Free Church Women and the War - Excerpt from Some Chaplains in Khaki


What is this excerpt about?

Reverend Spurr praises women’s contribution to the cause of the First World War but only in terms of them knitting helmets and other clothing and providing bought clothing, puddings, cigarettes, and money to the men at the front. Women who visit wards of injured men are cheered on too, as these letters of appreciation show. But although the author includes a letter from an English woman working for the French Red Cross Society, he does not mention British women’s greater contribution as military hospital staff in the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD). This is an odd omission as the Government was successful in recruiting 38,000 VADs during the war. 

Who wrote this book?

Reverend Frederic Chambers Spurr was based in the Regent’s Park Chapel and later became President of the National Free Church Council. Sharing similar religious sentiments to the Reverend J R Rendell, he lobbied the London County Council to ban the playing of games in public parks on Sundays. This book was published by the Primitive Methodist Publishing House, which had by then been operating for almost 100 years in London.

Full title:
‘Free Church women and the war’ an excerpt from Some chaplains in khaki: an account of the work of chaplains of the United Navy and Army Board
Joseph Johnson
Book / Letter
Frederick Chambers Spurr
Held by:
British Library

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Professor Susan R Grayzel studies the range of roles women carried out in World War One within domestic labour, waged industrial labour, and military nursing and doctoring.

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