ST. DUNSTAN'S. St. Dunstan's is a charity for British sol diers, sailors and airmen blinded in or as a result of the World War, or in any subsequent military operations. The charity is reg istered under the Blind Persons Act, 1920, and incorporated under the Companies acts 1908 to 1917, The charity is governed by an executive council elected annually by the governors and mem bers, who are in the main the principal supporters and subscribers to its funds. The charity was founded in 1915 by Sir Arthur Pearson, himself blind during the last ten years of his life. Since his death Lady (Arthur) Pearson has occupied the office of presi dent of the organization, and the executive head has been Cap tain Ian Fraser, himself an officer who was blinded in the war.
With the exception of about one hundred Scotsmen, who are cared for by Newington House, Edinburgh, a war charity similar to St. Dunstan's in its inception and conduct, practically all blinded officers, non-commissioned officers and men (numbering one hundred and nineteen officers and two thousand two hundred and five other ranks) of the United Kingdom, Dominions and Colonial forces, have come under the care of St. Dunstan's and its branches or affiliated organizations. St. Dunstan's and Newing ton House, Edinburgh, are recognized by the government depart ments concerned as the official centres for training, re-education, settlement and after-care of the blinded men, but both charities rely entirely upon voluntary support and receive no State aid.
St. Dunstan's organization started in 1915 in a house in Regent's Park, called "St. Dunstan's Lodge" lent for the duration of the war, by the American financier, Otto Kahn. Many large estab lishments, some existing, some built for the purpose, were acquired to house the men during training, and the administra tive offices of St. Dunstan's are still in one of these buildings.
Large sums of money have been spent upon special pensions and allowances ; housing and equipment ; grants in aid of financial difficulties, sickness, etc.; maternity grants; trading subsidies; holidays; amusements, etc. A Children's Fund also provides weekly allowances for, at this date (1928) some eighteen hundred children born to blinded ex-service men after their discharge from the forces. The capital resources of St. Dunstan's (1928) are about one million pounds, of which about one-half is ear-marked for special purposes. The income required to maintain St. Dunstan's services is £127,000 a year, of which less than one-fifth is provided by interest from investments.