Alternative Name(s): Soldiers' Comforts.

Poem about a pair of socks, hand-written on a piece of paper by Florence Crossley of Victoria, apparently accompanying socks she had made. A heartfelt note in response from the receiving soldier, Lance Corporal A. McDougall of the 8th Australian Field Ambulance, is written on the back of the poem. Both adults and children who made 'comforts' for soldiers sometimes included notes of encouragement and support in their gifts.

Lance Corporal Andrew Thomas McDougall (#6739), son of James Beith McDougall and Sarah Teresa Coughran, enlisted with the 8th Australian Field Ambulance in May 1915 in Liverpool, New South Wales, when he was 25 years old. After marrying Mary Edwards in June 1915, McDougall left Australia for England in November of the same year. According to his war record, McDougall travelled to France where he served briefly with the 7th Australian Field Ambulance in July 1917 before he rejoined the 8th Australian Field Ambulance later that same month. In January 1918 he was transferred to the 5th Divisional Headquarters and appears to have stayed with this unit until the end of the war. It is therefore likely to have been in the latter half of 1917 that McDougall received the socks and poem from Florence Crossley.

McDougall returned to Australia in February 1919 where he was reunited with his wife, Mary. The couple settled in North Sydney and had five children, three of whom appear to be still living. According to census records, McDougall found work as a civil servant. Sadly, Mary died in 1940 when she was only 48 years old; McDougall died 22 years later, in 1962.

McDougall was awarded the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the 1914-1915 Star for his service.

McDougall wrote to Florence on a second occasion (HT 33518) when he wrote a more detailed letter about his experience on the Somme.

Physical Description

Piece of off-white paper, creased and quite fragile. One side features a four line poem handwritten in black ink, with the author's name written underneath. The other side has a note handwritten in pencil, describing the benefits of the shoes mentioned in the poem.

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Public Life & Institutions

  • Place & Date Made

    Australia, 1916

  • Place & Date Made

    Somme, Belgium, Dec 1916

  • Recipient

    Lance Corporal Andrew T. McDougall, Somme, France, 1916-1919

  • Author

    Miss Florence Crossley - Red Cross Society

  • Inscriptions

    On one side, hand-written in ink: 'To you dear soldier who will wear / On your feet this very pair / We send you greetings; may you be / Of those who run to victory. / F. Crossley / Newbridge / on Loddon, Victoria' On the reverse, written in a faint hand: 'Dec. 16 / How welcome were this very pair of sox. / Nothing could have been more appreciated. / The frozen slush has been knee deep for / several days and my feet have been / constantly wet and so falls of snow / yesterday added to this discomfort; / I am now in a fragile dugout which is not / shellproof by any means, and is only a rifle shot / from the German lines on the Somme. / But thanks to you my feet are now warm / which is a great blessing. / Though we endure hardships we can never / fully appreciate the wonderful kindness of the women / folk which has been a little ray of sunshine from our dear Australia. / L/Cpl A. McDougall / 8th Australian / Field Amb'.

  • Classification

    Military history, Civilian life, Comforts

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • Overall Dimensions

    7.9 cm (Length), 11 cm (Width)

  • References

    Information on Andrew Thomas McDougall from National Archives and

  • Keywords

    Soldiers, Wars & Conflicts, World War I, 1914-1918, Socks, Soldiers, Soldiers' Comforts