THE LANGLEY WAR HOSPITAL SUPPLY DEPOT

On the outbreak of the First World War, local Red Cross working parties formed across the country with the co-operation of their surrounding villages. They organised the supply of hospital clothing including socks, shirts, blankets and belts for soldiers. They also made essential hospital equipment such as bandages, splints, swabs and clothing.

Work depots were established in every major town to collate and despatch clothing from the working parties. Items were sent to Red Cross headquarters or directly to soldiers in auxiliary hospitals at home and abroad.

In Great Waltham, Mrs Olive Tufnell-Fordine (née Tufnell) founded and organised the Langley War Hospital Supply Depot at the beginning of November 1916, as there was no Depot in Chelmsford. Her father, Colonel William Nevill Tufnell gave the Depot a wing of Langleys, with lighting and heating.

RED CROSS SERVICE CARD

Twenty seven workers paid a shilling a week and 15 or 16 from the cottages gave their work. Red Cross records shows there were 49 workers in total by March 1919, some working from home and others attending the Depot regularly when it was open once a week. Workers came from outlying villages, including Felsted, Pleshey and Ford End. Subscribers who paid a guinea (£1.1s) or more could nominate one non-paying member.

RED CROSS NURSES PREPARING DRESSINGS AND BANDAGES

AT LANGLEYS WORLD WAR 1

The Depot received donations from events and the public and Olive also arranged exhibitions, sales and events to raise

more funds.

Articles included surgical dressings and clothing, which were dispatched either to the Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild or to Mrs Greville for the Essex Regiment, or to the hospitals in Essex.

In four months the Depot sent a total of 1,198 dressings and 510 garments –

Grand Total of 1,708 items.

The workers included relations of serving soldiers from the village as well as Olive’s parents and other members of the Tufnell family. Her father Col. Tufnell, the only man and 75 years old, produced 100 pairs of knitted socks for the Depot. Langleys War Depot operated until the 13th March 1919, also opening at Depot at Ford End.

Olive was awarded the Queen Marys Badge and Bars for 1917-1918, as were 14 others working at the Depot at Langleys.

The Oak Memorial board was made by E W Beckwith who was also responsible for the Lychgate, which is dated 1920.