During the First World War letters and parcels from home were essential to the upkeep of the troops’ morale. A file of letters sent to Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915), during the first two years of the war show both the troops’ gratitude and the surprising array of gifts being sent from New Court.
Members of the Rothschild family, along with many others, subscribed to charities and organisations sending parcels of food and luxuries to the front. A receipt in the banks’ records shows that in December 1917 Alfred (1842-1918) sent cases of Christmas turkeys and champagne from Harrods to the Red Cross Hospital, British Expeditionary Forces, in France. Nathaniel, Alfred’s elder brother and Senior Partner of the Bank, sent similar luxuries such as pheasant and grouse, but also functional items such as telescopes and balaclavas. The men wrote to him conveying their deep and sincere gratitude, and after his death in 1915 his Frankfurt-born widow Emma (1844-1935) continued sending similar parcels. During the conflict Natty had a personal correspondence with John ‘Jack’ Spencer Churchill (1880-1947), younger brother of Winston, who was himself indebted to the famous Rothschild communication network, for forwarding Jack’s letters.
13 January 1915
My dear Lord Rothschild,
Many thanks for sending me Jack’s letter.
The waiting is dull, but time is on our side.
Winston S Churchill
RAL reference: RAL 000/848/37/1