During the First World War a knitting craze swept across Britain, as women everywhere wanted to kit out their Tommies with socks, mittens, balaclavas, vests, jumpers and all manner of knitwear — some more graciously received than others. Millions of socks were sent from the home front to the fighting fronts in a bid to wage war on the dreaded trench foot, and thoughtful knitters would often tuck a love note or simple message into parcels to offer extra cheer to the soldier far from home. Knitting for Tommy explores the knitting craze through magazine adverts, postcards, cartoons and photographs of the day, as well as offering a guide to kitting out your own First World War Tommy using original knitting patterns.
Lucinda Gosling is a historian working at the Mary Evans Picture Library. Her books include Debutantes and the London Season, Royal Coronations, and Brushes and Bayonets: Cartoons, sketches and paintings of World War I. She is also the author of Great War Britain: The First World War at Home, published in hardback by The History Press at £25.