The Great War Trust helped Hull servicemen and their families in many ways.
By June 1919, the Great War Trust had collected £130,000 and on the 15th July 1919 the Trust began to speed up its work. It considered applications from men with at least 50% disability, and awarded grants up to 10 shillings a week, and allowances, not exceeding £25.
Records show that it provided family grants of £30 to purchase furniture, £4 for cutlery, £20 for fruit stock and two £25 Business grants (Hull Daily Mail 14/9/1920). These one off grants switched to regular allowances, which gently increased over time to reflect a man’s increasing earnings.
The 1921 ‘Report on Year’s Work’, shows it dealt with 563 new claimants, six carried forward and 269 Re-considerations, during the year. Awards were given to 118 men and 36 women; lumps sums to 55 men and 61 women; periodic payments to 54 men and 30 women; 42 men and 67 women received allowances (15 of these (4 men & 11 women) having continued from the following year. During 1920, income from investments was £7,249 and the Trust paid out £9,541. It had received £10,043 in donations up to 31/12/1920 and the Trust held £136,883 for ongoing awards. (Mr Proctor’s salary was increased to £500 per year on 11/01/1921. However, it was maintained that he could have earned considerably more if he remained working with the Town Clerks and the salary was covered by income from investments).
The Eastern Morning News (09/08/1921) reported that 53 men were receiving out patient treatment from the Trust for neurasthenia; eleven men were being treated in Institutions, with two more on a waiting list for treatment. The Trust paid for a Specialist Doctor to work full time with ‘shell shock’ cases.
Orphan children were given ‘day trips’ to Bridlington and a party at New Year’s.
The Trust supported disabled soldiers with small farm Holdings. Eighteen new Cottages with an acre of land, were built in Dunswell, at a cost of £830. Rents were kept low at only £26. per year, (although annual rates were between £8 & £12). Many of these Tenants had been severely disabled during the war – 4 were blinded, 1 had one arm, another had lost both legs, and one suffered from severe shell shock. The farms helped promote independent living and provide these men with a modest income.
On the 12th September 1922, the Great War Trust presented a magnificent Rugby Challenge Shield and initiated a new rugby League competition, to raise money through gate receipts. As well as promoting sport, the competition provided great entertainment. The final game in 1928, saw Hull FC beat Huddersfield at the Boulevard, 25 -14, and raised £74.00.
There is ample evidence to suggest recipients were very grateful for the Trust’s practical and useful assistance. There were good reports of disabled men starting up businesses and doing well; disabled ex servicemen being found employment, disabled adaptations being made to horse carts and homes, so that disabled men could continue to work. The Eastern Morning News (11/07/1922) reported that the Trust had provided a child of a disabled serviceman, with a University education and he had obtained a BA (Hons) Degree. Another beneficiary was a disabled child of a soldier killed in the war, who was given special help to allow him to walk and the child’s mother wrote a letter of thanks to the Trust
At the unveiling of the Kingston upon Hull memorial at Oppy Wood on the 10th March 1927, Major, P Robson, Sheriff of Hull, described the Hull Great War Trust as “the most wonderful organisation of its kind in any City within the Empire”