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Local Studies Department

WORLD WAR I: Chapter 2 - The Home Front

Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association

The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Families Association (S.S.F.A.), a long-standing organisation set up to look after and provide for the families of all Branches of the services, Naval and Military, including reservists and special reserve, began to reorganise itself for the war and its obvious consequences for those at home.

The Association was organised purely for wives or dependants of soldiers and, at this time, was required to give separation allowance to those who had not yet received any from the Board of Guardians. The Board of Guardians issued separation allowances normally but, in the circumstances of the time, funds were not readily available when war broke out. However, it was found that the S.S.F.A. had substantial monies available to it from the Prince’s own Fund and this organisation provided a stop-gap until officials were able to mobilise their resources for assistance.

The Naas Branch of the S.S.F.A. covered a very large area, stretching round by Robertstown, Edenderry, Maynooth, Leixlip, Blessington, Ballymore-Eustace etc. The following were the officers and committee:- President, Mrs. B.H. Barton; Hon. Secretary, Lady Burrowes, Barretstown Castle, Ballymore-Eustace; Hon. Treasurer, Miss de Robeck, Naas. The committee was divided into representatives of the following districts:

Naas: Mrs. Loveband, Mrs. P.A. Maguire, Mrs. H. Farrell
Sallins: Mrs. Lamb
Kill: Mrs. Alexander
Straffan: Mrs. Barton
Celbridge: Lady O’Brien, Mrs. Harrison
Ballymore-Eustace: Lady Burrowes
Robertstown: Mrs. De Courcey Wheeler
Clane: Mrs. Williams
Kilashee & Brannockstown: Mrs. St.Leger Moore
Rathmore: Mrs. Synnott
Kildare Observer, 22 August, 1914

These names appear time and again in connection with various fund-raising events throughout the war. No separation allowances were received in the Naas district until Monday the 17th August 1914 and, even then, not in all cases. But, by as early as 22 August 1914 in the Naas Urban District alone, there was reported to be 50 wives, or other dependants of soldiers, receiving assistance from the local branch of the S.S.F.A.