- 1915-1919 / (Creation)
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The Aberystwyth Weekly Comforts for Fighters Fund was established in 1915 to provide comforts for Aberystwyth men serving overseas during the First World War. It was founded by Regimental Sergeant Major Thomas Richard Fear, previously of the Grenadier Guards, following a request by a local soldier on behalf of Aberystwyth men for cigarettes to be sent to them whilst posted abroad. He successfully managed the Fund from June 1915 onwards, sending comforts such as tobacco and cake to many local soldiers. Sergeant Major Fear was also involved in the Aberystwyth Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) to support those returning from war, and petitioned for the erection of a war memorial in the town.
The Comforts Fund was well-supported by local businesses and the people of Aberystwyth who regularly donated to the cause. Fund-raising activities, such as fêtes and concerts, were also organised. Initially, parcels were only sent to local soldiers on active service, but, as funds increased, the provision of comforts was extended to include the wounded. Parcels for smokers, containing quantities of tobacco or cigarettes, were packaged and dispatched by the London-based tobacco manufacturer and importer, Cohen, Weenen & Co., on behalf of the Fund. Cake and chocolates for non-smokers were purchased locally. A card or letter of comfort from Sergeant Major Fear was placed within each parcel and, on occasions, newspapers such as the Cambrian News were included. In some instances, comforts such as socks, mittens and even boxing gloves were also sent. Particular efforts were made at Christmas to send special parcels of Christmas cake, plum pudding, chocolate and cigarettes to all men known to the Fund.
Between twenty and fifty parcels were dispatched by the Fund every week. Soldiers were sent new parcels following the receipt of an acknowledgement by Sergeant Major Fear for the previous parcel. Many parcels were lost or severely delayed because of the difficulties involved in locating individuals, particularly those serving in the Navy. Sending parcels to soldiers posted overseas gradually came to an end following the Armistice in November 1918. Parcels were instead given to soldiers as tokens of appreciation and support on their return to Aberystwyth. The provision of comforts to some soldiers and Prisoners of War continued into 1919.
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Action: All records have been retained.
Action: digitized. Action identifier: cymruww1. Date: 2013. Authorization: The Welsh experience of World War One, 1914-1918.
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