The Wartime Memories Project

- Civilian Service and Voluntary Organisations during the Great War -

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National Committee for Relief in Belgium

26th Apr 1916   "A year ago the National Committee for Relief in Begium was formed and issued its first appeal to the British Empire. The total of donations received from April 27th 1915 to April 26th 1916, amounted to 1,637,714 2s 3d. The only expenses deducted from this amount are 27 3s 1d. These are Bank charges on out-of-town cheques. 1,600,00 has already been paid to the neutral Commission and has been or is being expended in food for the destitute Belgians in that part of Belgium occupied by Germany.

The Exceutive Council have adpoted the method of transferring to the Commission by means of cheques for 100,00. These cheques having been handed in about every three weeks, the Committee's income having averaged over 31,000 per week throughout the year.

Of the total received to April 26th, only 415,511 was received from the United Kingdom, the balence being subscribed by the British Dominions and Colonies overseas. The Government and people of New South Wales, Australia, have alone contributed 419,469 and are continuing to contribute over 30,000 every month. The largest amounts recived from the Counties during the year are 92,317 from the County of London, including the City of London; 59,731 from the West Riding of Yorkshire....

The Executive Committee are glad to be able to report that during the year not one case of illegal or irregular collecting has been reported to the fund. Thus unusual immunity from an abuse suffered by almost all charitable organisations is attributed to a rigourous adherence to the system of authorising no public collections unless they are conducted or approved by the Lord Lieutenant of the County, or by the Lord Mayor, Mayor or Chairman of Urban or Rural District Councils. The self-imposed restrictions involved by this method of collection has probably prevented the Fund from reaching larger proportions, buy the Executive venture to thing that their policy is justified by the elimination of irregularities and by the creation of a sense of local responsibility.

For the purpose of assisting the efforts throughout the Empire, the Exectutive have distributed over four and half million pamphlets and leaflets; nearly a million Belgian Flags, 185,000 posters; 200,00 medialions of King Albert, besides thousands of collecting books and cards.... Special collectiosn were organised throughout the Emopire for King Albert's Fete Day on November, 15th with an impressive service at St Paul's Cathedral. Small subscription envelopes were placed on 1,700,000 British dinner tables last Christmas Day and were not returned empty. Public meetings have been held throughout the country .... The hands at hundreds of factories have been addressed and practically every minister of religion has been asked to make a collection on behalf of the Fund, while a large number of Flag Days have been arranged in towns and villages....

In closing this report it must be pointed out that although the need in Belgium is greater than ever the income of our Committee is decreasing. At the risk of seeing ungrateful your Exceutive must urge those who have already worked so well, to work even harder. There is overwhelming evidence to prove that of the benevolence of the British Empire slackens, the suffering of the three million who are destitute and oppressed in Belgium will be tragically intensified. Your Exectutive Council earnestly trust that strenuous efforts will be made to avert this misery."

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Those known to have served with  National Committee for Relief in Belgium  during the Great War 1914-1918.

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  • The Wartime Memories Project is the original WW1 and WW2 commemoration website

    This website has been running for 18 years and receives in excess of a million hits per month. The website and our group will continue long after the 2014-18 events are over. We hope that people will continue to support us by submitting material and stories in addition to submitting to the new websites set up for the anniversary.

  • We are looking for volunteers to help with researching the activities of units of the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Territorial Force, Regular Army, Pals Battalions, Kitchener's New Armies, Voluntary Organisations and the Ships of the Royal Navy. We currently have a huge backlog of stories and historical documents which need to be edited or transcribed for display online, if you have a good standard of written English, an interest in the two World Wars and a little time to spare online we would appreciate your help. For more information please see our page on Volunteering.

Wanted: Digital copies of Group photographs, Scrapbooks, Autograph books, photo albums, newspaper clippings, letters, postcards and ephemera relating to the Great War. If you have any unwanted photographs, documents or items from the First or Second World War, please do not destroy them. The Wartime Memories Project will give them a good home and ensure that they are used for educational purposes. Please get in touch for the postal address, do not sent them to our PO Box as packages are not accepted.

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Dec 2017

    Please note we currently have a backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 237716 your submission is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.

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