WW1 6: flag days
These tiny cardboard flags (about 2 to 3cm long) were presented to people who donated money to charities at special Flag Days during World War 1.
The charity flags shown here are:
- The Belgian Refugees Relief Fund
- King Albert’s Army (to raise money for Belgian soldiers)
- The Salvation Army Ambulance Unit (which operated ambulances on the Western Front)
- Dr Barnardo’s Homes (for orphaned children)
- A charity for soldiers’ children
Flag days were an exciting new way of raising money and the idea spread like wildfire. Very soon there were flag days being organised in towns and cities across the UK, including Folkestone.
Volunteers stood in the street with collecting tins, asking passers-by for a donation. In return, each donor was given a flag to pin to their lapel.
Many people kept the flags as souvenirs and some pinned or glued them into scrap books.
On the back of the Salvation Army flag is a picture of a ‘Soldiers’ Rest’ hut, where soldiers could get hot food and a drink. Egg and chips was a favourite of the British soldier, the Australians loved pies and the Americans doughnuts!
Flag pins were very sharp. You had to be careful not to prick yourself!
Over 18,000 new charities were started in World War 1, many of which survive today.