My two great grandmothers and my grandmother on my father’s side were very much involved in charity work. Their efforts are documented in Australian newspapers. Digitised versions of  many of these are available at the National Library of Australia’s Trove website

The obituary of my great grandmother Kathleen Mary Cudmore née Cavenagh-Mainwaring (1874-1951) mentions her charity work in both wars:

Lady Cudmore’s charitable work began during World War I with the AAMC Trench Comforts Fund. She was also active in the Cheer-Up Hut, and was one of those who revived the Hut in 1939. She worked with the Hut until it closed after the war. During the depression she assisted charities for the relief of distress, and was interested in the Mission to Seamen. (Death Of Lady Cudmore. (1951, March 9). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from

An Australian soldier enjoys a cup of tea at the Australian Comforts Fund stall, Longueval, France, December 1916. To the Australian Comforts Fund the troops acknowledge a debt of gratitude. Quote: “We desire to acknowledge our debt to the Australian Comforts Fund. Their soup kitchen was the goal to which even the weariest man persevered during the dreadful outward journeys from the line”. (Extract from chapter on “The Somme Winter 1916-1917 in The History of the 22nd Battalion). Australian War Memorial image E00034

Arthur Murray Cudmore was appointed to the Australian Imperial Force as an officer in April 1915. Wentworth Cavenagh-Mainwaring, the brother of Kathleen Cudmore senior and Arthur’s brother-in-law,  joined the Australian Army Medical Corps in August 1914.

The South Australian Trench Comforts Fund associated with the Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC) was founded in February 1916. Mrs A. M. Cudmore was appointed to the executive committee as honorary treasurer. ( FIELD AMBULANCE TRENCH COMFORTS. (1916, February 19). The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from

In its first year the Fund had distributed comforts to France and Egypt. Christmas boxes had been sent to the front.

WAR FUNDS. (1917, March 15). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), p. 8. Retrieved from

In December 1918 a fete for the Adelaide Children’s Hospital was held in the grounds of Government House. Mrs A. M. Cudmore organised a ‘juvenile pageant’ representing a League of Nations. My grandmother Kathleen, then ten years old, represented Wales. (CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL FETE. (1918, December 16). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), p. 5. Retrieved from There had already been a pageant earlier in the month in aid of the French Red Cross and Mrs A. M. Cudmore was convener in chief. (FRANCE’S DAY. (1918, December 7). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), p. 9. Retrieved from

In June 1919 the Cheer-up Society ran a Victory ball very successfully at the Adelaide Town Hall. Mrs A.M. Cudmore was on the executive committee.  Among other duties she arranged the debutantes’ set.

THE VICTORY BALL. (1919, June 14). Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 – 1931), p. 43. Retrieved from

The Mrs de Crespigny that the debutantes were presented to was my other paternal great grandmother.

A year after the war ended fundraising and support continued.  The last Button Day for the French Red Cross was held in the gardens of Government House. Mrs A.M. Cudmore and Mrs F. Harcus were in charge of the stall selling strawberries and cream and ices. (LAST BUTTON DAY. (1919, December 20). Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA : 1910 – 1924), p. 6. Retrieved from They had run the same stall in March 1918 for the Soldiers’ Relief Fund Button Day in March 1918; it seems it was their specialty. (SOLDIERS’ RELIEF FUND. (1918, March 23). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), p. 17. Retrieved from

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