Back in the 1940's Local People worked on Bundles for Britain
By Lynne Dow
Hampton Union, Wednesday, February 8, 1978
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON -- Unknown possibly to many people in Hampton, a service group, Bunndles for Britain, actively supported British and U.S. servicemen during the early years of World War II.
Bundles for Britain was orignially a national organization registered with the U.S. Department of State. Locally, the group consisted of residents from Hampton and surrounding communities who met two or three times a week to make and put together packages for Britain.
One member of the World War II organization, D. Malcolm Hamilton, still remembers various workings of the group. He said that the group got its start after the war began in 1939. Bundles for Britain began here, according to Hamilton, in either 1940 or 1941, but ran only a few years before it became Bundles for America. The original group, Bundles for Britain, sent both food staples and clothing to citizens and servicemen in Britain. However, when the U.S. entered the war, the original group was phased out locally, and the area organization became Bundles for for America.
Hamilton said that members of the group would meet and put together packages to be sent to a central headquarters in New York. Articles such as scarves, hats, socks and mittens were knitted by women members of the group, and sent to the central headquarters to be assembled and shipped by boat to Britain. Hamilton said that the articles were meant to "help the people of Britain survive."
The motivating force of the Hampton group was Mrs. Aflred Rosser, according to Hamilton. Mrs. Rosser was president of the Hampton Bundles for Britain group, and said HIam;milton, devoted just about 100 percent of her time to its activities.
Although Hamilton wasn't quite sure of all the names of members in the group, he did remember that present chairman of the Hampton School Board, Mrs. Olga Casassa, was very active in the group and held the position of secretary. Maj. Charles Greenman of Hampton was treasurer of the group, and donated storage space for its use in his warehouse on High Street. Hamilton said that Greenman was "always willing to help with civic minded ventures such as this." He also said that his own involvement in the organization was because of his association with Greenman. Hamilton said that Mrs. Wiere Rowell was also very active in the group.
To get funds for the bundles, the group held events such as concerts, and sold pins and pendants. Hamilton said that concerts were held in Rye, on Little Boar's Head, and wasn't quite sure whether high school students or New Hampshire musicians played in the concerts; but remembered that they were "very successful, as lots of tickets were sold."
Pins and other items sold by the group were purchased from a central agency of the organization. Hamilton said that there were no frills to the group, and the money acquired was used for materials and supplies.
Hamilton said that the organization gave the people involved a "peace of mind." He remembers that the members of the group felt they had some responsibility is supporting the war efforts, and many of them were unable to help in any other way.
Still, whatever the members could do was worthwhile, said Hamilton, and he is quite sure that the bundles were appreciated. He also added that the group was well thought of at the time, and that anyone was welcome to join.
He also remembered that a trucking company no longer in existence also donated their services to help the group, and "just tried to help make things go."
Hamilton said that Bundles for Britain was not independent, and status reports had to be filed every month with a central office in New York. He said that the government was more involved with organizations like this back then, because of the wartime economy with shipping regulations amd restrictions. Still, he was sure that the packages did reach their destinations, although distribution of the bundles was done solely by the New York Center.
Although he is not quite sure, Hamilton suspects that the group did receive some type of recognition for its efforts.
[Post Script I: (The following was not in the original article)
The boys of the Junior High school, under the able direction of Principal Edward H. Hazen, are making toys for the British children's Christmas en masse, and the products that these boys of the higher grades of the Centre School are turning out are of exceptionally fine workmanship. All these things will go to bring added cheer to those across the sea, whose Christmas will not be any too bright. Many a small English child will be made glad by some little gift such as these, on Christmas day.]
OFFICERS:President: Mrs. Alfred Rosser
Vice-President: Mrs. Maurice Emery
Treasurer: Maj. Charles E. Greenman
Ass't Treasurer: D. Malcolm Hamilton
Secretary: Mrs. Herbert A. Casassa
Ass't Secretary: Miss Virginia Haselton
COMMITTEES:Press & Publicity: Mrs. Leroy Hamilton
Transportation: Mrs. Fred R. Batchelder
Hostess: Mrs. Geo. Roland Janvrin
Sewing: Mrs. Wiear L. Rowell, Mrs. Henry S. Fleming, & Mrs. Edward Norton
Knitting: Mrs. Lucy Hatch, Miss Brenda Atkins, & Mrs. Emma Young.]