As we enter this New Year of 2014 we have to look back at the events of last year and in particular, for Northumberland.
SSAFA Forces Help rebranded to SSAFA ‘The Military Charity giving lifelong support for our Forces and their families’, the RAF in April 2013 celebrated the fact that in 1919 they were added to the SSFA (Soldiers, Sailors Families Association) to SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) – then later in the year, we remembered Flodden Field Wars and finally Remembrance Sunday and now as we have entered 2014, we begin to remember those who died during the First World War.
SSAFA was one of only a handful of charities to have provided care and support to our troops and their families during that terrible conflict.
Back then, SSAFA had a team of volunteers working throughout Northumberland – in Berwick, Alnwick, Morpeth, Ashington, Blyth and Hexham areas, there to care for the wives and children of those sent to the front. We were there to deal with the consequences when the men did not return.
It has to be remembered that in August 1914, the war was of a magnitude hitherto undreamed of, which was to involve millions of men and thousands of women.
At the same time, SSFA’s local branches were suddenly denuded of some of their best office bearers – reserve officers recalled to the colours. Those volunteers who remained had no experience to guide them in the complex work that suddenly faced them.
SSAFA is seeking to discover more about the people we supported to help us mark our contribution to the nation’s war effort. If you have memorabilia, a diary, a family connection or know of someone who did, or received help from SSAFA then our team in London would love to hear from you.
If you would like to participate in our quest for your family history during the First World War then please get in touch with Mike Ivatt at Micheal Ivatt@ssafa.org.uk
Major (ret) Brian Finlayson,