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Skipman

white feathers

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Skipman

Has anyone come across instances of white feathers being received,or was it the sort of thing that was hushed up by families concerned.What are your views on it as a means of 'persuading' men to join up?

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stiletto_33853

Skipman,

Nicoletta F. Gullace write a very enlightening document named "White Feathers and Wounded Men: Female Patriotism and the Memory of the Great War" which appeared in the Journal of British Studies, Vol. 36 No.2 and Twentieth Century British Studies (April 1977) which gives the whole history of the White Feather saga and mentions several examples of these feathers being given out, one to a V.C holder who had just changed into mufti after receiving his VC at the Palace. He placed the white feather in the ribbon of his V.C.

Andy (the nameless one :ph34r: )

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Skipman

Thanks Andy.Like the white feather in the VC ribbon.

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RDG01
Has anyone come across instances of white feathers being received,or was it the sort of thing that was hushed up by families concerned.What are your views on it as a means of 'persuading' men to join up?

My grandfather claimed that he was given white feathers on three occasions as he travelled from Whale Island to Liverpool. He had been posted to a Q-ship and was travelling in civillian clothes. He told us that he had no choice but to accept the feathers and the comments that were directed at him. He was unable to reveal the purpose of his journey to the women who approached him.

He certainly never hushed up the fact that he was a white feather recipient - probably because he had nothing to be ashamed of.

Ron

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Skipman

Good on him.I suspect that happened quite a lot.Look at people in your own area , am sure we can all think of the type who would be handing them out.

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truthergw
Has anyone come across instances of white feathers being received,or was it the sort of thing that was hushed up by families concerned.What are your views on it as a means of 'persuading' men to join up?

White feathers were handed out in High Street Dundee.

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Waddell

Skipman,

Whilst researching my wife’s grandfather and great uncle one relative claimed that an older woman sent the elder brother a white feather. I don’t know if this is true or just one of those stories that gets handed down and is not documented anywhere.

If it were true it may have been because the younger brother enlisted first. However it was only a matter of months before the elder brother also enlisted. The sad part of the story is that it was the elder brother who was killed on the western front- certainly nothing cowardly about that.

I don’t view it as a good thing. I wonder how many people who sent white feathers later went on to fight. I would guess that people who would never have to face combat sent them.

Are there any records of people admitting they sent white feathers? I would be surprised if there were.

Regards,

Scott

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Ian Robertson

In one of Lyn MacDonald's books, I forget which, a soldier on leave tells the story of the time he was presented with a white feather. He was on the tram dressed in "civvies" when a young lady approached him and handed him the feather. He calmly took it and started to use to to clean out his pipe, thanking the lady at the same time, telling her how useful it was and saying that they didn't have luxuries such as this when he was in the trenches. She apparently slunk off the tram at the next stop with the jeers of the other passengers ringing in her ears.

The only picture I have of my Great Uncle in civilian clothes shows him with a Black Watch badge in his lapel (my avatar). I've often wondered if he wore this on leave to fend off any unwanted presents! I am lucky enough still to have this badge.

regards

Ian

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Steven Broomfield
White feathers were handed out in High Street Dundee.

Yes, but that was after the Dundee/Dundee United derby.

I recall that Brigadier General Crozier was 'awarded' one while in mufti. That may be the Lyn Macdonald story referred-to.

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truthergw

In fact, the occasion referred to was when a white feather was handed to a man in civilian clothing, whereupon he burst into tears. He then soiled himself in his distressed condition. He was an early victim of shell shock. It was not then appreciated that physical injury was not the only sign of a casualty.

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Skipman

Thanks Tom .Poor man ,injured again.

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stevem49

Fred Greaves had been sent on leave from France. His uniform was in a state and he was told to wear civvies. He was returning to London on the train when a 'lady' gave him a white feather. Fred smiled and said nothing.

He arrived in London, got his new uniform and went to the Palace to collect his VC from the King.

sm

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Michael Johnson

I wonder how much of the "white-feathering" came out of women's frustration with their rather restricted lives?

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dfaulder
I wonder how much of the "white-feathering" came out of women's frustration with their rather restricted lives?

Or perhaps it was a human reaction to the sort of "appeal to patriotism" speeches made to get men to enrol. In other times (including present day) we have seen how the "mob mentality" can be whipped up. "Ladies" handing out white-feathers were probably the more genteel end of the mob?

I understand something similar happened in WW2?

David

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stiletto_33853

There are many accounts of the white feather brigade in the IWM with the accounts of people being interviewed for the 1960's BBC series on the Great War.

One such interview in 1964 with a Mr. J. Jones

Mr. Jones was furious when on returning home after being wounded he was presented with a white feather. "In those days there was a part of Clarence Pier called the 'Bull Ring' and we used to go there to try and get a girl," Mr. Jones recalled " I saw a girl I liked and tried to get talking to her but she didn't seem interested and then I saw her talking to another soldier. So next time she passed, .... I said 'you spoke to him why can't you speak to me?' she replied 'I don't speak to toy soldiers only those with guts, so you'd better have this' and gave me a white feather.'

Jones promply slapped her in the face whereupon her friend, a local dock worker, challenged him to a fight. "I opened my tunic and pulled up my shirt and showed my wound and told them I had only just come out of hospital after having been to France and done my bit. The bloke apologised..... and the girl just ran off.

In 1915 Cathcart Wilson warned the Home Secretary, Reginald McKenna, that state employees were being "subjected to insolence and provocation at the hands of some advertising young women presenting them with white feathers" and inquired whether he would authorize the arrest of "such persons" for "acting in a manner likely to cause a breech of the peace."

Andy :ph34r: (the nameless one)

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Andrew P

In Australia, for those men who tried to enlist but were rejected on medical grounds, they were given a special badge to wear which indicated they were medically unfit. This may have stopped the white feathers for them at least

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bantamforgot

I wonder why white feathers handed out seem to be the perogative of the "ladies" , a question of relatives serving in the forces , using the screen of being a female , or the attitude of the time "We don't want you to go etc."?

As related above "mob mentality" as we see & hear every night on TV is easily exploited & the female gender seem to be very prone to it.

Colin

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Chucka

Pte 27479 George Colclough, 7th Bt, The Loyal North Lancashire Regt, killed 14th Nov 1916, aged 17.

George was the son of Pte Joseph Colclough who died on 22nd Nov 1915 and is buried at Hedge Row Trench Cemetery, Nr Ypres.

George was 17 and went to war as a result of three girls from the same street as himself sending him a white feather. He was only in France for a few weeks when he was killed, the family never forgave the girls.

This info was gathered from the ww1cemeteries site.

Charlie

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Desdichado

I always believed that it was women of a certain age and of the middle class that did the feathering. Any truth in that?

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