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Caring on the Home Front - Volunteer memories from World War Two


Stories » Fundraising » Children throughout the UK

Children throughout the UK


Junior-sized collectors

A garden concert to raise money for the JWOChildren throughout the country grew up quickly during Second World War. War affected home life, the school calendar, and playtime. Many children became involved in the War effort and often joined their parents in fundraising for St. John Ambulance and the British Red Cross. Here are just a few stories of the children’s war effort.

What did you do?

Rosemary Frost

Rosemary Fost in British Red Cross uniform as a girlI used to go round when it was collections, dressed up as a little Red Cross girl.
One neighbour had made it for us.

[I’d carry the box] until it got too heavy and then my mother would.
You’d go to somebody’s door. I just stood there.
And they’d say, ‘Oh yes, I’m only too pleased to give to the Red Cross because my son, or my husband, or my cousin has just been taken a Prisoner of War. And if this will help to get them back or to give them some comfort, oh yes.’

Recent photo of Rosemary FostPeople were very, very friendly.

Any special memories?

Helen Anderson BBC People’s War:

Young child in British Red Cross uniformWhen I was 10 and 11 years old I organised the neighbourhood children to band together and create concerts.
We performed for our parents and neighbours in the back garden of Mr. and Mrs Vincent. A collection was taken at the end of the performances.

At age 12, a princely sum of eight shillings was raised from a concert and raffle. This was donated to the War Charities Fund housed at 6, Tombland, Norwich, for the Red Cross and St John Ambulance Brigade.

Any special memories?

John Smith:
John Smith raising money with his Cadet bugle bandThey used to have war weapons weeks, when they’d get all the organisations in the town together. All the different groups: Army cadets, St. John cadets, scouts. And they’d march through [with] carnival floats. And at the end, the object was to raise money.
As you walked through the town there’d be people walking around with buckets to collect money. And when you got to the other end of the town, the mayor would say, ‘Well done, all of you. We’ve got another £300 towards a spitfire!’

Listen to Rosemary

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Facts

Some children sold prized possessions or items they had made themselves to raise money for the Joint War Organisation. Others sold flowers and vegetables grown at home or at school, or gave their earnings from picking blackberries, mushrooms and rose hips. Other children cleaned cars and bicycles, mowed lawns, collected firewood and did odd jobs to raise money.




Facts

The Churches, Schools and Books Appeal set up a special committee for colleges, schools and youth organisations in 1940. Through this committee, children gave concerts and plays and organised fetes and other outdoor entertainments.




Facts

Children also gave gifts in kind to the Joint War Organisation, such as treasure bags for wounded soldiers and POWs who had returned home. These were filled with useful items such as soap, razor blades, stationery, playing cards and even chocolate, bought out of pocket money or from earnings.