Old news from Armidale and New England

Local news from newspaper archives

Uralla’s fine recruit record

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Saturday 17 February 1917, The Sydney Morning Herald

There is, in all New England, no district which can show a better record of voluntary military service than that of Uralla. Had every centre of population supplied fighting men in the same proportion as Uralla the conscription issue would never have been raised. Uralla itself has a population of about a thousand, and the district, though long settled, is not thickly populated, the land being devoted mainly to sheep raising, and in a lesser degree to agriculture and fruitgrowing. The district has contributed no fewer than 280 men to the forces abroad — a very large percentage of its available fit men. This has been done, too, without the usual series of recruiting campaigns. In fact, only one official recruiting meeting has been held in the town.

The plan followed was to make an appeal to the young fit men at valedictory functions and welcomes-home to soldiers. These occasions, it was found, gave free play to the sentimental side of the appeal, and, again, soldiers welcomed home impressed many a young man with the stern necessity of reinforcements. In small centres, such as Uralla, farewells to departing recruits become almost family affairs. The sense of personal concern no doubt had its effect on the young men. Every district recruit is given a send off and parcel of soldier comforts before sailing. A week-night service of intercession is held ion the parish church every Wednesday, when the name of each soldier Is called. Of the 280 soldiers from Uralla 23 have given their lives; at least one is a prisoner of war, and about a dozen have returned invalided. As regards monetary contributions, £1020 has been collected for the War Service Fund, and it is the intention of the committee to invest £500 In the War Loan. For Australia Day Fund £693 was collected, and £547 for the Belgian Fund. Then £181 has been given to the Soldiers’ Comforts League, the money being devoted to the provision of comforts for the boys in the trenches, and for presentations to recruits and returning soldiers. Money is also provided for the purchase of wool and other material for local ladles to convert into socks and articles of clothing for the soldiers. Sewing and knitting classes are held weekly, and the work of the ladles generally has been characterised by great enthusiasm.

Written by macalba

April 18, 2010 at 8:05 pm

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