PIONEER OF THE KHAKI GIRLS
Sunday, 15 May 2011
Emily Lord Part 1
I was contacted a while back by Martin Waller
PIONEER OF THE KHAKI GIRLS
An appeal throughout England for English girls to go to France and perform work on behalf of the military authorities, such as cooking, so as to relieve able-bodied men for other duties, such as service in the ranks. The first batch of such girls, known as the Pioneers of the Khaki Girls, crossed the English Channel and arrived in France. They numbered 12 strong, and the Borough of Hyde has the honour of having furnished one of the 12…. Namely, Miss Emily Lord, the younger daughter of Mr and Mrs J. W. Lord, of the Flowery Field Hotel. Miss Lord, an esteemed and most estimable young lady, has been wearing khaki nearly two years. She joined the Women’s Legion so long ago a Nov. 1915, being one of the first to join. She was sent to a military centre at Grantham, to act as cook. She now holds the rank of Sergeant in what is known as the Expeditionary Force Canteens. Last Saturday morning she arrived home on a fortnights leave, not having been home since last Christmas, so she is certainly doing what she can to help win the war. On Tuesday, Miss Lord very kindly and courteously gave a representative of the “Herald” a few particulars of the work she and others English girls have been doing in France. Since arriving last March, she has been cooking and waiting and waiting on a British officers club at Boulogne. Sometimes when soldiers come down the line they have nothing to eat for a couple of days or more. They are provided with food, and have a wash before coming over to England. Frequently many of them go, or are taken, down to Boulogne after “Going over the top” and taking part in hard fighting, and are most grateful for the kind attention they receive. In Miss Lord’s unit there are 46 girls in France, all of whom previously acted as cooks in military camps in England. Miss Lord told our representative that for the first two months after arriving in France she was – REGULARLY WORKING 19 HOURS A DAY- and she herself had worked 48 hours off the reel. It was extremely trying, and after a few weeks there were only 3 girls on duty, all the others being in hospital. Since then the conditions have improved by the arrival of fresh drafts of girls from England, and the work is now generally done in relays; - three relays each day, night included of course. The girls if not on night duty, sleep at a beautiful hostel about 15 minutes walk from the officers club. The hostel has been provided with furniture and various articles made by the girls themselves assisted by some of the soldier boys, and it is now very cosy. Contributions are made by the girls every week to buy cakes for socials and parties. These events afford a most pleasurable relief from what at times are still very arduous duties. Every week the girls entertain at the hostel about 12 of the “blue boys” those who are convalescent from wounds or sickness. They have a gramophone, and soon a piano is expected. When the girls went last March the officers club was in a very neglected condition, but it is now clean and comfortable. In the present club about fifty officers can be attended to, but next month another club is to be opened, which will provide accommodation for 250. There are now large numbers of English girls in France, cooking and performing other useful work for the benefit of British soldiers. Some are acting as clerks. Though very tiring at times, Miss Lord likes the work, feeling that she is doing her duty to good old England. On many occasions she as only had a ‘Army Biscuit’ to eat before starting her shift. Miss Lord speaks very highly of the conduct of British soldiers in France.
A new club has been opened at Poperinghe, in Belgium, only 6 miles west-south-west of Ypres, and within a few miles of resent terrific fighting: and Miss Lord thinks she may be going there when she returns on November 3rd. Up to joining the Women’s Legion she was a teacher at Hyde St. Georges Sunday School.