Eggs wanted -The National Egg Collection

IN the February issue of Best of British the Editor asked for poultry memories when concluding an article about Karswood Poultry Spice.

While turning out some family heirlooms, I came upon a national publication for the week ending December 15 1917 with the title Eggs Wanted. On the front cover is a photograph of one Miss Lewis from Ilfracombe who had collected 514 eggs and £1 7s 2d over the preceding 12 months. This young lady was my mother at the age of 14.

There are those, I’m sure, who are confused about the reason why my mother should have been given such prominence for collecting eggs, but perusing the publication soon made it quite clear that throughout the country there were adults and
children collecting eggs for the troops wounded while serving on the front line.

Under the patronage of Queen Alexandra, and with an Executive Committee, the campaign had depots throughout the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands. These depots reported back with their successes and the number of eggs they’d been able to collect. For example the total collected nationwide when the magazine was published was 53,387. These eggs were distributed to hospitals in France and England, where wounded servicemen were being nursed.

In a letter, Prime Minister David Lloyd-George congratulated the organisation for the remarkable results to date – the despatch of 33,500,000 gift eggs despatched to
wounded soldiers and sailors.

Also in the magazine were letters of thanks from troops in France. It would appear that the person collecting the eggs often wrote her name and address on the shells, and this resulted in the exchange of letters. Who knows what friendships resulted from these?

As would be expected, a list of War Badge Awards is almost exclusively for ladies.

To encourage the production of eggs there are advertisements for poultry feeds extolling the virtues of the products to increase egg supply.

Peter L. Robins