Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

The Overseas Club and Empire Day

Children contributed to the war effort in a number of ways. They collected eggs for wounded soldiers and sailors, sent parcels to servicemen, and wrote letters to soldiers. They also contributed money to fundraising appeals to send parcels to servicemen at the front. 

Leaflet from the Overseas Club appealing to children to bring a penny to school to pay for Christmas parcels for soldiers and sailors at the front
Overseas Club Christmas Appeal Leaflet

The girls at Bridlington Girls’ High School organised a Christmas tea party in 1915 for 100 younger children whose fathers were away fighting at the front. The girls also made gifts such as shirts, bed-jackets, socks, slippers and plum puddings which they sent to hospitals and to servicemen. 

Empire Day certificate presented to Lottie Wilson by the Overseas Club to certify that she has helped to provide comfort to soldiers and sailors at the front
Empire Day Certificate 1915

In 1914 a charity called the Overseas Club started an appeal to schoolchildren to raise money to send Christmas presents to soldiers and sailors serving overseas.  

Children were each asked to bring a minimum of one penny, roughly 50p in today’s money, to school for their teachers to collect.

The money was used to buy cigarettes, tobacco, socks and chocolate to send to those on the front line.  

Message from Queen Alexandra in support of the Overseas Club Christmas penny appeal, 1915
Message from Queen Alexandra 1915

A similar appeal on Empire Day in May 1915 raised over three million pennies, and the Christmas appeal was repeated in 1915. The Overseas Club sent certificates to thank children who raised a certain amount of money.