Local history repeats itself as parcels sent off to troops

Soldiers arrive at Cusworth Hall Museum in Doncaster to collect comfort packs from Sandringham Primary School pupils, for soldiers in the Middle East.
Soldiers arrive at Cusworth Hall Museum in Doncaster to collect comfort packs from Sandringham Primary School pupils, for soldiers in the Middle East.
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It was a spirit of comradeship that had united Doncaster a century ago, and yesterday, history repeated itself.

Some 300 “comfort parcels”, prepared by children from Sandringham Primary School, were loaded on to an army vehicle at Cusworth Hall Museum to begin their journey to troops in the Middle East, in time for Christmas. The recipients will be the men and women of the Rifles Regiment, successors to the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, to which many of Doncaster’s men had gravitated during the First World War.

Then, soldiers on the Western Front were the beneficiaries of mittens and socks knitted for them back home. Today, it is shower gel, board games, sweets and crisps that have filled the decorated cardboard boxes.

Sam Armstrong, a community officer with the Doncaster 1914-18 project, said: “I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved. It’s going to be weird to see all of it finally go on its way.”

The parcels have been created as part of a four-year project in the town to mark the centenary of the war. The originals were sent by the thousand and were accompanied by a fundraising drive that saw Doncaster’s mayor declare it “a million pound town”.