Essex Regiment POW Fund


The Essex Regiment Prisoners of War Fund was formed at the end of 1914.

In 1918 it was renamed the Essex Regiment Repatriated Prisoner of War Fund.

The main driver was the secretary Mrs Stephenson.

One of the first acts was to organise 'fairy godmothers' for each man in captivity.

In the first year there were 50 godmothers, in 1916 there were 90, in 1917 there were 300 and by 1918 there were 1,618.

Every Essex Regiment Soldier who could be identified in a POW camp was sent a weekly parcel.

Each parcel contained:- a quarter pound of tea, half pound of sugar, tin condensed milk, quarter pound cocoa, 2 x 1 pound tins of meat, 1 pound syrup or jam, 1 pound tinned fish, quarter pound bacon, 1 pound cereals , 1 pound pudding , 3 ounces of soap, half pound dripping, 1 pound biscuits and sweets, dried fruit etc to make up the total weight of 13 pounds each week.

During the war 91,000 parcels had been sent via the fund and during 1918 they raised £27,000 with cost of operation rising to £1,000 per week.

Most of the fundraising was from personal donations and many small events like concerts and fetes held throughout Essex.

The secretary said that if the war had gone on for another year she didn't know what they would have done.

Mrs Stephenson was awarded the BEM for her services to the fund.

Other prominent workers in the fund were Retired General T E Stephenson, Miss Betty Dalton and Mr E B Knight.