1917

  • The First World War has been underway since 1914

    British ships are being sunk and thousands of lives have been lost at sea.

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    Following catastrophic losses at sea, the great and the good of the maritime community meet to discuss the establishment of a single Fund to secure and distribute aid efficiently to maritime charities.

  • More than 100,000 youngsters, aged 14 to 17, enlisted in the Royal Navy during the War of 1914-18, many of them leaving home for the first time.

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  • King George V supports the Fund with an establishing donation of £5,200

    Our early fundraising activities sparked the interest of HM King George V, who was moved by the plight of so many seafarers maimed or lost at sea during the Great War.

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    His support, including an establishing donation of £5,200 in the first year, saw us become the King George's Fund for Sailors.

  • Faced with a shortage of manpower, the Royal Navy forms the Women's Royal Naval Service, under the leadership of Dame Katherine Furse.

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  • 05 July 1917

    The formal launch of the Sailors’ Fund takes place at the Mansion House, London

    It will now be called King George's Fund for Sailors after its first Patron, King George V.

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    Its original aim was to 'ensure adequate support for organisations that helped and comforted mariners in sickness and in distress; to make certain of timely aid to the widows and orphans they left behind'.

  • There was no shortage of organisations set up to help sailors, but it made it difficult for people to know where their money would be most effectively used.

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  • The Fund raises £207,000 in subscriptions by the end of its first year

    For such a new organisation set up in wartime, the Fund had immediately made its mark, raising £207,000 (equivalent of over £6.2 million today) in subscriptions by the end of 1917.

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    In its first year, the Fund paid £55,000 in grants to 58 maritime charities.

  • The basic rate of pay for an ordinary Royal Navy seaman is 1s 5d per day. A loaf of bread costs 4 1/4 d and a pint of beer is 4d.

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