The appalling carnage of World War I is often given in statistics; these Red Cross patterns and instructions for volunteers — making hospital gowns, bandages and wound dressings, surgical masks and gowns, etc. — also remind us (and those Red Cross volunteers) of the suffering it caused.
Operating room gear — like surgical gowns and sterile shoe covers — could be made using regulation Red Cross patterns. Pajamas for patients were also in demand. The “taped” pajama below opens so the injured soldier need not be moved for his wounds to be inspected and dressed.
Making these garments must have reminded civilians that soldiers were receiving terrible injuries.
Women and children were encouraged to knit Red Cross regulation sweaters, socks, and even “helmets” that kept heads and faces warm.
Red Cross volunteers also made:
Many women imagined themselves doing “glamorous” war work, like nursing or ambulance driving. (They had no idea of the horror those women faced daily.)
However, “In war more men die from exposure and illness than from wounds. Every hour that you waste, you are throwing away the life of one of our soldiers.” “Don’t say you are too busy to knit — it isn’t true.”
Initially, there was such an outpouring of knit garments — many totally unsuitable for the Front — that the Red Cross used women’s magazines to explain why regulation colors and instructions had to be imposed.
More disturbing knitting supplied the operating room:
Some volunteers chafed at the Red Cross rules, so regulations had to be explained and justified — repeatedly.
Children were also encouraged to knit for soldiers and sailors:The United States didn’t enter the war until April of 1917. French and British soldiers had been fighting the Germans since August of 1914, and supplies were being exhausted.
The Armistice treaty which concluded “the War to End All Wars” came into force at 11 a.m. Paris time on 11 November 1918 (“the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.”) — Wikipedia.