The history of small Lottas
The first time activities for girls was
discussed was as early as in 1921 in a local meeting in Mikkeli.
Katri Langenkoski and Betty Tiusanen suggested that separate groups
for 10-15 year old girls would be founded within the Lotta-Svärd
organisation but received no response. When Langenkoski became a
member of the central board in 1929, she began working for her idea
again. The plan was presented by chairwoman Fanni Luukkonen at the
annual meeting in 1931 and she suggested that the idea with girl
Lottas would be tested, and she also got the board’s approval to do
so. Surely the existence of Soldier boy groups within the Civil guard
had inspired the Lottas. That same year the first rules for the girl
Lottas were approved, and the leaders for the girl Lotta work were
also represented in the central board. Fanny Munck, head of supplies
branch, was given the task to design a badge for the Small Lottas.
Their unform was basically the same as the normal Lotta dress. As an
alternative to the normal cap, a blue beret with local chapter’s
insignia. In 1933 an armband was approved as part of the uniform.
Appliants were approved by the local chapters, girls between the age
of eight and 16 and with their parents’ approval could apply. When
the girls turned 17, she could (with approval of the local small
Lotta leader) apply to be a “real” Lotta. The term “small
Lottas” was used up to 1943 when it was changed to “girl Lottas”.
The activities of the small Lottas were
to learn the young to love their home, their parents, faith, their
fatherland and to respect the elder. To facilitate the work the girls
were divided into two separate age groups; 8-13 and 14-16 years old.
On the schedule was singing, gymnastics, games, sports and useful
skills such as sewing, cooking and first aid. In the small Lotta
guide book of 1938, it was emphasized that the younger girls should
not take part in the older girls’ activities and that too much
stress should not be put on anyone. Courses for girl Lotta leaders
were held at Tuusula with appr. 50 participants every time. Trips and
camps where the girls could meet friends of the same age from other
parts of the country were very popular. Programme on the camps
consisted of both playing and games as well as e.g. orienteering.
Competitions against the Boy soldiers were also arranged.
Small Lottas during the wars
Little is known of the small Lottas’
work during the Winter war, but probably it was the same as during
the continuation war, working as reliable and eager helpers.
Especially the older (14-16) girls were very useful in assisting
their older “sisters” in the following areas:
In the war hospitals, the small Lottas
worked in canteens, kitchens, as waiters, messengers and in switch
boards, they helped with sewing and ironing and manufactured
The girls worked in canteens,
cafeterias and small shops, as dishwashers, cleaners and waiters, and
assisted in baking and distributing bread for the army.
During the wars the girls manufactured
a considerable amount of clothing and gera for the soldiers. E.g.
gloves, socks, knee pads, helmet covers, ammo belts…
The small Lottas also helped in mending
and reopairing clothes and gear.
Collecting and office
The small Lottas helped in fund
raising, collected radio license fees, food, books bottles, scrap
metal, wool and rags for use at the home- and real front. They helped
in offices, switch boards and post offices. They arranged
entertainment and soirees for evacuees and children and participated
in making flower arrangements for funerals and helped with caring for
the grave yards. Some older girl lottas participated in air