December

1917: Christmas Comforts

Circular sent to Scottish Widows’ branch managers, 4 December 1917.

Circular sent to Scottish Widows’ branch managers, 4 December 1917.

This rather poignant circular was sent to Scottish Widows’ branch managers in December 1917.  By then the war that was supposed to have been ‘over by Christmas’, had been raging for more than three years.  Three-quarters of Widows’ staff of military age were engaged on active service at this point, many serving abroad.   Among them were Harry Young and Robert Logan.

As a gesture of support, Head Office proposed that a small Christmas gift be sent to these absent colleagues – to consist of ‘woollen comforts’ and cigarettes ‘if these can be obtained’.  No doubt they would have been warmly welcomed – particularly the tobacco.  Supplies had become increasingly difficult to come by as the war dragged on.  There were reports of some soldiers smoking their tea rations.

More than a hundred Scottish Widows’ men served during the war.  Twenty-three did not return.

You can find out more about the impact of the First World War on Scottish Widows and the other constituents of Lloyds Banking Group in our online exhibition.

Or return to This Month in History to see more featured events from the Group’s history.