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From The Great War 1914-1918

Gribble: The name given by men in certain battalions of the New Army at the Front from Northamptonshire, to the periodical consignments of "comforts," warm gloves, mufflers, chocolate, English cigarettes, etc., provided through the efforts of Mr. Gribble, of Northampton, who maintained a fund for the purpose. In London and elsewhere, all over the country, there were similar organisations, mostly in the form of local committees, who collected subscriptions and held working parties for sending out useful gifts to the men of battalions they were interested in.

The Guards’ Comforts Fund, an organisation of the wives of officers and men for supplying wool mittens and socks, newspapers, tobacco, cigarettes, gramophones, etc., may be taken as a typical organisation. Early in the War also, blankets in hundreds were sent to recruiting depôts, on it becoming known that the authorities had not enough to go round, the senders often enclosing money with the blankets for "The man who is to sleep in this blanket."

In like manner, to supply the shortage of sandbags at the Front at the end of 1914, working parties of ladies all over the kingdom turned out hundreds of thousands of them. Among other London Ladies’ Association there was one for making up waistcoats out of long kid gloves, bought or begged from friends, and cut open and pressed, the waistcoats being intended to be worn under the soldier’s tunic. Other lady workers also made up and despatched wholesale to military hospitals small lavender bags. Kind messages were often enclosed with gifts – in one case at least not very graciously welcomed. A soldier did a lengthy march in a new pair of socks sent by an anonymous benefactress. Pain set up in one foot and almost crippled him. When at last he got the socks off, after examining the huge blister that had developed, he turned the socks inside out. He then found that his agony had been caused by a hard lump in the toe of one sock. It proved to be a tight wad of paper, on which loving fingers had inscribed, "God bless the wearer of these socks."[1]

References / notes

  1. Edward Fraser and John Gibbons (1925). Soldier and Sailor Words and Phrases. Routledge, London p.110-111.

Glossary of words and phrases

The above term is listed in our glossary of words and phrases of the Armed Forces of Great Britain during the Great War. Included are trench slang, service terms, expressions in everyday use, nicknames, the titles and origins of British and Commonwealth Regiments, and warfare in general. These words and phrases are contemporary to the war, which is reflected in the language used. They have been transcribed from three primary sources (see Contents). Feel free to expand upon and improve this content.
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