28 August 2013 You are here:

#DidYouKnow Facts about The Salvation Army

Photo: The White Stripes courtesy of YouTube

As we celebrate reaching a milestone on Facebook, here are 10 interesting facts about The Salvation Army - both at home and across the world.

1. The Salvation Army has featured in a number of songs, the most famous being The Beatles' ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. The song is about a Salvation Army orphanage called Strawberry Field in Woolton, Liverpool, where John Lennon is said to have played with childhood friends in the trees behind the orphanage when he was a boy.

2. The title of the song ‘Seven Nation Army' - originates from what Jack White of rock duo The White Stripes thought The Salvation Army was called when he was a child, just calling it 'Seven Nation Army' and it took on a new meaning with the lyrics.

3. The Salvation Army served at the frontlines in World Wars I and II - offering comfort and pastoral support to members of the armed forces; It was in World War I, that the famous Salvation Army "doughnut girls" or “doughnut lassies” served their first doughnuts. During major engagements, the girls worked at the field hospitals. They went to daily burial services of the doughboys they served and then went to pray over the graves of the enemies.

4. The Salvation Army’s founder General William Booth talked about three S’s which he believed best expressed the way The Salvation Army helped the less fortunate ones. These three S’s stood for ‘Soup’, ‘Soap’ and ‘Salvation’.

Photo: Courtesy of the International Heritage Centre

5. There was a pro-drinking group in the 19th Century dedicated to harassing the Salvation Army because it promoted abstinence. The group called themselves the ‘Skeleton Army, and they killed several Salvationists and injured many more.

6. The Salvation Army has been featured or mentioned in literally hundreds of Hollywood movies over the years - from classics like ‘The 39 Steps’ and ‘On the Water Front’ to contemporary hits such as ‘Batman Begins’, ‘Seabiscuit’ and ‘Titanic’.

7. In 2005, consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton selected The Salvation Army, along with the Rolling Stones, Oxford University, the Olympic Games and others, as among the world's top-ten enduring institutions.

8. The Salvation Army began dispensing food and drinks near Ground Zero less than an hour after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers.  In nearly nine months of service there, 40,000 Salvation Army volunteers, staff and officers assisted 4.5 million people with meals, pastoral counselling and social services.

Photo: Courtesy of Salvation Army USA

9. Movie stars Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Mae West, and Joan Crawford have all appeared in movies with Salvation Army characters.

10. In 1891, The Salvation Army opened its own match factory in Old Ford, East London.  Only using harmless red phosphorus, the workers were soon producing six million boxes a year.  A competitor paid its workers just two pennies a gross, while The Salvation Army paid their employees twice that amount.