100 years ago today: British Farmers’ Red Cross Fund

The British Farmers Red Cross Fund usually raised money through agricultural sales, with profits going towards various schemes – such as providing ambulances – and supporting hospitals. According to the Red Cross, the fund received a total of £1,024,808 19s 2d.

One such sale took place in Harleston on 16 May, 1917. The local committee divided the proceeds between the British Farmers’ Red Cross Fund (75%), the Suffolk County Fund (10%), Norfolk  County Fund (10%), and the Harleston Red Cross Hospital (5%). It was at least the second time the local committee had put on such a sale and raised in excess of £600 in subscriptions alone.

Farm produce, live and dead stock and ‘miscellaneous goods’ were put up for auction, too. Sows and hens could be drawn for, while guessing games provided an alternative diversion. ‘Gift’ cattle were auctioned to the value of £193.

One of these cows was ‘a gast heifer’ (not seasonably in calf) given by Mr A. T. Walne of Brockdish. It was bought by one Mr Whitmore for £22 15s. (Diss Express; 18 May 1917; Page 5)

Alfred Thomas Walne lived at The Grove in Brockdish. Five years after the sale he would leave for Australia in an attempt to make his fortune. Family legend has it that he died penniless, with nothing left but his gun, in 1957.

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