Socks for soldiers project keeps WWI tradition going, one foot at a time

Women in Corner Brook knitted their way back in time by using an archival sock pattern used by the Women's Patriotic Association during the First World War.

'If my grandmother could do it, then I can do it as well,' says knitter Rickie Murley

Steve Smith and others from the Royal Newfoundland Regiment were given socks during a ceremony in Corner Brook on Wednesday. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Women in Corner Brook are knitting their way back in time with an archival sock pattern used by the Women's Patriotic Association during the First World War.  

Rickie Murley's grandmother was one of the women who sent 62,000 pairs of socks to troops fighting oversees between 1914 and 1916.

Now she's continuing the tradition.

"If my grandmother did it, then I can do it as well," said Murley.

She's one of 20 women from the west coast of Newfoundland who are knitting socks with the same type of wool and sending them to local soldiers on deployment overseas.

RIckie Murley's grandmother knitted socks during the First World War for deployed soldiers. Now she does it too. (Colleen Connors CBC )

During a presentation ceremony in Corner Brook on Wednesday, several soldiers received socks from the 66 pairs knitted since the fall.

"It means quite a lot because of all the history back 100 years ago. They are making it alive again," said Sgt. Steve Smith, a recruiter with The Royal Newfoundland Regiment, 2nd Battalion.

Members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment received commemorative socks similar to those worn by soldiers in the First World War. (Colleen Connors )

Smith doesn't plan on wearing his pair of socks. He wants to frame them and keep them with his other war memorabilia. 

"It's important that everyone still remembers," he said. 

Working to get it right

The exact archival pattern was donated by The Rooms, and the knitters had to adjust it slightly to get it right. The heels and toes of the socks were reinforced and the original wool they used was rough on the fingers. 

The women use wool and patterns similiar to those used a century ago. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

But the commemorative knit was important to them.

Murley brought her grandmother's Patriotic Association pin with her to the knitting group at the Corner Brook museum. 

"This pin was given to my grandmother back in the First World War. She knit socks for the soldiers back then," she said.

More socks will be sent to Newfoundland and Labrador soldiers who are deployed overseas in care packages this coming Canada Day.