Local widow’s plight in World War 1

News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter
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Prices of foodstuffs and other household items had risen by around 20 per cent since the outbreak of war.

That was according to an official survey of the prices of commodities in the country.

It’s safe to assume that would have resulted in hardship for many, in particular an anonymous widow who wrote to these newspapers in 1915 about her plight.

The woman wrote: “May I call your attention to the position of widows and orphans. At the commencement of this war my husband enlisted, was examined by three Army doctors, who declared him to be in fit health to undergo the training fitting him to serve his country.

“He did eight months’ training, and was sent into hospital and operated upon for a supposed abscess on the back.

“He was then sent home, and discharged on account of health. I had a doctor to engage, who refused to give his advice until paid.

“My husband died a month after his discharge, and even over his death certificate I had difficulties. The doctor demanded 18s before giving it. Where would I have obtained 18s out of 12s 6d a week, which had been my allowance, never having received any for my child?

“But this I did not mind, as I was working, and so provided maintenance for my child. But can you expect my boy to have any love for Army or Country when he becomes a man, knowing how his mother has been treated?

“I have one child to support and I should like to know what would have become of us now, should I not have been able to go out into the world to gain a living for our maintenance.

“The only thing I can see is that after having tried to lead a respectable life, and given my husband to my country, the reward would be the workhouse.

“Can you wonder men hesitate to enlist?”