‘From your American friends’

Lady Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton, CBE 1909-2013
The American socialite and philanthropist Lady Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton recently passed away at 103 in New Jersey. She is fondly remembered for her initiative Bundles for Britain, which began making and shipping warm clothing to British servicemen two years before the US entered the war! The project ‘would grow to embrace 1.5 million volunteers in 1,900 branches in every state in the union and begin shipping to Britain not only hundreds of thousands of knitted items but also ambulances, X-ray machines and children’s cots — all labeled ‘From your American friends.'”
From the New York Times obituary….

She was 30 when she learned of the hardships in Britain during the early months of the Second World War, long before the US got involved in the conflict. She took a train to Washington DC to ask the British ambassador, Lord Lothian, if there was anything American citizens could supply to aid the war effort. After being put in touch with Prime Minister Winston Churchill, she received an answer: balaclava hats for Merchant Navy seamen freezing while shepherding allied convoys across the Atlantic. She set up what she called “Bundles for Britain,” persuaded American wool mills to help, and set up an HQ in New York City which became overwhelmed with women handing in clothing or offering to knit. Soon she had several million helpers, and branches around the US, sending goods not only for service personnel but for civilian victims of the Luftwaffe bombings of London, Coventry and Clydeside.

Lady Malcolm Douglas-Hamilton was made the first ever non-British female Commander of the British Empire by King George VI.

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