4 NOVEMBER 1916, Page 25


(To THE EDITOR OF THE " SPECTATOR."] Sra,—As President of the South African Hospital and Comforts Fund, I trust you will allow me to make a further appeal on behalf of South Africans serving with their contingent, or with other units in Europe. During the past year the South African Forces have rendered signal service to the Empire. They have completed the conquest of German West Africa; their European contingent has fought gloriously in Egypt and France; and their East African Army, assisted by other units, has won through to great success in a campaign exceptionally difficult and arduous. The financial strain of these military services has fallen very heavily upon the South African people, and, realizing this, we have made every possible endeavour to lighten it by undertaking the very necessary task of providing for the welfare of South Africans serving in Europe, who receive a lower scale of pay than those of other overseas contingents. Our activities during the past year have been continuous, varied, and increasing. We have built a hospital of three hundred beds in Richmond Park, and in view of the need for further accommodation, as intimated by the War Office, have decided to increase its accommodation to five hundred and twenty beds, which will include a special installa- tion of baths for medical treatment, and an officers' ward. It will be adequately equipped in every respect, and its cost, when com- pleted, will exceed £50,000. The needs of the wounded are pro- vided for by the Convalescence and Hospitality Committee, and men on sick furlough receive free quarters and board at our expense. Our Comforts Committee have supplied the troops with every possible requirement, and have distributed to the troops over forty thousand separate parcels from South Africa. It also co-operates with various Committees in that country in sending food and comforts to South African prisoners of war. For men on leave from the front we provide free quarters and board, and they, as well as men on leave stationed in this country, are looked after and entertained by the Personal Service Committee. In order to centralize these Committees, we have recently taken a lease of 39 Grosvenor Place, where also South African soldiers can meet their friends and find periodicals and writing materials. These and other undertakings, combined with contributions to the South African Ambulance, King George and Queen Mary's Club for Overseas Forces at Peel House, and to regimental funds, have constituted a severe drain upon our resources, which we now feel are not adequate for our future requirements, more especially in view of a probable increase in the number of South Africans serving in Europe after the close of the East African campaign. Cheques should be crossed " National Bank of South