'Our Soldiers' Widows': Charity, British War Widows and the South African War (1899-1902)
journal contributionposted on 14.03.2019, 13:47 by Eliza Riedi
The South African War created nearly 5,000 British working-class war widows: three-quarters of a million pounds was raised by public subscription to support them. This article investigates the three national war widows’ charities: the Royal Patriotic Fund, the Daily Telegraph / Scotsman Shilling Fund, and the Imperial War Fund. Highlighting the plight of war widows and orphans, it argues that evaluation of the war’s impact on British society must include its effects on working-class soldiers’ families. Analysing the identity and motivations of donors, it suggests funds for soldiers’ dependants succeeded by fusing imperial sentiment to class solidarity and local identity.