Richmond WW1 Diary 5 June 1916

Image of poppy

The flagging of flag days

In the 5 June edition of the Richmond & Twickenham Home Journal, a little war fatigue and some historic chugging:

“The Flagging of Flag Days

The accumulated wisdom of the race unanimously declares that you can have too much of a good thing, and many of our readers consider that Flag Day is one of the good things which has already been worn threadbare. We confess we do not agree with them. So long as the object for which our pennies is extracted from us is a worthy one there is nothing much to grumble about. TO have a pretty little flag pinned on your coat by a condescending Miss who may be a duchess in disguise and would scorn to look at you in normal times, and to go decorated for the rest of the day, proclaiming your patriotism and generosity to the whole world – surely this is cheap for a copper. True, the movement has been exploited by a few designing damsels on the make; but what philanthropic effort is there which could escape their attention? We don’t cease to wage war because the pirates and profiteers who control our ships are making millions out of us. Need we shut down our flag days because one or two rattling boxes are carried by Sapphira?”

Flag Days were a common fund raising practice at the start of the 20th century. ‘Sapphira’ refers to a Bible story about an early Christian husband and wife who sold their land to donate the money to the Church, but kept some of the money for themselves. Readers in 1916 would have been familiar with the reference.

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