People in Spalding send food parcels to prisoners of war

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Hope of finding a Gosberton soldier alive was fading in 1915 when he had not been heard of for over a year.

Pte William Kennedy’s wife and other relatives had repeatedly contacted the War Office for information about him.

However, by the time his aunt, Mrs E Cooper, of Wyberton Marsh, tried to find out what had happened to him, the Home Office admitted that “in view of the lapse of time, it is feared that he can no longer be alive”.

There had been a possibility that William, a member of the 1st Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, would turn up as a prisoner of war, but that hope had been abandoned.

Many people at home were making regular subscriptions to the Spalding Prisoners of War Fund, yielding around 20 shillings a week.

That money had covered the cost of food and clothing sent to the prisoners up to then, but more Spalding men from the 1/4th Lincolnshire Regiment had been taken prisoner and so the weekly income would no longer be enough to keep up the weekly parcels of food and clothing to each man.

The report added: “In addition, as several Spalding men are reported missing of whom some are probably prisoners and will come upon the funds, there is a great additional reason for augmenting them”.

The committee secretary Sister Ellen and treasurer Mr W F Howard were asking for more subscribers, who would give their money to collectors weekly or monthly.

To indicate how precious these parcels were to the prisoners, the paper quoted from a postcard sent from a prisoner, Private Woods, of the 8th Lincoln Regiment, to his wife in Angel Yard, Spalding. In it he urged her to continue sending parcels each week and said: “Put plenty in it to eat, and will you... send me some more shirts and socks.”