~~Nine pairs of socks knitted to a WW1 design have been brought over 3,000 miles from Canada in response to an appeal by Fordingbridge Museum
Ann Burtt, who lives in the small settlement of North Gower, which is a 45 minute drive away from Ottawa, had heard from her sister Sandie Allison who lives in Cadnam, that the museum were asking people to knit socks to a WW1 pattern to mark the centenary of the end of the war next year.
Ann is part of a knitting group nicknamed “The Knifty Knitters” who meet each week in their local library to knit and socialise. She said, “We are very proud of the important part Canada played in WW1 so we all decided we wanted to be involved in the commemoration of the end of the war in Hampshire. My father, Charles Warner, had the job of requisitioning horses from the New Forest and taking them out to the front. He had a lucky escape when his duties kept him from joining a horse transport ship that was subsequently torpedoed and sunk with the loss of many lives.”
Canadian troops and sailors played a vital part in WW1 and suffered an estimated 60,000 dead and 250,000 wounded by the end of the war.
The British Prime Minister Lloyd George said: "The Canadians played a part of such distinction that thenceforward they were marked out as shock troops; for the remainder of the war they were brought along to head the assault in one great battle after another. Whenever the Germans found the Canadian Corps coming into the line they prepared for the worst."
Socks were important on the front line to keep soldiers feet dry and prevent trench foot which was a fungal infection that put a soldier out of action for some time. As in Britain, Canadian women worked hard rolling bandages, making up food parcels and knitting socks to support the war effort.
Museum Manager, Philippa Duckworth said,” It is wonderful to meet Ann in person after communicating with her by email for so long. This gift of socks establishes a bond between women who have knitted socks for us in this country and the Canadian knitters who have been working away in a small village near Ottawa. They like us will be remembering the sacrifices made by both countries during WW1, especially next year when the centenary of the end of the war will be commemorated.”