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Evangeline Booth, National Commander, April The popularity that came to The Salvation Army as a result of its overseas work during World War I was greatly out of proportion to the quantity - though not to the quality - of its service. These were backed-up by members in the United States.
But the eyes of the nation were turned to France; the thoughts of the nation were with its men on the battlefields; and there millions of Americans learned of the spirit of the Salvation Army for the first time. Armed with a letter of recommendation from Joseph P.
Evangeline Booth Meanwhile, in the United States, preparations were underway to follow the boys overseas. Financial support for Salvation Army war work was slow at the beginning; but, as the Commander said, "It is only a question of our getting to work in France and the American public will see that we have all the money we want.
Commander Evangeline Booth was greatly surprised but, having confidence in Barker, she included some carefully selected women officers in the first group sent to France. The work of the "Sallies" justified Barker's wisdom in making the request.
Six men, three women, and a married couple formed the party of eleven, all from the Eastern Department. A second party of eleven, that sailed on September 13, was composed mainly of officers from the Western Department.
Each Salvation Army officer accepted for war service in France was carefully screened. It was determined at the beginning to restrict the number to be sent overseas and to keep the quality of the highest.
Not one hint of scandal was ever associated a Salvation Army lassie in France, although in nearly all cases the girls were subject to a constant adoration from thousands of homesick boys that might have turned their heads. The first party landed in France on August 22,and work on the first hut began on September 1st.
The first "hutment," as it was called, was a long sectional building, 40 by feet, with ten windows on each side. It had a staff of five men and six lassies, all of whom were musicians, who gave concerts and conducted song services in addition to operating the canteen.
The Salvationists conducted Bible classes, but their building was available to other denominations or fraternal orders. In it Jewish services were held, and on one occasion the Loyal Order of Moose conducted an initiation.
A clothes-mending service was provided by the girl officers. This first hut would multiply phenomenally by a factor of over the next fifteen months. The tiny group of Salvationists and co-workers would set up that number of huts, hostels and rest rooms, all as nearly like home as human ingenuity could make them, some right at the front lines.
It was the doughnut, however, that caught the doughboy's fancy. To learn how the doughnut we now know came to be, visit the Doughboy Center's feature article: The Official Story Although the doughnut became the symbol of The Salvation Army in France, pies and cakes were also baked by the lassies in crude ovens, and lemonade was served to hot and thirsty troops as well.
It was not only the delicious home cooking but also the spirit with which it was served that captivated the men.
The simple secret was that the Salvationists were serving not only the soldiers but God, and they brought to mind thoughts of home and of the people there. At The Salvation Army hut the men could not only bring their uniforms to be mended; they could also bring their problems to share.
As buttons were sewed on, a brief message of help was offered. Soldiers in France frequently had more money that opportunities to spend it. To discourage gambling and the purchase of wines and liquors, and to aid families in the United States, The Salvation Army officers encouraged the soldiers to take advantage of the Salvation Army's money-transfer system.
In those pre allotment days soldiers would give their money to a Salvation Army officer, who would enter the sum on a money order blank and send it to National Headquarters in New York. From there it went to the corps officers nearest the soldier's home, who would then deliver the money in person to the soldier's family or relatives.
Often cases of need were discovered through these visits, and other Salvation Army services might be made available to help those in distress.
The money-transfer plan also worked in reverse on occasions when friends sent money to soldiers overseas. One of the things that the American soldiers marveled at was the fact that the Salvation Army followed them right to the front.Automatic works cited and bibliography formatting for MLA, APA and Chicago/Turabian citation styles.
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