Benevolence and Private Giving
The war effort harnessed a huge effort of private benevolence. The National Relief Fund, the Prince of Wales Relief Fund, funds for support of Belgian refugees were all actively supported across Fife. There were committees collecting magazines and other literature for soldiers and sailors and working to establish soldiers’ clubs with refreshments, entertainments and periodicals. The Red Cross Societies resolved to provide ambulances for the Front. The mansions of the rich were handed over to provide hospitals.
Private effort was needed not just for luxuries and comforts. The 7th Black Watch was so hard pressed that it had to appeal to the charity of local notables to provide blankets for the new recruits.
Every set of parish records is replete with references to collections for xmas gifts, comforts and social and religious work amongst the men in uniform. As war went on, though money could be raised, the supplies of even necessities began to dry up. By 1918 the Todd Trust in Tayport which supported 12 poor people of the parish distributed its funds as cash because of the high price of coals and the inability to get tea or sugar.