Out of the destruction and chaos of the Western Front during the First World War, emerged an American called Edward Page Gaston, a journalistÂ living in Sutton, England, in the London suburbs.
While working as the European manager for a firm of American publishers, he put himself forward to help the families and friends of British prisoners of war in Germany by offering to convey much-needed money, food and clothes to the prisoners in Germany. He had originally been sent by a Committee of Americans, to Germany, to find their lost luggage. This earned the praise of the American ambassador in London, Walter Page, in October 1914, who stated that he considered Mr Gaston a very trustworthy as well as a very energetic man, Â in correspondence sent to Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary (FO 383/47 file 38099). He was also recommended by Lord Kitchener, the Secretary of State for War.
Gaston had publicity material printed, which includes photographs of himself. Two examples survive among Foreign Office records.