Credit: Planet News Archive/SSPL/SSPL via Getty Images

Historical Insights Bundles for Britain

Not only did Bundles for Britain send $1.5 million in supplies, they raised $1 million in donations too. 1940, United Kingdom. Credit: Planet News Archive/SSPL/SSPL via Getty Images

Bundles for Britain

“Bundles for Britain” shipped clothing, medical supplies, and bedding from the United States to help war-torn British citizens.

Before the United States entered World War II, many volunteer groups there wanted to help their allies involved in the war. Thus began the brainchild of Natalie Wales Latham, a wealthy New York socialite. Her “Bundles for Britain” began in January 1940 as a knitting club with her friends to send socks and caps to British sailors, but her mission spread and ballooned to over 1.5-million female volunteers in around 2,000 branches in every state of the country. Along with knitted clothing, Bundles for Britain sent over ambulances, X-ray machines, cots, bedding, gently used clothing and shoes, and medical supplies, all labeled “From your American friends.” A 1941 newsreel filmed at a distribution center in Docklands, London, said, “Hundreds of war-impoverished people are grateful to kind-hearted Americans for their help.” The movement lasted for nearly two years, until the United States entered the war in December 1941.