[Small archive] First World War Relief from Mrs A. M. Driberg to Allied Prisoners of War: Food Parcels to PoW

[Amy Driberg, mother of Tom Driberg; Food Parcels]
Publication details: 
SKU: 12506

A collection including an autograph notebook, photographs, receipts, circulars, received by Mrs Amy Mary Irving Driberg (d.1939) [née Bell], of Uckfield Lodge, Crowborough, wife of J.J.S. Driberg, and mother of Labour politician Tom Driberg (Baron Bradwell) (1905-76), in connection with her efforts on behalf of allied prisoners of war. An interesting and informative collection, casting light on a generally-overlooked aspect of the Great War. In good overall condition, on lightly-aged paper.ONE. Notebook in the autograph of Mrs A. M. Driberg, Uckfield Lodge, Crowborough, Sussex.80pp., 12mo. Stitched, in original black cloth covers. Filled with lists of batches of items posted by Mrs Driberg to various allied prisoners of war between June 1915 and February 1916. Names include ‘Private Wilson’, ‘Leon Beldé’, ‘Private Timothy O’Brien’, ‘Rifleman Jones’ and ‘J. Richardson’. The first entry is representative: ‘Parcel to Jones | Contents | 2 cakes chocolate | 1 E. Rock | 1 Shortbread | 1 Soap | ¼ lb. baccy [sic] | 1 pipe | 1 water brush | 1 writing case | 1 socks | 1 shirt | 1 Handks. | Postage 1/7 | Posted 11/6/15’. Mrs Driberg was presumably responding to requests from prisoners, and items include strawberry jam, shortbread, ginger nuts, lime juice drops, bivouac cocoa, sardines, beef cakes, cigarettes, sausages, spiced beeef, mint ovals, ‘tropical chocs’, and towel and washing glove. An early note reads: ‘Prisoners of War | Private G. Wilson 9143 1st. South Stafford Regt. Kriegs-gefangenen-Lager I. Munster | Camp III Westphalia – Germany | c/o General Post Office | Mount Pleasant | London E.C. | above name I recd. from Mrs. MacIntosh & she said to mention as received from Mrs. Lowry – Honiton’. Also containing a couple of scraps of paper with prisoners’ details, and four newspaper cuttings, including ‘War Relief. Some Leading Organisations’; ‘Bread for War Prisoners’ and ‘What our prisoners want: to the editor of the Daily Mail’.TWO. Photographs from prisoners of war in GermanyThree photographs:ONE. Black and white photograph showing around 40 French soldiers in uniform, taken outdoors, and dated on reverse 1 May 1916 and addressed to ‘Belde Leon | 6o Bt Infantry Belge | 5o Bon Munster | Westphalia | Camp III | Germany’, with long message in English addressed to ‘Dear Friends’.TWO. Faded black and white postcard photograph of twelve English soldiers outside a barracks, in uniform, five seated and seven standing. Addressed on reverse to ‘Mrs A. Driberg | Uckfield Lodge | Crowborough | Sussex | England’, from ‘10698 Pte Timothy O’Brien | Royal Welch [sic] Fusers [sic] | Gefangenen Lager, | Altdamm | Germany | 35225’THREE. Black and white photograph of moustachioed man in uniform, signed ‘Yours Sincerely | T. O’Brien’. Addressed to Mrs Driberg as last item, and dated 8 July 1917, with German postmark.FOUR. A. Central Prisoners of War Committee, 4 Thurloe Place, London, SW7Seven items. Three dating from 1917 and four from 1918; totalling 4pp., 4to; and 3pp., 12mo.ONE: Circular (1p., 12mo) from E. Heath-Jones, asking for an increased subscription.TWO: Circular (1p., 4to), printed in black and red, with a long list of articles which may be sent, from ‘Pipes’ and ‘Insecticide Powder’ to ‘Health Salts’ and ‘One Muffler every quarter’.THREE: Mimeographed letter (1p., 4to), dated 20 November [1917], referring Mrs Driberg to the Regimental Committee.FOUR: Typed Letter, dated 27 February 1918, with cyclostyled signature of E. Heath-Jones, acknowledging Mrs Driberg’s ‘subscription of £1. 12.0. for four parcels to be sent to Pte. T. O’Brien 10698, 1st Royal Welsh Fusiliers’, and stating ‘that there is another subscriber who is paying for three parcels every four weeks for Pte. O’Brien, and, as six parcels is the maximum which can be sent, we cannot send more than three in your name every four weeks.FIVE: Printed circular dated 21 May 1918, with manuscript ‘Special Notes’ addressed to Mrs Driberg, ‘concerning Private T. O’Brien’.SIX. Printed ‘Receipt for remittance to Prisoners of War’ (1p., landscape 12mo, on yellow paper), 29 June 1918. From Mrs Driberg to Private T. O’Brien, 10698, 1st Batallion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers.SEVEN. Circular (1p., 12mo), 1 July 1918, from E. Heath-Williams to Mrs Driberg, as ONE.B. Royal Welch Fusiliers’ Prisoners of War Association, Assembly Rooms, High Street, Wrexham. (Royal Welch Fusiliers = Robert Graves's regiment, "Goodbye to All That".)Thirteen items.ONE: Typed Letter (1p., 4to), 27 November 1916, from Secretary Violet M. Bury to Mrs Driberg, informing her that ‘10698 Pte. T. O’Brien is on our books and we shall be very pleased to send weekly parcels in your name’. Written across the letter, in Mrs Driberg’s hand, is an account of the payments made by her. Damage at head and foot, affecting the text.TWO: Autograph letter Signed (2pp., 4to), 10 April 1917, from Hon. Secretary Dorothy Mowat to Mrs Driberg, She is ‘returning O’Brien’s card – judging from the list of things he mentions evidently some have been taken out. – The men tell us they are getting their parcels safely now after the hold up of Dec: & January – it was entirely due to the disorganisation of the German railways – several men have said that they got 5 or 6 parcels at once after waiting for weeks & one actually had 12 on one day!’.THREE: Printed circular (1p., 12mo), discussing the work of the organisation: ‘[...] We buy largely and well. The entire work at the Depôt is carried on under the most economical conditions. The packing is done by a band of voluntary workers, all of them expert packers.’ Manuscript footnote: ‘This was printed last July but seems to apply now only that we must send 3 a fortnight.’FOUR: Undated circular (1p., 12mo), listing ‘Sample Parcels, 6/- Each’, in two columns, column A beginning with ‘2lbs. Currant Bread’, and column B beginning with ‘2lbs. Biscuits’.FIVE to THIRTEEN. Nine receipts. All from 1917, and recording donations from Mrs Driberg totalling £11 16s 0d. Signed by or for the Honorary Treasurer G. B. Leonard.C. British Red Cross & Order of St John of Jerusalem in England, Central Prisoners of War CommitteeThree receipts, all from 1918, and recording donations from Mrs Driberg totalling £4 11s 0d. Each with a different cyclostyled signature.D. Relief for Belgian Prisoners in Germany, 4 London Wall Avenue, London.Typed Letter Signed (1p., 4to), 22 May 1916, from Hon. Secertary J. Navaux to Mrs Driberg. They are’sure Leon Belde will be very grateful for the parcels you intend sending him from time to time’.E. Miscellaneous itemAutograph Letter Signed from Edith Jervis to ‘Dear Madam’. 1p., 12mo. Undated. Prisoners War Fund, South Staffordshire Regiment, 86 Fellows Road, Hampstead. Requesting an exchange of postcards send in error.