Christmas stockings for the army sent from St John’s Wood

Charity campaign to send gifts to Armed Forces launched at St John’s Wood Barracks

ST John’s Wood Barracks provided the setting for the launch of a campaign to send Christmas boxes to 22,500 members of the Armed Forces serving overseas last week.

The annual Christmas box campaign, run by the uk4u Thanks! charity, sees the gifts, known as ‘square stockings’, sent to every member of the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy serving abroad or in hospital.

The launch, at the home of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, saw a member of the troop place the final box on top of a Christmas tree while servicemen and women, and Father Christmas, looked on.

Defence Minister Andrew Robathan said: “Knowing that the public are behind them when they are working in often very difficult conditions, especially at this time, is a real morale boost for our servicemen and women.”

The contents of the boxes are kept secret until Christmas Day and are filled with about 20 items.

The campaign is inspired by the 1914 gesture from the then 17 year-old Princess Mary, who had the idea of presenting a gift to everyone wearing the King’s uniform and serving overseas at Christmas.