H08148 — Mr Barnden; YMCA Tent, 1915

Box 50


Image 2: H08146 — Mr. Barnden; YMCA Tent, 1915 — detail

Image 3: H08146 — Mr. Barnden; YMCA Tent, 1915 — detail


‘Letters Home’ — Dr. Chris Kempshall, Project Officer for East Sussex County Council’s First World War Centenary Project

Audio transcript at bottom of page


The YMCA tent provided letter writing facilities, newspapers, books and other comforts. For the men a sign is displayed stating “Attention!! Lord Kitchener advises YOU to SIGN THE PLEDGE. Do so now if only for period of war. Pledges can be signed here.”


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“What you see here are tents raised by the YMCA in Lewes and East Sussex, the Young Men’s Christian Association. These pictures are incredibly rare. The YMCA organised an awful lot of entertainment, and excursions and activities for men both in Britain and on the various Fronts of the First World War. On the signs of the back wall you can see reinforcement of the Christian Association’s demands on the men suggesting they do not smoke on Sundays and they do not take alcohol. What’s interesting additionally about these pictures is that they are all writing letters home. The vast majority of soldier’s letters written during the First World War, whether the men were Christian or not, end up being written on YMCA headed notepaper. “