grant for their uniforms. The workers wear a khaki coat-frock—a very sensible garment—brown shoes and soft hat and a great coat. At the end of a year they get a £5 ($25) bonus on renewing their contracts, and they get a fortnight's leave in a year.
Their payment is not high—it works out about the same as a soldier's when everything is paid—and that, with us, is just over 25 cents a day, so the khaki girl, like the soldier, does not work for the money.
The whole organization is officered and directed by women. Mrs. Chalmers Watson, M.D., C.B.E., is the Chief Controller, with Miss MacQueen as Assistant Chief Controller. Under them are the Controllers—Area, Recruiting, etc., and the officer in charge of a unit is called an Administrator, and under her are deputy administrators and assistant-administrators. They are not given Military titles and do not hold commissions, but their appointments are gazetted in the ordinary way. There is always a strong feeling [pg 220] in England that Military and Naval titles should be strictly reserved.
The equivalent of a sergeant is a "forewoman," and there are quartermistresses in charge of stores. Rank is shown as among the men, by badges, rose and fleur-de-lys.
Administrators are being trained in large numbers. They have a short course of drilling, learn to fill up Army forms, make out pay sheets, how to requisition for rations, catering generally, and how to run a hostel. They also attend practical lectures on hygiene and sanitation. When this is done, they go to camp for a fortnight's training under an administrator in actual charge of a Unit. If they have not done well in this course, they are not appointed.
An administrator receives a $100 grant for her uniform and is paid from $600 to $875 a year out of which $200 is deducted for food. There is generally one officer to every fifty women.
The administrator must drill her girls. The W.A.A.C. is proud of its tone and its discipline. Its officers make the girls feel much is expected [pg 221] of them, because of the uniform they wear, and the girls have made a fine response. There are very few rules and as little restraint as possible. The girls are put on their honour when not under supervision. The administrator has considerable disciplinary powers, but they are very little needed.
It does not seem to be by discipline that the officer succeeds best. There is a nice story told of an Administrator who had been away from her unit some days, returning and being met at the station by one of the rank and file who had come for her bag.
"I am glad to see you, Ma'am," was the greeting, so emphatic a one that the Administrator inquired nervously if something were wrong.
"Oh, no. Seems as if Mother had been away, Ma'am," explained the girl.
The Administrator can help her girls by sorting them out well, putting friends and the same kind of girls together; it makes so much difference.
The Administrator has not only to handle her [pg 222] own sex—she has to deal with men officers and quartermasters, and she succeeds in doing that well, too.
Our Administrators are naturally women of education and carefully chosen and there is plenty of opportunity of rising "from the ranks."
The girls cross over to France on the gray transports, are received by the women Draft Receiving Officers, and go up the lines to their assigned posts.
The women are billeted in some of the base towns in pensions and summer hotels that have been commandeered, in big houses and in one case in a beautiful old Chateau where the ghosts of dead-and-gone ladies of beauty and fashion must wonder what kind of women these khaki clad girls are. The girls in these make their rooms home-like with photographs, hangings, and little personal belongings.
The greater number of girls live in camps, and different types of huts have been tried. Some of the camps are entirely of wooden huts—large and roomy. Other camps have the Nissen hut [pg 223] of corrugated iron, lined with laths wood floored and raised from the ground. These have been linked together in the cleverest way by covered ways. In the sleeping huts the beds are iron bedsteads with springs and horse-hair mattresses. Each bed has four thoroughly good blankets and a pillow. No sheets are given—there is no labour to wash the thousands of sheets, and the cotton is needed. Each woman has a wooden locker with a shelf above, and a chair. Washing and bathing is done in separate huts, and in every camp hot and cold water is laid on.
The mess room is a big hut. The girls wait on themselves and the food is excellent. They receive in rations the same as the soldiers on lines of communication—four-fifths of a fighting man's ration and whatever is over is returned and credited, and the extra money is used for luxuries, games and for entertaining visitors from other camps.
Here is a typical week's meals and it shows how well they are fed:[pg 224]
MONDAY.—Breakfast: Tea, bread, butter, baked mince, jam. Dinner: Cold beef, potatoes, tomatoes, baked apples, custard. Tea: Tea, bread, butter, jam. Supper: Welsh rarebit, bread, butter, jam.
TUESDAY.—Breakfast: Tea, bread, butter, boiled ham, marmalade. Dinner: brown onion stew, potatoes, baked beans, biscuit pudding. Tea: Tea, bread, butter, jam, cheese. Supper: Savoury rice, tea, bread.
WEDNESDAY.—Breakfast: Tea, bread, butter, veal loaf. Dinner: Roast mutton, potatoes, marrow, bread pudding. Tea: Tea, bread, butter, marmalade, jam. Supper: Rissoles, bread, butter, cheese.
THURSDAY.—Breakfast: Tea, bread, butter, fried bacon. Dinner: Meat pie, potatoes, cabbage, custard and rice. Tea: Tea, bread, butter, jam. Supper: Soup, bread and jam.
FRIDAY.—Breakfast: Tea, bread, butter, rissoles, marmalade. Dinner: Boiled beef, potatoes and onions, Dundee roll. Tea: tea, bread, butter, jam, slab cake. Supper: Shepherd's pie, tea, bread, butter.
SATURDAY.—Breakfast: Tea, bread, butter, boiled ham, jam. Dinner: Thick brown stew, potatoes [pg 225] and cabbage, bread pudding. Tea: Tea, bread, butter, jam, cheese. Supper: Toad-in-hole, bread jam.
SUNDAY.—Breakfast: Tea, bread, butter, fried bacon. Dinner: Roast beef, potatoes and cabbage, stewed fruit, custard. Tea: Tea, bread, butter, jam. Supper: Soup, bread, butter, cheese.
They are divided into five big classes for work. There are large numbers of them cooks and waitresses, and many of these cooks come from the best private houses in England, so the Waacs and the soldiers fare well. In one camp in the early days sixty women cooks walked in and sixty men out, released for the fighting lines. The saving in fats done by the women is very great and their economies admirable and the women are waitresses in the camps and messes.
In one base in France when twenty-nine cooks came to take charge in the early days the commanding officer issued an order that expresses very well the spirit in which the women are regarded.[pg 226]
The Officer Commanding Base Depot wishes to draw the attention of all ranks to the following points in connection with the Domestic Section of the Women's Auxiliary Army, which is employed in this depot:
These women have not come out for the sake of money, as their pay is that of a private soldier. In nearly every case they have lost someone dear to them in this war, and they are out here to try to do their best to make things more comfortable for the men in regard to their food.
It, therefore, is up to all ranks to make their lot an easy and not a hard one during their stay in France. If any man should so forget himself as to use bad language or at any time to be rude to them, it is up to any of his comrades standing by to shut him up, and see that he does not repeat this offence.
To the older men I would say: Treat them as you would your own daughters. To the younger men: Treat them as you would your own sisters.
They are doing the clerical work more and more, and in a few weeks have become so technical that they know where to send requisitions concerning 9.2 guns or trench mortars or giant howitzers. There is a favourite story told against an early Waac that when a demand came for armoured hose, she sent it to the clothing department, but she knows better now.
French girls are also helping in the clerical department, working side by side with the Waacs.
Others, the telegraphists and telephonists are in the Signalling Corps and these are the only ones who wear Army badges. They work under the Officers Commanding Signals and are so successful that the officers want thousands more.
Another small group are called the "Hush Waacs." There are only about a dozen of them and they have come from the Censor's Office and between them have a thorough knowledge of all modern languages. They are decoding signalled and written messages, script of every kind.[pg 228]
Numbers more are motor car and transport drivers working with A.S.C.
An intensely interesting piece of work at the front in which the Waacs now are, and in which French women have worked for a very long time, and are still working in large numbers, is the great "Salvage" work of the Army. In the Salvage centre at one ordnance base 30,000 boots are repaired in a week. They are divided into three classes—those that can be used again by the men at the front—those for men on the lines of communication—those for prisoners and coloured labour, and uppers that are quite useless are cut up into laces. They salve old helmets, old web and leather equipments, haversacks, rifles, horse shoes, spurs, and every conceivable kind of battlefield debris.
The work of repair and of renewal of clothing, which goes over to England to be dealt with, is a wonder of economy.
The women are helping in postal work and we handle about three million letters and packets a day in France for our Army there.[pg 229]
One other piece of work that falls to trained women gardeners in the Corps, is the care of the graves in France. There are so many graves in little clusters, lonely by the roadside, and in great cemeteries. They mark them clearly and they make them more beautiful with flowers. No work they have come to do, is done more faithfully than this act of reverence to our heroic and honoured dead.
The Y.W.C.A.'s Blue Triangle is going to be the same symbol for the Waacs as the Red Triangle for the Soldiers. They are building huts everywhere in France and in England, and the girls like them as much as the men do.
In these recreation huts the girls enjoy themselves and there are evenings when the soldier friends come in, too, and have a good time with them, for Waacs and the soldiers know each other and meet at all the Bases and Camps.
They dance and play games, and act, or sing, or come and talk, and one visitor tells us of seeing a girl doing machining at the end of a hut [pg 230] with one soldier turning the handle for her and another helping.
One evening at a dance some gallant Australian N.C.O.'s arrived carrying two enormous pans of a famous salad, that was their specialty, as their contribution to the provisions. So life in the Waacs is not all work—there is play, too, wisely. Every camp has a trained V.A.D. worker to look after the girls in case of sickness. If the case is bad they are sent over to Endell Street Hospital in London.
The Navy is going to follow the Army—so our women will be "Soldier and Sailor too," and we shall have to sing, "Till the girls come home," as well.
The Admiralty has decided to employ women on various duties on shore hitherto done by naval ratings, and to establish a Women's Royal Naval Service. The women will have a distinctive uniform and the service will be confined to women employed on definite duties directly connected with the Royal Navy. It is not intended at present to include those serving in the Admiralty [pg 231] departments or the Royal Dockyards or other civil establishments under the Admiralty. There are thousands of women in these already, as there were in Army pay offices, etc., before the Waacs were formed.
Dame Katherine Furse, G.B.E., will be Director of the Women's Royal Naval Service, and will be responsible under the Second Sea Lord, for its administration and organization.
Already we hear they are likely to be known as the "Wrens." And so our women are inside the organized forces of defence of our Country—the last line of usefulness and service.[pg 233]
"Evils which have been allowed to flourish for centuries cannot be destroyed in a day. If the nation really wishes to be freed from the consequences of prostitution it must deal with the sources of prostitution by a long series of social, educational, and economic reforms. The ultimate remedy is the acceptance of a single standard of morality for men and women, and the recognition that man is meant to be the master and not the slave of his body. There are thousands of men both in the army and out of it who know this, and for whom the streets of London have no dangers."
The unprecedented state of things produced by the war brought in its train serious anxiety as to moral conditions, not only in regard to the relation between the sexes but in other ways. The gathering of every kind of man together in camps creates great problems. Young boys, who had never been away from home before, who know very little of the world or of temptations, were often flung in with very undesirable companions. There were many risks and many hard tests and the parents who see their young boys go to camp without preparing them, or warning them, do their boys a great disservice and I have known of sons who bore in their hearts a feeling of having been badly treated by their parents, that would never die, for being sent without a word of counsel into these things.
It is not only actions—corrupt thoughts are the most evil of all—and to help to give our boys [pg 236] the greatest possession, moral courage, founded on knowledge, is our finest gift.
There were temptations to think less cleanly, to hear things said without protest and to say them later. There were drinking temptations and one used to wonder with a sick heart, what mothers would feel if they could see these young boys of theirs sometimes, so pathetically young and so foolish. There was also in these great camps of men—let us realize that quite clearly—great good for the boys and the men—good that far outweighs the evil. All the good of discipline, all they gained by their coming together for a great cause, all they gained in that great comradeship and service for each other, and in their self-sacrifice for their country and the world. The wonder and beauty of what it is, and means some of our own men have told us—among them one who died, Donald Hankey, and has left us a rich treasure in his works. And we all know it in our own men—that abiding spirit that is the vision without which the people perish.
But there are and were evils to fight and men [pg 237] and women to help. The huts and canteens and guesthouses are great agencies for good—as well as for comfort. Loneliness, and nowhere to go, and no one to talk to, are conditions that make for mischief.
Then there were the girls at the outbreak of the war, excited by all that was happening, not yet busy as they nearly all are now, feeling that the greatest thing was to know the soldiers and talk and walk with them, and flocking around camps and barracks, being foolish and risking worse.
The National Union of Women Workers decided to take action about this and drew up a scheme which they submitted to the Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Edward Henry, K.C.V.O. This scheme was for women of experience and knowledge of girls to patrol in the camps and barrack areas, and talk to girls who were behaving foolishly, and try to influence them for good. It was felt and it turned out to be quite accurate that the mere presence of these women would make girls and men behave better. [pg 238] Sir Edward Henry approved of the idea and arranged that each Patrol should have a card signed by him to be carried while on duty, authorizing the Patrols to seek and get the assistance of the Police, if necessary, and the Patrols wore an armlet with badge and number.
Their work in London proved so successful that the Home Office recommended the adoption of the scheme in provincial centres, where the Chief Constables authorized them and later the War Office asked for more Patrols in some of the camp areas and spoke very highly of their work.
A woman Patrol is generally a woman who is busy in her own home or profession all day, but who gives some hours one or two evenings a week to this work.
They have done the work faithfully and well, and have exceeded in their success all anticipations. There are about 3,000 Patrols in the Kingdom; of these eighty-five are engaged in special work in London and paid by the Commissioner of Police. Two are engaged in work at Woolwich Arsenal. Two are Park Keepers [pg 239] appointed by the Board of Works and are working in Kensington Gardens, and their names were submitted to the King before appointment. They have the power of arrest.
A subsidy has been granted to the Women's Patrol Committee for the training of Women Patrols of £400 a year. In many big towns admirable work has been done.
In Edinburgh the Patrol Committee was asked by H.M. Office of Works to help the men park keepers in keeping order in the King's Park.
This they have done with great success. Dublin has just taken over two women Patrols as paid workers.
The Military, Admiralty, Police, and Civil Authorities have all united in praising their work and any one can realize how much patience and tact and knowledge it calls for, and what it means to have had it done for over three years. The patrols have not been content only to talk to the girls, though it is wonderful what that alone can do. They have succeeded in getting them to come to clubs and they have worked in [pg 240] connection with the mixed clubs of which we have several very successful ones. A mixed club is very useful and helpful, but it must be well run by a good committee of men and women, and you need people of judgment and knowledge and tactful firmness in charge of it, if it is to be the best kind of club.
We have found an admirable thing is to have evenings for men friends in the Girls' Clubs when the girls can invite their men friends in, and have music and games and entertainment.
When Patrols were started, there was a very strong feeling that there ought to be women police, a much needed change in our country. We had none when war broke out, but in September, 1914, Miss Darner Dawson founded the Women Police Service. When members joined they were trained in drill, first aid, practical instructions in Police Duties, gained by actual work in streets, parks, etc. They studied special acts relating to women and children and civil and criminal law and the procedure and rules of evidence in Police Courts.[pg 241]
Their first work was done in Grantham where, in November, 1914, the Women's Central Committee of Grantham elected a Women Police Subcommittee to provide a fund for the payment of two Police Women to work with the Chief Constable. In February the following letter was written about their work:
"To the Chief Officer, Women Police,—I understand that there is some idea of removing the two members of the Women Police now stationed here. I trust that this is not the case. The services of the two ladies in question have proved of great value. They have removed sources of trouble to the troops in a manner that the Military Police could not attempt. Moreover, I have no doubt whatever that the work of these two ladies in an official capacity is a great safeguard to the moral welfare of young girls in the town.
and in November, 1915, they were made official Police by the City Council. In July, 1916, the Police Miscellaneous Provisions Act was passed, which encouraged the employment of Policewomen by stating that pay of the police "shall be deemed to include the pay of any women who may be employed by a Police Authority," etc.
Now there are thirty-four Policewomen in our Boroughs, but their position is still anomalous and unsatisfactory, as they do not come under the Police Act for purposes of discipline, pay, pensions, and compensation, but this will come. Meantime the Women Police Service goes on doing its admirable work of training and providing Volunteer and Semi-official police (supported by women's funds), in addition to those appointed by local authorities in Boroughs.
These semi-official police women are able to do a great deal, if the Chief Constable is friendly, and, naturally, they are appointed where he is so. They are often made Probation Officers and are used for children's and girl's and women's cases. Their work leads more and more to the official [pg 243] appointments and in this work as in so many of our successes, we women have achieved the results by having the voluntary organizations and training ourselves first and proving our fitness.
From my own experience, it is impossible to speak too highly of the kindness and willingness of many Chief Constables to do everything to teach and help the women.
The Women Police Service naturally insists on a high standard of training and this has been of great value.
A big development of women police work has been in the Munition factories where now about 700 women are employed in this capacity in England, Scotland and Wales.
The report of the Women's Police Service gives the following interesting account.
"In 1916 the Department Explosives Supply of the Ministry of Munitions applied to Sir Edward Henry for a force of Women Police to act as guards for certain of H.M. Factories. Sir Edward Henry sent for the two chief officers of the Women Police Service, and informed them [pg 244] that it was his intention to recommend them to the Ministry of Munitions for the supplying of the Women Police required. They thanked the Commissioner for his expression of trust in their capabilities, and in July an agreement was drawn up between the Minister of Munitions and the Chief Officer and Chief Superintendent of the Women Police Service, who were appointed to act as the Minister's representatives for the 'training, supplying and controlling' of the Force required. The duties of the Policewomen were to include checking the entry of women into the factory, examining passports, searching for contraband, namely, matches, cigarettes and alcohol; dealing with complaints of petty offences; patrolling the neighbourhood for the protection of women going home from work; accompanying the women to and fro in the workmen's trains to the neighbouring towns where they lodge; appearing in necessary cases at the Police Court, and assisting the magistrates in dealing with such cases, if required to. The Force for each factory was to consist of an inspector, sergeants [pg 245] and constables. Women to be trained for this work were at once enrolled by the Women Police Service and trained under a Staff of Officers.
"Since the inauguration of factory-police work for women in July, 1916, a marked success has attended the organisation, which has resulted in almost daily applications for Policewomen for factories situated in every part of the United Kingdom. We are not able to give a list of these factories nor to mention their names in our report of the work carried on by them, but we may say that at the present time we are supplying H.M. Factories, National Filling Factories and Private Controlled Factories. We are sure that our patrons and subscribers will feel as proud as we are of the intrepid Policewomen who for the past fourteen months have been carrying out these duties, which, we believe, no women have hitherto dreamt of undertaking, and which have called forth qualities of tact, discretion, cool courage and endurance that would compare well with any of those whom we call heroes in the fight at the front. We would call attention to [pg 246] one factory from which both the military and male Police Guard has been withdrawn. The factory employs several thousand women in the manufacture and disposal of some of the most dangerous explosives demanded by the war. When an air raid is in progress the operatives are cleared from the factory and the sheds and magazines are left to the sole charge of the Firemen and Policewomen, who take up the respective posts allotted to them. The Policewomen who guard the various magazines know that they hold their lives in their hands. We are proud to report that not one woman has failed at her post or shirked her duty in the hour of danger. The duties assigned to the Policewomen and their officers in these factories have increased considerably in scope during the past year. In one factory the force of Policewomen numbers 160 under one Chief Inspector, two Inspectors and twelve Sergeants, all of whom have been sworn in and take entire charge of all police cases dealing with women. They arrest, convey the prisoners to the Women Police Charge Station, keep [pg 247] their own charge sheets and other official documents, lock the prisoner in the cells, keep guard over her, convey her to the Court House for trial, and if convicted convey her to the prison. A short time ago the Inspector of Policewomen in one of H.M. Factories was instructed by the authorities to send a Policewoman to a distant town to fetch a woman prisoner, an old offender. The Policewoman was armed with a warrant, railway vouchers and handcuffs. The prisoner was handed over to the Policewoman by the Policeman, and the Policewoman and her charge returned without trouble. The prisoner expressed her relief and gratitude at being escorted by a Policewoman, and behaved well throughout the journey. The Policewoman reported that she was given every courtesy and assistance by both police and railway officials.
"We believe this constitutes the first time in history that women guards have been entrusted with the care and custody of their fellow-women when charged with breaking the law."[pg 248]
Other pieces of important and difficult work have been undertaken by women.
There have been, unfortunately, cases in which the soldier's wife, left at home, has behaved badly and been unfaithful. Men often write from the trenches to the Chief Constable to ask if charges made to them in letters about their wives are true. Naturally the Chief Constable asks the women to investigate these charges. Sometimes the charges are quite unfounded, simply spiteful and malicious and the woman and Chief Constable write and say so.
In other cases the husband knows of unfaithfulness and writes to the Army Pay Office asking to have the allowance stopped to his wife. The Army Pay Office never acts on any such letter without securing a report from the Chief Constable, and again the woman is needed, and there is frequently the question of the children as well. Their allowance, of course, never ceases but they may go to some relative or be disposed of in some way.
These cases are infinitesimal in number.[pg 249]
After the outbreak of the war there were many scares. Every one in our country knows now how a myth is established. We have left the stage behind where people told you they knew, from a friend, who knew a friend who knew some one else who saw it, who was in the War Office, etc., etc., etc.—that England was invaded—that the Navy was all down—or the German Navy was all down—that we were going to do this, that, or the other impossible thing.
Dame Rumour had a joyous time in the early days of the war and we suffered from the people who were not only quite certain that everything was wrong morally, but told us that the illegitimate birth rate was going to be enormous. Their accusations against our ordinary girls were monstrous. There was some excitement and foolishness, but anybody who was really working and dealing with it as the Patrol were, knew the accusations were ridiculous. The illegitimate birth rate of our country is lower than before, which is the best reply to, and the vindication [pg 250] of the men of our armies and our girls against, these absurd attacks.
Another scare was about the drinking of women. Soldiers' wives were attacked in this connection and the same kind of wild accusation made, so much so that a committee was appointed to go into the whole question (1915), presided over by Mrs. Creighton, President of the National Union of Women Workers.
In my experience a great deal of this talk was caused by the fact that many women, who had never done social work, and who knew nothing of real conditions, started to go among the people and were shocked and overwhelmed by what were unfortunately normal wrong conditions, and lost all sense of perspective. Some women did drink—true—but I found they were generally the women who always had done it, and who perhaps in some cases, having more money of their own and no husbands to deal with, drank a little more.
The findings of the Committee showed this clearly and they made some recommendations, especially recommending that the Central Board [pg 251] for the Control of the Liquor Traffic proceeded to do on its creation, restriction of hours of sale. Our restrictions make the sale of liquor legal only from 12 noon to 2.30 and from 6.30 to 8.30 or 9 P.M. Our convictions for drunkenness for women have fallen very low and for men, too. There is very much less drinking in our country and things are very much improved.
These attacks on soldiers' wives were naturally much resented as their work in the homes and industries, with their men away, and all their difficulties, has not always been easy. We find there is a little more difficulty with the boys. They miss the fathers' discipline and there has been some trouble through that, but such magnificent agencies as the Boy Scouts, who have helped us everywhere in the war, do great good.
The problem of dealing with the prevention of immorality has been a big one. The Women Patrols and the Women Police have been used in London in Waterloo Road (which had a bad reputation) and in parks, etc. The G.R. Volunteer Corps of men who meet the soldier arriving [pg 252] in London at the stations do a very good work.
In the Army and Navy excellent leaflets and booklets were issued dealing with the question in a very straightforward and admirable way.
The Council for Moral and Social Hygiene and the National Council for Combating Venereal Diseases has been doing a great work. The latter, which is a body set up as a result of the Government Commission on Venereal Diseases, had done a great deal of educational work and has set up an organization over the country. The Commission recommended much fuller facilities for free treatment for those suffering from these diseases in every town and district.
A Criminal Law Amendment Bill has been brought in and it improves our existing law in many ways and strengthens it. There has been much controversy about certain of its provisions, some dealing with power to send young girls to homes. There is a very strong feeling among many of our social workers that Rescue Work in our country altogether needs overhauling and change, and new experiments are being tried.[pg 253]
Wars have almost invariably in the past meant an enormous increase in venereal diseases on the return of the army in the civil population. Armies lose large numbers of men by them, and every person must feel it is their plain duty to leave no means untried and no measures unused that could help.
The woman who lives by her immoral earnings is, like the man who is immoral and uncontrolled, a serious danger and menace to her country and to generations yet unborn.
The problems that arise from the existence of these two groups are the business of all men and women. The problems are those of providing decent and wholesome recreation and surroundings, of helping men and women to meet under right conditions, of giving the right kind of information and guidance to the soldier and the girl, of realizing what drink does in this traffic, and the fundamental task of working to create better social, economic and moral conditions.
There is no need nor is it desirable to have masses of people suffer unnecessary misery by a [pg 254] knowledge of the exact nature of this disease—which leads sometimes to morbidity and often to a frenzied desire to do something at once, before they really know anything about the question and what has been done.
There are three questions that ought to be answered in the affirmative before any legislation or preventive treatment is decided on.
Will the proposed action apply equally to men and to women, to rich and to poor?
Will it tend to increase and not undermine the powers of self-control?
Will it improve morals in the nation and elevate them?
Repressive measures by themselves achieve nothing. Preventive measures of every practical and sound kind we want, but most of all we need to inculcate the truth that "Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control, These three alone lead man to sovereign power."
It is not enough to prevent and teach. We [pg 255] should be willing to help up, to save, to love, and we should never be self-righteous in our help.
Who among us has the right to cast the first stone?[pg 257]
"Give her of the fruits of her lands and let her own words praise her in the gates."
The war has done already, with us, such great things for women, so many of them so naturally accepted now, that it is almost difficult to get back in thought, and realize where we stood when it broke out.
General Smuts, in one of his speeches, said, "Under stress of great difficulty practically everything breaks down ultimately, and the only things that survive are really the simple human feelings of loyalty and comradeship to your fellows, and patriotism, which can stand any strain and bear you through all difficulty and privation. We soldiers know the extraordinary value of these simple feelings, how far they go and what strain they can bear, and how, ultimately, they support the whole weight of civilization."
In this war our men, in their dealings with us, have got down more and more to simple fundamental [pg 260] truths and facts—loyalty and comradeship, founded on our common patriotism. We have got nearer and nearer to the ideal so many of us long for, equal right to serve and help. The great fundamental establishment of political rights for women has come with us. When war broke out, women's suffrage was winning all the time a greater and greater mass of adherents, a majority of the House was pledged to vote for it and had been for years, the Trade Unions and Labour Party stood solid for it, but the motive to act seemed lacking.
War came, and every political party in our country laid aside political agitation. No party meetings have been held since August, 1914. Suffragists and anti-suffragists did the same. The great body of constitutional suffragists kept their organization intact but used it for "sustaining the vital energies of the nation." Relief Work, Hospital Work and Supplies, Child Welfare, Comforts, Workrooms, help for professional women, work for Belgian refugees, work in canteens and huts, work for the Soldiers and Sailors [pg 261] Families' Association, Schools for Mothers, Girls' Clubs—into everything the Suffrage societies fling themselves with ardour, zeal and ability. No women knew better how to organize, no women better how to educate and win help. They formed an admirable Women's Interests Committee, and looked after all women's interests excellently.
When the Government issued its first appeal for women volunteers for munitions and land, etc., it asked the Suffrage societies to circulate them and to help them to secure the needed labour from women.
As the war went on it became clearer and clearer that the men of the country saw more and more vividly why suffragists had asked for votes—and more and more were impressed with the value of their work. At meetings to do propaganda for Government appeals, when women spoke on the needs of the country, men everywhere, although it had nothing to do with the appeal, and had never been mentioned, declared [pg 262] their conversion to Women's Suffrage in the War.
Women pointed out that they did not want Women's Suffrage as a reward—but as a simple right. They had not worked for a reward, but for their country, as any citizen would, but, in our country, the great converting power is practical proof of value and they had that overwhelmingly in our work. The Press came out practically solidly for Women's Suffrage. The work of women was praised in every paper and one declared, "It cannot be tolerable that we should return to the old struggle about admitting them to the franchise." Eminent Anti-Suffragists, inside and outside of the House of Commons, frankly admitted their conversion. Mr. Asquith, the old enemy of Women's Suffrage, said in a memorable speech: "They presented to me not only a reasonable, but, I think, from their point of view, an unanswerable case.... They say that when the war comes to an end, and when the process of industrial reconstruction has to be set on foot, have not the women a special [pg 263] claim to be heard on the many questions which will arise directly affecting their interests, and possibly meaning for them large displacement of labour? I cannot think that the House will deny that, and, I say quite frankly, that I cannot deny that claim." It was clear the whole question of franchise would need to be gone into—the soldiers' vote was lost to him under our system when he was away, and the sailors' redistribution was long overdue, an election, as things were, would be absolutely unrepresentative. So after several attempts to deal with the problem in sections, a Committee was set up under the Speaker of the House of Commons to go into the whole question of Franchise reform and registration.
The Committee was composed of five Peers and twenty-seven members of the House of Commons, and started its work in October, 1916, and in its report, April, 1917, it recommended, by a majority, that a measure of enfranchisement should be given to women.[pg 264]
The National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies and the Consultative Committee, which had been formed in 1916 by the N.U.W.S.S., of representatives of all constitutional societies, presented various memorials, notably an admirable memorandum of women's work and opinion in favour, prepared by the National Union for the Speakers' Conference during its sittings. After its recommendations while the bill was being drafted, Mrs. Henry Fawcett, LL.D., the President of the N.U.W.S.S., headed a deputation received by the Premier, Mr. Lloyd George, who has always been a supporter of Women's Suffrage. This was certainly one of the most representative and interesting deputations that ever went to Downing Street. It numbered over fifty and every woman in it represented a great section of industrial and war workers—Miss Mary MacArthur, the Trade Union Leader was there, and Miss Margaret Bondfield, Mrs. Flora Annie Steele, the authoress; Lady Forbes Robertson, for actresses; Miss Adelaide Anderson, our Chief Women Factory Inspector; Mrs. Oliver [pg 265] Strachey, Parliamentary Honourable Secretary of the National Union, whose work has been tireless and invaluable in the House; a woman munition worker, a woman conductor, a railway woman worker, a woman chemist, a woman from a bank, a clerk, a shipyard worker, a nurse, a V.A.D., an eminent woman Doctor, a peeress in Lady Cowdray, who has done so much for the British Women's Hospitals and so many other war objects, and women representatives of every calling in the nation at peace and war. Mrs. Pankhurst, who has been very active in war work, was also present on the Premier's invitation, and Mrs. Fawcett brought a Welshwoman who made her plea in her own language, the Premier's own, too, and the one he loves to hear. In his reply, he assured them the bill would contain a measure of enfranchisement for women as drafted, and he was quite sure the House would carry it.
The recommendations of the Speakers' Conference were an agreed compromise, and the Representation of the People Bill, as it was called on [pg 266] its introduction, has gone through very much on the lines of the recommendations. It arranges for postal or proxy votes for the soldier, the sailor and the merchant seaman, it simplifies the qualifications for men, it retains the University vote for men and extends it to women, and it enfranchises women of thirty years of age on a residence qualification, and all wives of voters of the same age. It disfranchises, for the time, the conscientious objector who will do no national service. The age at which our men vote is twenty-one. The higher age of the women was a compromise, which was accepted by all women's societies and by labour women, though it was not the terms they stood for—equality.
If we had it on the same terms as men, we should very greatly outnumber the men. There were over a million more women than men before the war and a new electorate greater than all the men's numbers brought in at once was not considered wise. To press for it would have wrecked our chances.
This measure enfranchises six million women, [pg 267] and about ten million men are now voters, so we have a very fair proportion.
The women's clause was carried, with only thirty-five dissentients and later only seventeen voted against it.
In this same bill, with practically no discussion, an amendment was carried enfranchising the wives of local government electors.
It is difficult to adequately express the confidence, the desire, and the willingness to co-operate, that there is now between our men and women.
We know, too, that the great woman's movement of our country, which has worked to this end for fifty years and numbered our greatest women among its adherents, has had much to do with the ability of our women to take the great part they have in this crisis. If women had not toiled and opened education and opportunities to women, and preached the necessity of full service, we could not have done it.
One great thing the war has done for our women is to draw us all closely together—in [pg 268] common sorrows, hopes and fears, we find how much we are one and in so much of our work women of every rank of life are together. We had that union before in many ways, but never so completely as now. Punch has a delightful picture that summed up how we are mixed in soldier's canteens, and huts and buffets, and Hospitals, which show a little Londoner saying to a meek member of the aristocracy "washing up," "Nar, then, Lady Halexandra, 'urry up with them plaites," and we have an amusing little play of the same kind. The society girl who washes down the Hospital steps, and washes up for hours, and carries meals up and down stairs in her work, week after week, and month after month, and year after year, in our Hospitals, knows what work is now, and the soldier who is served, and the soldier's sister and wife, learns something, too, about her that is worth learning.
We have also learned a great deal in our welfare work, and the welfare supervisors and the workers both have benefited, and the heads of the innumerable hostels, which we have built [pg 269] everywhere for our girls—dozens in our new Government-built munition cities, have been of very real help and service to the girls. A tactful, sensible, educated woman has a great deal to give that helps the younger girl, and can look after and advise her as to health, work, leisure and amusements in a way that leaves real lasting benefit.
In the munition works, well educated women, women with plenty of money, women who never worked before, work year after year beside the working girl. Just at first some of the working girls were not quite sure of her, but it is all right long, long ago, and they mutually admire each other. The well-off woman works her hours and takes her pay, and takes it very proudly. I have been told many times by these women who, for the first time know the joy of earning money, "I never felt so proud in my life as when I got my first week's money." And the men in the factories learn a lot, too. "Women have been too much kept back," was the comment of a foreman in a shell factory to the Chief Woman Factory [pg 270] Inspector on a visit she was paying to it. The skilled men, teaching the women, have learned a great deal about them, too, and have helped the women in so many ways. Men have been amazed at the ability and power and capacity for work of the women and are, on the whole, very willing to say so and express their admiration.
One munition girl writes: "The timekeeper, quite a gorgeous gentleman in uniform, gave us quite a welcome.... The charge-hand of the Welder's shop helped us to start, and stayed with us most of Friday. He was most kind, and showed us the best way to tackle each job, did one for us, and then watched us doing it."
Another says, "Our foreman is a dear old man, so kind and full of fun. The men welders are awfully good to us."
In considering the practical facts of new opportunities for women, one thing is clear. Masses of our women took their new work as "temporary war workers," but as the war has gone on, it has become clearer and clearer that, [pg 271] in many cases, these tasks are going to be permanently open to women. One reason is that many of the men will never return to take up their work again—another, that many of them will never return to what they did before.
They have been living in the open-air, doing such different things, such big vistas have opened out that they will never be content to go back to some of their tasks. There is the other fact that we, like every other country, will need to repair and renovate so much, will need to create new and more industries, will need to add to our productiveness to pay off our burdens of debt, and to carry out our schemes of reconstruction, so women will still be needed. Our women, in still greater numbers, will not be able to marry, and the best thing for any nation and any set of women is to do work, and there will be plenty of room for all the work our women can do. Many will go back to home work, of course; there are large numbers who are working in our country, only while their husbands are away, and when [pg 272] they return will find their work in their homes again.
We are offering special training opportunities to the young widow of the soldier or officer.
In special branches of work our opportunities are very much greater and better. Medicine is one of the professions in which women have very specially made good. Better training opportunities have opened, more funds have been raised to enable women of small means to get medical education, and the Queen herself gave a portion of a gift of money she received, for this purpose. Most medical appointments are open to them now and they have been urged by the great medical bodies to enter for training in still greater numbers in the different Universities, and have done so.
More research is being done by them in every department. In professions such as accountancy, architecture, analytical chemistry, more and more women are entering. In the banking world women have done very satisfactory work, and one London bank manager, asked to say what he [pg 273] thought of prospects after the war, says he is very strongly of opinion it will continue to be a profession for women after the war. This manager thinks the question of higher administrative posts being open to women will depend entirely on themselves and their work, and what they prove capable of achieving and holding, they will certainly have.
In the war, one profession, in particular, has come nearer to finding its rightful place than ever before—the teaching profession. Their salaries which, in too many cases, were disgracefully low, have been raised. The woman teacher has shown her capacity in new fields of work in the boys' schools, but it is in another sense that their profession, both men and women, but very specially the women, have achieved a very real gain in the war.
The teachers of the country have done a very great deal of war work of every kind. The National Register of 1915 was largely done by their labour. The War Savings Associations and Committees owe a great debt to teachers and inspectors, [pg 274] who are the backbone of the movement, headmistresses are asked constantly to help in securing trained women, taught to work in Hospitals on their holidays, on land, in organizing supplies and comforts in canteens and clubs, and more and more are put on official Committees in their towns and districts.
It means the teacher is finding the status and position the teachers in their profession ought to have in their communities, and the war has done a great deal towards achieving that desirable end, though there is still a good deal to be done.
In the Government Service there has undoubtedly been great opportunities for women, especially those of organizing, executive and secretarial ability—and in many cases the payment in higher posts is identical for men and women, and higher posts, if they have the ability, are freely given to women and the whole position of women in our Civil Service is improved. In the very highest posts, such as those of Insurance and Feeble-minded Commissioners, etc., women before the war received the same salaries as men.[pg 275]
The organizing ability and the common sense way in which our women in voluntary organization, quite rapidly, themselves decided what organizations were unnecessary and merely duplicating others, and refused to help them, so that they died out quite quickly, roused admiration, and the war has educated vast numbers of women in organization and executive ability. Women who never in their lives organized anything, and never kept an account properly, are doing all kinds of useful work. One nice middle-aged lady whose War Savings Association accounts were being kept wrongly, or rather were not really being kept at all, when told they must be done fully and correctly by one of our National Committee representatives, said, "Oh, but you see, I never did anything but crochet before the war"; but we have succeeded in making even the crochet ladies keep accounts and do wonderful things.
In the great world of mechanics and engineering, women are doing a wonderful amount of work and, there is no doubt, will remain in certain departments after the war. One danger [pg 276] there is in the women's attitude—so many of our women have learned one branch of work very quickly, that there probably will be a tendency to believe that anything can be learned as easily. There are only certain departments of mechanics that can be learned in a few months' time, and women will probably go on doing these. Such work as theirs in optical munitions, has shown their very special aptitude for it and in law-making, etc., they will be used more and more. Women have successfully done tool-setting and can go on with that. The training for civil and mechanical engineering is long, but there will be, if women are keen and will train, plenty of opportunity for them in peace-time occupations in civil, mechanical or electrical branches in connection with municipal, sanitary and household questions and in laundries, farms, etc. The women architects and these women could very well co-operate closely.
Women clerks and secretaries will remain largely after the war. Fewer men will want these posts as we are convinced there will be big [pg 277] movements among our men to more active work, to the land and to the Dominions overseas.
Women on the land will in numbers stay there, and there is a distinct movement among women with capital to go in for farming, market gardening, bee-keeping, poultry-keeping, etc., still more.
The war has made more of our fathers and mothers realize the right of their daughters to education and training, and there are very few parents in our country now, who think a girl needs to know nothing very practical, and has no need to go in for a profession. Our women's colleges have more students than ever and the war has done great things in breaking down these old conventional ideas. The war, in fact, has shaken the very foundations of the old Victorian beliefs in the limited sphere of women to atoms. Our sphere is now very much more what every human being's sphere is and ought to be—the place and work in which our capacity, ability or genius finds its fullest vent—and there is no need to worry about restricting women or anyone [pg 278] else to particular spheres—if they cannot do it, they cannot fill the sphere, and that test decides. The dear old Victorian dugouts grow fewer and fewer in number, but we never must forget that the great powers of women have not come in a night, miraculously, in the war. They are the result of long years of patient work before, and we women, who have had these great opportunities, must see to it that we nobly carry on the traditions of teaching and training and qualifying ourselves for service, bequeathed to us from older generations.
One thing, too, despite the war tasks and strain, we have not lost sight of the fact that the great fundamental tasks of keeping the house, guarding and seeing to the children must be well done. Just for a little, some of our tasks of child welfare had fewer workers, but many of the women realized the value of all these tasks as supreme, and took up the work freely. Child welfare work in particular the Suffrage woman organized and worked, Glasgow Suffragists taking on the visiting of babies, always done there, [pg 279] in a whole ward of the city, and in other towns they started Day Nurseries.
Lord Rhondda at the Local Government Board instituted Baby week and we hope to found a Ministry of Health very soon. So in the War we have realized even more vividly how great and valuable and important these tasks of women are. A very great amount of work for child welfare has been done by our women in the war, and our infant death rate is going still lower.
The war has done a great service in drawing women of all the Allied Nations together—a service whose greatness and magnitude it is not easy to fully realize. French and English men and women know so much more of each other now. Our hospitals in France, our Canteens for French Soldiers, as well as our own, our women and the French women working side by side in our army clerical departments and ordnance depots in France, the Belgians and French who are among us in such large numbers, make us known to each other. In Serbia we have made many friends and in Italy and Russia and Romania, [pg 280] all links for the future, and helps to wider knowledge and understanding. It is on understanding the hopes of the world rest, and we women have a great part to play in that.
With America our link has always been very great and all the help, and gifts, and service America gave us before it entered the war, have been very precious to us. American women have given Hospitals and ambulances and everything possible in the way of succour and of service, and have died with our women in nursing service, as the men have in our ranks.
Massachusetts sent a nurse to France, Miss Alice Fitzgerald, in memory of Edith Cavell, which shows the unity of your feeling and ours on that tragic execution, and her work under our War Office in Queen Alexandra's Imperial Army Nursing Service with the British Expeditionary Force, as well as the work of all the American nurses we have had helping us, is another link in the great chain. Our own great Commonwealth of Nations are nearer to each other than ever before. There were even people [pg 281] among us who thought a little as the enemy did that our Dominions would not stand by us—stupid and blind people.
It is their fight as well as ours—the common fight of all free peoples, and all our united nations stand together, including those who only a few years ago were fighting us as brave foes.
We have learned so much in great ways and in small ways, in economies and in the care of all our resources, too. We women are more careful in Britain now. We save food, and grow more, and produce more, and maids and mistresses work together to economize and help. We gather our waste paper and sell it or give it to the Red Cross for their funds, give our bottles and our rags, waste no food and save and lend our money. We could not have been called a thrifty nation before the war—we are much more thrifty now, in many ways, though there are still things we could learn.
In the Women's Army and in so much of our work we are learning discipline and united service—learning what it means to be proud of your [pg 282] corps and to feel the uniform you wear or the badge is something you must be worthy of—and it goes back to being worthy of your own flag and of the ideals for which we all stand in these days.
And the young wives who are married and left behind, who bear their children with their husbands far away in danger, who have had no real homes yet, but who wait and hope, they are very wonderful in their courage and pluck—and, most of all, everywhere, our women, like our men, wisely refuse to be dreary. There are enough secret dark hours, but in our work we carry on cheerfully, the women know the soldiers' slogan, "Cheero," and to Britain and to "somewhere on the fronts," the same message goes and comes.
Of the great spiritual worths and values, it has brought to women very much what it has brought to men. All eternal things are more real, all eternal truths more clearly perceived. When the whole foundations of life rock under us, in where "there is no change, neither shadow of turning," the heart rests more surely in these days.[pg 283]
It has brought us agonies and tears, weariness and pain, self-denial and great sorrows, but it has brought such riches of self-sacrifice, such service, such love, has shown us such peaks of revelation and vision to which the soul and the nation can attain, that we count ourselves rich, though so much has gone.
To think of what we might have been if we had refused to bear our share—to look back on the evils of luxury and selfishness that were creeping over us, makes us feel that we may have lost some things, but "what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul." And we have saved our soul. The souls of the nations travail in a new birth through a night of agony and tears. The purposes being worked out are so great, that it is difficult for us to see them with our limited human vision, but in great moments of insight we do see, and having seen, go back to our tasks in the light of that vision, knowing that though now we fight in dim shadows with monstrous and awful evils of mankind's [pg 284] creation, the day is coming nearer and the light will come.
An age is dying and a new age comes, and what it shall be only the men and women of the world can answer.[pg 285]
"The tumult and the shouting dies—
The captains and the Kings depart—
Still stands thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts; be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget."
"We shall not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall our sword sleep in our hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England's green and pleasant land."
And what is to come after? The first and the last and the greatest thing to do is to win the war and to get the right settlement. Unless we finish this struggle with the nations free, there can be no real reconstruction. The greatest work of reconstruction—the fundamental work—will be at the peace table. Those who are giving everything and doing everything to gain victory for the Allies, are the true reconstructors of the world.
The first great task of reconstruction is victory and the second is right peace settlements.
We cannot say that anything we can do will make future peace certain, but we can see that just and righteous settlements are made, so that the foundations are laid that ought to ensure peace in the future. There is no real peace possible while injustices exist.
There is no real peace possible while evil and good contend for mastery, and the spiritual conflicts [pg 288] of man are, and will be, as terrible as any physical conflicts. While mankind stands where it does now, it is well that against corruption of spirit and thought, we can use our bodies as shields.
The fact that we have had to fight Germany physically, shows clearly that spiritually and mentally we were unable to make them see truth and honour, and the meaning of freedom, and that the ideal of peace made no real appeal to them.
They built up in their nation great thought forces of aggression, of belief in militarism, of worship of might, of belief that war paid, and was in itself good, that there was no conscience higher than the state. They even worship God as a sort of tribal God whom they call upon to work with them—not a question as to whether they are on God's side—no—an assertion that God is on theirs.
That was their thought—and the thoughts of the other nations were bent on problems of freedom and growing democracy, of widening opportunities, of political and commercial interest, [pg 289] were, on the whole, the vaguely good thoughts of evolving democracies (with notable exceptions), but not the clear powerful thoughts needed to fight effectually those of Germany in the fields of intellect and spirit.
People did not see the full evil of Germany's thought—it was tied up with so much that was efficient and good and able, and we were only half articulate as to our own beliefs, and not even thoroughly clear or agreed about them, and Germany considered us slack and inefficient, and believed we might even be induced to consent to seeing Europe overrun and doing nothing. We did not believe, despite warning, that any nation thought as Germany did and we seemed, in their minds, to be people to be dominated and swept over.
One interesting fact to note is that Germany, despite its boasted knowledge of psychology, did not realise that England possesses a definite sub-conscious mind which always guides its actions. The sub-conscious mind of England is a desire for fair play, for justice, and a very definite sense of freedom. England is the creator of self-government [pg 290] and its sub-conscious mind, built up for centuries, is a very definite and real thing.
The sub-conscious mind of Germany, filled with these dominating ideas of power and Weltmacht and militarism, goes on, once set free, to its logical end, and it seems clearer and clearer that there is no real end to this struggle till we make the mind and soul of Germany realize its crimes and mistakes, till they are sane again and talk the A, B, C of civilization. The real reconstruction of the world begins there.
That end reached and settlements justly done, we may consider schemes for a League of Nations and practical possibilities of work in international organizations to prevent disputes leading to war.
The work of reconstruction must be international, as well as national, but the people who do, and will do, the best international work are the people who do the best national work. The individuals who are not prepared to spend time and service and effort to make their own country better and nobler, are going to do nothing for internationalism that is worth doing. The heart [pg 291] that finds nothing to love and work for in its neighbour is the heart that has nothing to bring to the whole world.
Again, there must be reparation by the enemy. We cannot reconstruct this world rightly if we do not enforce justice. A nation that has broken every international and human law is a nation that must be made to pay for its crimes as far as human justice can secure it.
Our six thousand murdered merchant seamen, the thousands of passengers they have killed, the civilians they have bombed, are marshalled against them, and the horrors of their frightfulness, deliberately planned and carried out against the peoples they have held in bondage, their refusal to even feed properly their prisoners and captive people—are we to be told to reconstruct a world without reparation for these and their other crimes?
We shall have a reconstructed world with right foundations, only when the nations know that justice is throned internationally, and that every crime is to be judged and punished. [pg 292] There can be no new world without living faith, without real religion. A cheap and sentimental humanitarism is no substitute for real faith—philosophies that seem adequate in ordinary times are poor things when the soul of man stands stripped of all its trappings and faces death and suffering and watches agonies. Then the abiding eternal soul knows its own reality and its oneness with the Divine and eternal, and the sacrifice of Christ is a real living thing—and in the men's sacrifice they are very near to Him.
So the Churches are being tested, too, in this great crisis, and in a reconstructed world we shall want Churches that carry the message of Christianity with a clearer and firmer voice, but that is the task of all believers. We cannot cast the duty of making the Church a living witness on our priests alone—it is our work, and unless our faith goes into everything we do, it is no use. People who profess a faith, and carefully shut it up in a compartment of their lives, so that it has no real connection with their work, [pg 293] are worse than honest doubters—because they betray what they profess.
So reconstruction rests upon great spiritual tasks and values, and upon the willingness and ability of the nations to carry these out.
In our country, our political parties are going to be changed and reconstructed. The Labour Party has already made a big appeal to "brain and hand workers," and has announced its scheme of re-organization.
One definite result of the war in the minds of the people of our country is the definite mental discarding of state socialism of the bureaucratic kind as a conceivable system of government. We have seen bureaucracy at work to a great extent, and shall undoubtedly have to continue control in many ways after peace comes, but we do not like it. Socialism will have to go on to new lines of thought and development if it wishes to achieve anything—and the most interesting thought and schemes are on the lines of Guild Socialism.[pg 294]
How the great Liberal and Unionist Parties will emerge, we cannot say—but this we know, they will be different. We have a new electorate, more men and the women, and the opinion and needs of the women will undoubtedly affect our political reconstruction. Most of us, in the war, have entirely ceased to care for party; even the most fierce of partisans have changed, and the "party appeal," in itself, will be of little account in our country.
I feel sure we shall scrutinize measures and men and programmes more carefully, and the work of educating our women will be part of the women's great tasks in reconstruction.
Our ability to reconstruct and renew rests fundamentally upon our financial condition—even the power to make the best peace terms rests upon it. Crippled countries cannot stand out for the best terms, so finance is all-important.
The democratic nature of our loans is all-important, too. We have had people suggesting that these loans would be repudiated—a suggestion that is not only absurd, but is humorous [pg 295] when one realizes that about ten million of our people have invested in them. To get a House of Commons elected that would repudiate these loans would be a difficult task.
The widespread nature of the loans is sound for the people and the Government, and will help us not only to win the war, but, what is still more important, "to win the peace." We have in this struggle paid more and better wages to our people than ever before, conditions have been improved, masses of our people have led a fuller existence than ever before. We want to make these and still better conditions permanent. We cannot do that by a military victory only—we can only do it by finishing financially sound, and the man or woman who saves now and invests is one of our soundest reconstructors.
In the readjustments in industry that must come there will be temporary displacements, and the money invested will be invaluable to those affected. In our great task of reorganizing industries, of renovating and repairing, of building up new works and adding to our productiveness, [pg 296] finance is all-important. We shall need large sums for the development of our industry, for the transferring of war work back to peace pursuits, for the opening up of new industries and work, for the development of trade abroad and the selfish using up of resources that could be conserved, makes the work harder—might even, if extravagantly large, cripple us seriously at the end of this struggle.
The sacrifices of our men can achieve military victory, but weakness and self-indulgence at home can take the fruits of their victories away.
Those who are working and saving in our War Savings Movement are so convinced of its value, not only to the state, but to the individual, and for the character of our people, that they have expressed the very strongest conviction that it should go on after the War, and it will probably remain in our reconstruction.
We have also urged the wisdom of saving for the children's education and for dots for daughters, so that our young women may have some money in emergencies, or something of their own [pg 297] on marriage, and both of these are being done.
The great problem of education bulks very large in our reconstruction schemes. A new Education Bill for England and Wales has been prepared by Mr. Fisher—and his appointment is in itself a sign of our new attitude. He is Minister of Education and is really an educationist, having been Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield University when given the appointment. His Bill puts an end to that stigma on English education, the half-time system in Lancashire, and raises the age for leaving school to what it has been in Scotland for some years—sixteen years of age. It provides greater opportunities for secondary and technical training and improves education in every way. Its passage, or the passage of a still better Bill, is essential for any real work in reconstruction.
There are other schemes of education being planned and considered, and women are working with men on the education committee of the Ministry of Reconstruction.[pg 298]
The land question is all-important in reconstruction. We have fixed a minimum price for wheat for five years, as well as minimum wages for the labourers on land, men and women, and we have schemes and land for the settlement of soldiers. It is safe to predict that agriculture will be better looked after than it was before the war, and that we have learned a valuable lesson on food production, and the value of being more self-supporting.
There are people who talk airily and foolishly of "revolutions after the war"—of great labour troubles, of exorbitant and impossible demands, of irreconcilable quarrels. These people are themselves the creators and begettors of trouble, and mischievous in the highest degree. They belong, though they are much less attractive, to the same category as the person who tells you that the moral regeneration of the world is coming from this great war.
The "revolutionists" have to learn that there is no need to have any such crises happen, that they can only happen if we are foolish beyond [pg 299] belief and conception—for we have learned in this war how great and ample is the common meeting ground of all of us, how impossible it is for anyone to believe that we, who have fought together, suffered and lost together, while our men have died together, cannot find in consideration of claims enough common sense and wisdom to prevent any such disaster.
And one wonders where the people are going to be found who are going to be so unjust to the workers as to provide any reason for such dangers to be feared, for we know one thing in the war, that in the trenches, on the sea, behind the trenches and carrying on at home, the workers have done the greater part—and they, in their turn, know all others have borne their share. Out of such common knowledge and the consciousness that the practical work of democracy is to raise its people more and more, we shall have not revolution, but evolution of the best kind. And the moral regeneration of the world will come if we reconstruct the one thing that matters most and that is fundamental to [pg 300] all—ourselves—and it will not come if we do not. When one has said everything there is to be said of schemes and hopes of reconstruction—about the schemes for better homes, and a great housing scheme is wisely one of the foundation schemes of our reconstruction, for which plans are now being prepared, about schemes for the care of children, about schemes for endowment of motherhood, which are exercising the minds of many of our women, you are back again to the individual. When you think of education schemes, and schemes for teaching national service to the young, of work to teach care and thrift, you are back again to the problem of creating character.
When you go into the great world of industry and its problems, of care of the workers in health and sickness, of securing justice and full opportunities, of developing and wisely using our resources, again you return to the individual.
When you want to make the art and beauty of life accessible to all, you come back to the question [pg 301] as to the individual's desire for it and appreciation of it.
Schemes in theory may be perfect—reconstruction may be planned without a flaw—but what does that help if we as individuals are blind and selfish?
The regeneration of the world cannot come from the sacrifice of our men alone, or even of some of us at home. The few may save countries and do great things, but the work of reconstruction rests on everybody. Nations are made up of individuals, and a nation cannot hope for moral and social regeneration except through individual self-denial, self-sacrifice and service.
It is in our own hearts and our own minds that the great task of reconstruction must be done.
The greatest task of reconstruction for most of us is to make all our actions worthy of our highest self—to bring to the problems that confront us, not one detached and prejudiced bit of us, but the whole mind and spirit of ourselves—the best of us always in unity.[pg 302]
That is life's greatest task, and calls for all we have to give, and all we are. There lies true reconstruction and the hope of all the world.[pg 303]
American Women's War Relief Fund, 123 Victoria Street, London, S.W. 1.
Association of Infant Consultation and Schools for Mothers, 4 Tavistock Square, London, W.C. 1.
British Women's Hospital, Bond Street, London, W. 1.
Glove Waistcoat Society, 75 Chancery Lane, E.C. 4.
Ministry of Food, Mrs. Pember Reeves, Mrs. C.S. Peel, Grosvenor House, W. 1.
National Federation of Women's Workers.
Women's Trade Union League, 34 Mecklenburgh Square, W.C. 1.
National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies.
Scottish Women's Hospitals, 62 Oxford Street, W.C. 1.[pg 306]
Women's Interests Committee, 62 Oxford Street, W.C.I.
National War Savings Committee, Salisbury Square, E.C. 4.
National Union of Women Workers (Women Patrols), Parliament Mansions, Victoria Street, S.W.I.
Queen Mary's Needlework Guild, St. James Palace, S.W.I.
National Food Economy League, 3 Woodstock Street, Oxford Street, W.C.I.
Prisoners of War, Help Committee, 4 Thurloe Place, Brompton Road, W.
Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, Devonshire House, W. 1.
Women's Branch, Food Production Department, Board of Agriculture, 72 Victoria Street, S.W.I.
Women's Service Bureau, L.S.W.S., 58 Victoria Street, S.W. 1.
Women's National Land Service Corps, 50 Upper Baker Street, W. 1.[pg 307]
Women Police Service, St. Stephens House, Westminster, S.W.I.
Young Women's Christian Association, 25 George Street, Hanover Square, W. 1.
V.A.D., Lady Ampthill, Devonshire House, W. 1.
The following Memoranda have been prepared by the Committee and issued:
No. 1—Sunday Labour.
No. 2—Welfare Supervision.
No. 3—Industrial Canteens.
No. 4—Employment of Women.
No. 5—Hours of Work.
No. 6—Canteen Construction and Equipment (Appendix to No. 3).
No. 7—Industrial Fatigue and Its Causes. [pg 308] No. 8—Special Industrial Diseases.
No. 9—Ventilation and Lighting of Munition Factories and Workshops.
No. 10—Sickness and Injury.
No. 11—Investigation of Workers' Food and Suggestions as to Dietary. (Report by Leonard E. Hill, F.R.S.)
No. 12—Statistical Information Concerning Output in Relation to Hours of Work. (Report by H.M. Vernon, M.D.)
No. 13—Juvenile Employment.
No. 14—Washing Facilities and Baths.
No. 15—The Effect of Industrial Conditions Upon Eyesight.
No. 16—Medical Certificates for Munition Workers.
also, Feeding the Munition Worker.
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You have read this book and you will agree with the Publisher that it ought to have an immediate and wide distribution. Will you help him to eliminate wasteful advertising by sending the post card enclosed, giving your opinion of the book to one of your friends.
Since you have probably seen the imprint of G. Arnold Shaw on a book for the first time, will you spend a few minutes scanning the following pages, to discover what the best critical opinion is upon other recent Shaw publications. They are intended for the discriminating few as our trademark, "Aere Perennius"—"more lasting than brass," indicates.
A significant proof of the growth of the Association's influence in recent years is afforded by the fact that our Secretary, Mr. G. Arnold Shaw, has been enabled to enter the publishing field successfully. We reverse thus the plan of campaign of the ordinary lecture bureau which is usually impressed with the possibilities of a man who has won fame as an author rather than as a lecturer; we discover that a man is a first rate lecturer and then we proceed to make him an author—also of the front rank as the reviews quoted below show.
By IAN C. HANNAH, F.S.A.
Some Irish Religious Houses... .50
Irish Cathedrals... .50
By I.B. STOUGHTON HOLBORN
The Need for Art in Life. (Third Thousand)... .75
"One of the greatest little books of the Age."—Boston Transcript.
Architectures of European Religions, Illustrated... 2.00
The interest of these books depend not merely upon the interesting personality of the famous lecturer and the equally fascinating personalities of his two brothers, but also on the exquisite literary style to which the critics have paid such eloquent testimony.
By JOHN COWPER POWYS AND LLEWELLYN POWYS
Confessions of Two Brothers... 1.50
By THEODORE FRANCIS POWYS
The Soliloquy of a Hermit... 1.00
This book can be compared to Amiel's Journal in the opinion of a prominent London publisher.
The essays contained in the following books deal with the best lecture subjects of our various members; they are specially recommended to those who wish to pursue further the study outlined in our lecture courses.
By I.B. STOUGHTON HOLBORN
The Need for Art in Life... 75
"The thoughtful man who reads it will feel that a new
classic has been added to the world's literature."—Boston Transcript.
By JOHN COWPER POWYS
Visions and Revisions, A Book of Literary Devotions... 2.00
"Seventeen essays remarkable for the omission of all that is tedious and cumbersome in literary appreciations."—Review of Reviews.
Suspended Judgments, Essays on Books and Sensations... 2.00
"Anything written by John Cowper Powys is arresting and thrilling. This is superlatively true of his essays in literary criticism."—Cincinnati Enquirer.
"A book of infinite delight to the book lover, for few present day writers have the ability in the same measure as Mr. Powys to express every shade of impression and sensation, and his ripe judgment will appeal to all."—Boston Globe.
One Hundred Best Books, with commentary and an essay on Books and Reading... 75
"Of each of the hundred books he gives a brief, sparkling, thoroughly informative and delightfully interesting critical view. If book reviewers could do the job as well as Mr. Powys, the book pages would be the most popular part of a newspaper."—Evening Telegram, Philadelphia.
Critics of literature seldom succeed as creative artists and so it is specially remarkable that the highest authorities give even more unqualified praise to the fiction of our members than to their essays. We need not emphasize further our lack of appreciation for the literary value of "best-sellers"; our aim has not been to produce topical tracts for the times but novels that will survive. It is more to us that competent critics should compare Mr. Powys' fiction to that of Hardy, Dostoievsky and Emily Bronte than that the public should buy it by the hundred thousand. Those who are not convinced that "you can place 'Wood and Stone' unhesitatingly at the side of Dostoievsky's masterpieces" should reflect that this is not the over-enthusiasm of "America's newest Publisher" but the verdict of a London publisher who has long held a pre-eminent position; it is therefore peculiarly satisfactory to point out that our first novel "Wood and Stone" was
|WILLIAM HEINEMANN||G. ARNOLD SHAW|
|IN LONDON||IN NEW YORK|
By IAN CAMPBELL HANNAH
Quaker-Born, A Romance of the Great War... 1.35
By I.B. STOUGHTON HOLBORN
The Child of the Moat, A story of 1557 for girls... 1.25
"Of such absorbing interest and literary merit that it will doubtless take its place among the classics."—Art and Archaeology.
By JOHN COWPER POWYS
Wood and Stone, A Romance reminiscent of the great Dostoievsky... 1.75
"One of the best novels of the year."—Evening Post, New York.
"His mastery of language, his knowledge of human impulses, his interpretation of the forces of nature and of the power of inanimate objects over human beings, all pronounce him a writer of no mean rank. He can express philosophy in terms of narrative without prostituting his art; he can suggest an answer without drawing a moral; with a clearer vision he could stand among the masters in literary achievement."—Boston Transcript.
"Psychologically speaking, it is one of the most remarkable pieces of fiction ever written."—Chicago Tribune.
Rodmoor, A Romance of the old Thrilling Romantic Order... 1.50
"It is so far above the average English and American fiction that one can well exempt it from the necessity of following the rules. He has intellect, he has taste, he has a sure instinct for what is aesthetically fine. These qualities in themselves make his 'Rodmoor' a novel of exceptional distinction."—Boston Transcript.
"Without exception the most exquisitely written novel of the year."—Atlantic Monthly.
By IAN CAMPBELL HANNAH, M.A., D.C.L., F.S.A.
Eastern Asia, A history... 2.50
Capitals of the Northlands, A Tale of ten cities... 2.00
The Heart of East Anglia (A History of Norwich)... 2.00
The Berwick and Lothian Coast... 2.00
By I.B. STOUGHTON HOLBORN
Children of Fancy... 2.00
"A Notable volume of Verse."—Boston Globe.
By JOHN COWPER POWYS
"We hesitate to say how many years it is necessary to go back in order to find their equals in sheer poetic originality."—Evening Post, New York.
By IAN CAMPBELL HANNAH
Arms and the Map... 1.25
By JOHN COWPER POWYS
The War and Culture... .60
"More weighty than many of the more pretentious treatises on the subject."—The Nation.
This work, which has had a large sale in England, will be invaluable when the terms of peace begin to be seriously discussed. Every European people is reviewed and the evolution of the different nationalities is carefully explained. Particular reference is made to the so-called "Irredentist" lands, whose people want to be under a different flag from that under which they live.
The colonizing methods of all the nations are dealt with, and especially the place in the sun that Germany hasn't got.
New York Times says: "Such a volume as this will undoubtedly be of value in presenting ... facts of great importance in a brief and interesting fashion."
Brooklyn Daily Eagle says: "It is hard to find a man who presents his arguments so broad-mindedly as Dr. Hannah. His spirit is that of a catholic scholar striving earnestly to find the truth and present it sympathetically."
Philadelphia North American says: "It is in no sense history, but rather a preparatory effort to mark broadly the outlines of any future peace settlement that would have even a fighting chance of permanency. Only in perusing a critical study of this character can the vast problems of post-bellum imminence be fully apprehended."
Philadelphia Press says: "His work is immensely readable and particularly interesting at this time and will throw much fresh light on the situation."
Eastern Asia, A History... $2.50
Capitals of the Northlands (A tale of ten cities)... 2.00
The Berwick and Lothian Coast (in the County Coast Series)... 2.00
The Heart of East Anglia (A History of Norwich)... 2.00
Some Irish Religious Houses (Reprinted from the Archæological Journal)... 50c
Irish Cathedrals (Reprinted from the Archæological Journal)... 50c
This volume of essays on Great Writers by the well-known lecturer was the first of a series of three books with the same purpose as the author's brilliant lectures; namely, to enable one to discriminate between the great and the mediocre in ancient and modern literature: the other two books being "One Hundred Best Books" and "Suspended Judgments."
Within a year of its publication, four editions of "Visions and Revisions" were printed—an extraordinary record considering that it was only the second book issued by a new publisher. The value of the book to the student and its interest for the general reader are guaranteed by the international fame of the author as an interpreter of great literature and by the enthusiastic reviews it received from the American Press.
Review of Reviews, New York: "Seventeen essays ... remarkable for the omission of all that is tedious and cumbersome in literary appreciations, such as pedantry, muckraking, theorizing, and, in particular, constructive criticism."
Book News Monthly, Philadelphia: "Not one line in the entire book that is not tense with thought and feeling. With all readers who crave mental stimulation ... 'Visions and Revisions' is sure of a great and enthusiastic appreciation."
The Nation and the Evening Post, New York: "Their imagery is bright, clear and frequently picturesque. The rhythm falls with a pleasing cadence on the ear."
Brooklyn Daily Eagle: "A volume of singularly acute and readable literary criticism."
Chicago Herald: "An essayist at once scholarly, human and charming is John Cowper Powys.... Almost every page carries some arresting thought, quaintly appealing phrase, or picture spelling passage."
Reedy's Mirror, St. Louis: "Powys keeps you wide awake in the reading because he's thinking and writing from the standpoint of life, not of theory or system. Powys has a system but it is hardly a system. It is a sort of surrender to the revelation each writer has to make."
Kansas City Star: "John Cowper Powys' essays are wonderfully illuminating.... Mr. Powys writes in at least a semblance of the Grand Style."
"Visions and Revisions" contains the following essays:—
|El Greco||Shelley||Edgar Allan Poe|
8vo. about 400 pages. Half cloth with blue Fabriano paper sides $2.00 net
The Book News Monthly said of "Visions and Revisions":
"Not one line in the entire book that is not tense with thought and feeling."
The author of "Visions and Revisions" says of this new book of essays:
"In 'Suspended Judgments' I have sought to express with more deliberation and in a less spasmodic manner than in 'Visions,' the various after-thoughts and reactions both intellectual and sensational which have been produced in me, in recent years, by the re-reading of my favorite writers. I have tried to capture what might be called the 'psychic residuum' of earlier fleeting impressions and I have tried to turn this emotional aftermath into a permanent contribution—at any rate for those of similar temperament—to the psychology of literary appreciation.
"To the purely critical essays in this volume I have added a certain number of others dealing with what, in popular parlance, are called 'general topics,' but what in reality are always—in the most extreme sense of that word—personal to the mind reacting from them. I have called the book 'Suspended Judgments' because while one lives, one grows, and while one grows, one waits and expects."
SUSPENDED JUDGMENTS CONTAINS THESE ESSAYS:
REMY DE GOURMONT
This list is designed to supply the need of persons who wish to acquire a general knowledge of such books in world-literature as are at once exciting and thrilling to the ordinary mind and written in the style of the masters. It recognizes the fact that modern people are most interested in modern books; but it recognizes also that such books, to be worthy of this interest, must uphold the classical tradition of manner and form.
|80 Pages||12mo.||75 Cents|
***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WOMEN AND WAR WORK***
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