The Hooton Pagnell, Frickley and Moorthorpe War Working Party and the Elmsall and Moothorpe War Working Party were founded by Julia Warde-Aldam after the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. This organisation consisted of local women who all shared a desire to contribute to the war effort.
The purpose of The War Working Party was to make, collect and send out items of necessity and comfort to local soldiers. These items varied from essentials such as socks, scarves and shirts, to objects of comfort and luxury such as slippers and cigarettes. Parcels full of these garments were delivered to soldiers and regiments across Europe and even to those recovering in the Hooton Pagnell Auxiliary Hospital which had been set up in Mrs Warde-Aldam’s home.
In order to fund the project, various and innovative forms of fundraising took place. When the Working Party was first set up, the main form of fundraising was through financial donations and material gifts of reels of cotton and wool. Many of these donations came from Mrs Warde-Aldam herself however several members of the community and local businesses. In later years, proceeds from choir concerts, collection boxes and stalls at garden fetes became a common and effective way to raise money. It was also common for groups who played the popular card game ‘whist drive’ to donate the prize money to the party. Mrs Warde-Aldam was known to even use fines taken from fruit thieves to put towards the funds of the Hooton Pagnell organisation!
A Children’s Sale in July 1918 raised funds for the Hooton Pagnell party. The sale consisted of stalls including cakes, competitions and a performance of Cinderella by the children. Bead necklaces and other handicrafts made by the patients of the hospital were also sold to raise funds and the total raised was £41.15.1. During the four years and four months that the Elmsall and Moothorpe organisation was in operation, £259.6.5 was raised and 3326 items were donated. The efforts of Mrs Warde-Aldam and her ladies at the War Working Party reveal just a fraction of the patriotic devotion displayed by men and women up and down the country during the war years.
Written by Claire Groves, Doncaster 1914-18 Research Volunteer