Sheepskins for the soldiers

5th Division men wearing sheepskin jackets and woollen gloves, Australian War Memorial E00019

5th Division men wearing sheepskin jackets and woollen gloves, Australian War Memorial E00019

On this day in 1915, The Queenslander published an article calling for donations of sheep skins for the troops. Sheep skins vests had proved a great success with Australian soldiers in Europe, particularly through the cold months of the previous winter. The vests were described as 'a sleeveless coat made high at the back and cut long enough to cover the vital organs of the body.... manufactured from green pelts, with from about ½ to ¾ inches of wool. The wool side is turned in, the leather side out, and the whole is fastened down the front with leather straps and buckles'.

2626 Pte Reginald Crowley, 56th Battalion, Australian War Memorial P06934.004

2626 Pte Reginald Crowley, 56th Battalion, Australian War Memorial P06934.004

Thousands of these vests had already sent by the Red Cross Society's factory in New South Wales, and the article advocated to establish a similar factory in Queensland. The Red Cross Society in Brisbane was seriously considering the possibility of setting up its own premise, however success would inevitably depend on the response to the its appeal for skins.

Members of the Australian Electrical and Mechanical Mining and Boring Company, Australian War Memorial J00231

Members of the Australian Electrical and Mechanical Mining and Boring Company, Australian War Memorial J00231

The article expressed the Society's earnest hope that Queensland graziers and pastoralists would get behind the initiative and support the manufacture of sheep skin vests by sending plenty of skins to the city. The secretary of the Red Cross Society in Brisbane was open to receive any donations.

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/22298078

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/22298078

Robyn Hamilton - QANZAC100 Content Curator

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