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Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association

National charity with local branches that provided financial relief to service men's families

The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Family Association was founded in 1885 and by 1914 had a national network of branches, largely formed during the Boer War. This meant that when war broke out, this charity was in the position to be able to distribute funds to the wives and families of service men at short notice.

During 1914, the charity disttributed £55,730 17s 6d in County Durham.

It was decided by the charity that it would not make an appeal of its own but that the Queen Alexandria and the Prince of Wales appeals would be pooled to provide the National Relief Fund, from which the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association would receive monies.

Woman could apply to the Association, often at established centres which would be advertised in the newspapers, such at the Victoria Hall, in Sunderland.

According to the 1914 report of the Association, J. Stanley Appleby of West Hartlepool was their Honorary County Secretary for County Durham.

The charity still operates today. In 1919 the name was changed to the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmens’ Families Association, in recognition of the role of the men who served in the Royal Naval Flying Service and the Royal Flying Corps, which were amalgamated into the Royal Air Force in 1918.

The website of the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmens’ Families Association:

SSAFA history page:

Founded: 1885

Civil Parish: West Hartlepool

Contributed by Durham County Record Office

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