Armenian Community and WW1
Armenian Organisations in the UK at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century
The first pro-Armenian organisation in the UK was founded in 1878 by James Bryce, who always has been a huge supporter of Armenians and the community in the UK. It was the ‘Anglo-Armenian Association’. The organisation was revived in 1893, after the Hamidian Massacres of 1894-96. During that period, many more organisations were founded, in order to support Armenia and Armenian refugees, such as:
- Scotland-Armenian Association (1895)
- International Association of the Friends of Armenia (1896)
- Friends of Armenia (1897), which also started publishing their own newsletter from 1900.
The second wave of the activity in the community followed just before the WW1, when British Armenian Committee was created. It became one of the most influential organisations in the British Diaspora and continued its activities until 1924.
2 major humanitarian funds were created in 1914, when Armenian Refugees Lord Mayor’s Fund and Armenian Red Cross and Refugees Fund were founded. They were specifically dealing with refugees from Ottoman Empire, and had lots of high profile members, politicians, clergy, etc.
Armenian Orphans Fund was founded in Manchester in 1917.
Extracts from Katie Peltekian’s “The Times of the Armenian Genocide: Reports in the British Press, 1914-1923” book.
Her two-volumes book compiles more than 1000 items from British newspapers published in 1914-1923, relating to ongoing massacres of Armenians and British responses and attitudes to it.
Materials compliled by Gagik Stepan-Sarkissian
from Vaweragrer Hay Ekeghetsu Patmut’ean (Documents of Armenian Church History) and Ararat (the official organ of the Catholicate of All Armenians in Holy Ejmiatsin), which present the UK Armenian community’s humanitarian efforts to help the refugees and support displaced Armenians through the Armenian church and by Catholicos George V, organising the distribution of the money. The document lists donations from different sources, such as Armenian Committee of London, and Armenian Union of London, various Armenian and British individuals, and communities spread around the world.
Snapshots from Ararat: Searchlight on Armenia, which was published in London in 1913-1919 and played a major role in keeping the UK Armenian community updated about tragic events during the Genocide and WW1
Searchlight worked closely with Lord Mayor’s Fund, which was a charitable organisation set up to help the Armenian victims of the massacres in the Ottoman Empire. Lord Mayor’s Fund was set up in 1915, supported by the Armenian community in the UK and some high profile British politicians, such as Charles Johnson, Lord Mayor and President; Bryce, Vice-President; and Aneurin Willimas , Chairman of Committee.
Lord Mayor’s Fund also received some donations with Save the Children fund and was eventually taken over by them in 1927.