[From St Stephen's House, 1920]
WE have seen something of the course of life in the internment camps and have realised that at least an attempt was made to treat the prisoners of war fairly. Yet all our camp visitors had the same tale to tella tale of worry and heartache. The prisoners had their own worries and miseries, but for most of the married men the greatest trouble of all was the thought of the even harder fate of their wives and children. The men were at least assured of food and lodging, whilst the wives and children were in many cases left absolutely destitute. Not only did the German Bank close its doors on the first day of the war, thereby cutting off supplies from many aliens, but no money could come from Germany, and thus many others suffered. Again, the removal of the bread-winner was the main cause of trouble to thousands of families, and in too many cases unkind neighbours and the general hostility of public feeling added to the misery; the mere fact that English women had years before married Germans being held a sufficient reason for former friends to become changed into bitter enemies.
The way in which England had really become " home " to these people is amply demonstrated by the fact that the average length of residence in this country of those seeking aid from the Committee was over eighteen years. Of course many had greatly exceeded this. Mrs. W, who had been a forewoman in a factory, had been forty years here, and her daughter was married to an Englishman. Two old ladies of sixty, looking after two orphan nieces, had been here forty-four years. N S, clockmaker, had been here thirty-nine years, and P W, baker, fifty years. (He had two sons at the front, and " the longer he thought," says our report, " the more the number of his English grandchildren grew !
In most cases the wives of these old residents were English pure and simple, and the children born in London of English mothers were regular little cockneys with no trace of the foreigner about them.
In following up the war history of the British aliens we need to bear in mind also that a large proportion had been middle-class people in fairly comfortable circumstances. Many lived in good houses or in suburban villas. Very few were slum dwellers before the war. Of course, we had all kinds at the Emergency Committee, but the decent, good living, respectable ones always preponderated. It was a real hardship to these people to find themselves in the position of paupers. We would interview a well-dressed, refined lady and literally have to drag out bit by bit the tragic story. Some domestic crisis, most often the necessity for paying the rates and taxes, had forced her to apply to us. Her husband was interned but she had no allowance from the Government. Why was that ? Well, she had been up twice about it and had sent in her papers, but so far had heard nothing further. Five childrenyes, the baby was only six months old, born just before the war and she was having trouble with feeding ithad been obliged to wean it and it was very poorly, etc., etc. By degrees the sordid facts came out. She had no money for the quarters rent and was threatened with eviction for taxes and rates in arrears. Had been pawning things to pay the weekly bills, had dismissed her maid weeks agoin fact she was absolutely at the end of her resources, and often faint from hunger as well. Had she English relatives who could help ? Oh, yes she had written but there was no answer. Her brother was in the English armyshe feared they would not help. Often when the family was not so well establisheda young married couple for instancethere was furniture being paid for on the instalment system. Sometimes the payments were almost completed and unless they were kept up, everything must go. These cases were so numerous and so pressing the Committee had to come to a considered policy in regard to them.
It was decided that no rates could be paid. It was better to let the eviction take effect and find cheaper homes for our aliens. Poor things, there seemed nothing else for it. Thus many homes were broken up and the families were housed, generally in one or at most, two rooms, in some already crowded street. It was sickening work. All ones cherished ideals must be trampled on and instead of bettering somebodys home, one must become a party to dragging down an erstwhile well-to-do family into the slumsbut this is war.
But even the slum would not always open its doors to the " Alien enemy." The woman burdened with a house beyond her means, was afraid to give it up for she knew that she would probably be unable to find another landlord willing to take her in. She appealed to us for help and our men workers soon became experts in the difficult task. One of them had made house-hunting a speciality, and with the consent of the Committee had adopted the plan of renting two or three good-sized houses and letting out such rooms as were needed in special cases at moderate charges. " It is not easy," says Michael Quin in Friends and Enemies, " to realise the relief which help such as this would bring to the anxious mind of such an applicant. Hers was not an ordinary trouble arising from ordinary poverty. What she needed was to escape from a wide-spread net-work of social hostility and ostracism to find refuge for herself and her children not from an " economic boycott " merely, but from the deadlier boycott of hatred and persecution. This was what the house-hunting of the Emergency Committee enabled her to do."
Another source of great but probably unavoidable suffering was the smallness of the Government allowance to the wives of interned civilians and the channels through which it was administered. As I have already said, England was before Germany in practising internment of civilians ; but I believed that motives of humanity played some part in bringing about the decision of the Government. The numbers of unmarried waiters who had lost their jobs and had no chance of employment certainly presented a difficult problem in the early days of the war. Our Committee was asked by the Government to undertake the charge of them, but we felt it impossible to do so. As the autumn set in, the conditions of these poor fellows became wretched in the extreme and it was a great relief when the internment camps offered them shelter and food. But with the married men, some of whom were still working, it was quite otherwise. To intern them meant to break up the family, to take away the bread-winner and in many cases utterly to destroy the business. At first there was no Government allowance for the wife who found herself left destitute often amidst hostile neighbours rendered suddenly suspicious by the appearance of the police to arrest her husband. In a few cases the aliens were handcuffed and marched through the streets in daylight but generally speaking the police behaved considerately, warning the man beforehand and coming for him after dark. The policy of the general internment of civilians was instituted in consequence of an active propaganda by the yellow press, which printed many spy stories and deliberately worked up the nation to a state of unreasoning terror. The Home Office issued a statement which was printed in The Times, of September 5th, that all spy stories which had been reported to them had been investigated by the Police, but that they had so far failed to convict any unnaturalised alien enemy of outrage. They explained that all suspects had been placed under arrest the first day of the war and that the others were all registered and under close supervision, but still the anxiety of the public remained unallayed and in consequence the internments were continued. As a reprisal, Germany, after exchanging remonstrances through a neutral power, proceeded on November 6th, 1914, to intern all unnaturalised civilian residents of military age in Germany. Later an agreement was entered into between the belligerents that the foreign-born wives of interned men should receive allowances from the embassies of their own governments. These enemy embassies though nominally closed were actually still carried on in their old quarters under the ægis of the United States which remained neutral until Easter, 1917. Thus the German and Austrian-born wives received their allowances at their own embassies and were not subjected to the stigma of having to apply to the Poor Law. On the other hand, small as were the allowances given to the English-born wives, those administered to the foreign women were still more scanty, and they were required to sign a promise to repay the money given after the war. A certain number of very conscientious women felt unable to make such a promise and therefore never applied for the allowance at all.
The English Government in establishing the amount of the allowance for English-born wives was governed practically by the accepted standards of ordinary "out-relief." The enabling order placed the payment in the hands of the local Poor Law Guardians and was worded " they may give up to such and such an amount if deemed necessary." Thus the payment of a grant in any given case was left at the option of the Local Poor Law Guardians. To establish a claim the alien must produce proof of English birth, marriage certificate, and also proof of the husbands internment. Many self-respecting, well-to-do people hesitated long and pawned or sold everything before they could bring their minds to apply to the Guardians at all. Then it often took weeks before the requirements of the Guardians could be met. Some lost their work through having to attend for the investigation of their casessome complained of the time wasted in waiting for the payment of the weekly grantmany found themselves treated as paupers and as enemy aliens ; in short the practical working out of the order involved considerable hardship. We found it necessary to have a worker giving whole time to the investigation of cases of hardship, and to interviews with Boards of Guardians on behalf of distressed aliens.
I may add that no Government grants were given until Nov. 1914, i.e., not until several weeks after the men had been interned. The scale as at first fixed was " up to " 10s. per week for the wife, and 1s. 6d. for each child under fourteen years. This was for the London cases. Cases in the provinces received less.
On May 19th, 1915, after considerable persuasion, the Government raised the grant in the London area to 2s. 6d. per week for the wife, and 1s. 9d. for each child under fourteen, and finally on February 19th, 1917, they again increased the grants in the London area to 12s. 6d. for the wife and 3s. for each child under fourteen. The country grant was raised at the same time to 10s. for the wife, and 3s. for each child.
There were great differences among Guardians . In one London district the Board wisely appointed a lady to have charge of all the alien cases. Here the grants were carefully considered and wisely administered, and the lady worker co-operated constantly and kindly with our vistors . But too often the women were treated with coldness or even with open hostility. Sometimes they were so brow-beaten and terrorised that they scarcely dared to face the Guardians, when summoned before them, as they often were, once in every few weeks. Some Guardians made a practice of constantly threatening to reduce the grant . Others did actually reduce it whenever the woman was able to earn a small sum. Too often the attitude of the Relieving Officer to his alien wards was cold and hostile and he thus added not a little to the troubles of these unfortunate people.
But even when the grant was made it was difficult for the alien woman to exist upon it.
The experience of one of our visitors bears upon this point. She says : " I was asked to have a talk with one of our women and show her how she could be more economical with her Government grant of £1 2s. She has six children, the eldest a boy of twelve. Her weekly expenses are as follows
|Pieces of shoe leather||
" After these were paid there remained only 2s. 6d. for all other food, and I failed to find a way by which she could do without the Committees grant of a pint of milk a day."
For a woman with a German name to earn anything was extremely difficult. She was in an altogether different position from the ordinary English poor law case. She was often unused to living in the slums and working out. She had no sympathetic neighbours ready to give an eye to the children if necessary. If we succeeded in getting her a job, too often it turned out to be in another part of London beyond her " five mile limit." If so, she must obtain a permit from the police every time she went. The case of Mrs. R. will illustrate this. Mrs. R. was a rosy, sturdy-looking, English woman, strong and willing to work, living with her four children near Tottenham Court Road. Her husband was a German barberinterned. He became insane and ultimately died in an asylum and she lost her grant. But before this happened she was making a brave fight, and seemed to have as good a chance of success as any of our women. It is true her very foreign name was against her, but she had no young baby and was so good-tempered and willing that people liked to have her about. She got some work with a sympathetic English lady, who unfortunately lived at Kew, beyond Mrs. R's five mile radius. This meant that every time she went, she must go first to the police at Albany Street for a special permit which must be taken back on her return from Kew in the evening. She had also to take her three-year old child to a créche to be cared for in her absence. She earned 3s. a day, and her 'bus fares and food, but when the Guardians heard of it they promptly took 2s. 6d. off her grant. Such action certainly had the effect of discouraging the women from working, for they were all underfed and becoming more and more unfit for exertion. Consider yourself whether in pre-war days you could have fed a hungry growing child satisfactorily on 1s. 9d. a week; that allows twenty-one meals at 1d. a meal.
SEVEN HUNGRY BOYS.
Take another instance. The D's were an especially nice family; they had seven boys, " all splendidly healthy at the outbreak of war," says their visitor. They were so hungry indeed that a pennyworth of bread was nothing to them and the poor mother was at her wit's end. The Committee granted an extra loaf daily, but in spite of this help the "whole family slowly deteriorated in health during the war and one child died. The woman is now almost crippled with varicose veins. The husband after long internment was sent back to Germany on the verge of melancholia. They all went to him and write that they are " managing somehow," and " cannot complain since others are suffering so much worse."
MORE HARD CASES.
Case 6497 T-, at Annerley, S.E. Woman and three children aged 6, 41/2 and 2. Government grant, 16s. 9d., two rooms, rent 6s. 6d. Wife English, husband German, interned nearly three years. " I have sold the greater part of my home to keep things going up to now and it is utterly impossible."Visitor's report (21.3.1915) :-" Mrs. T. has been struggling along up till now on her totally inadequate grant, supplemented by what she had got by gradually selling up her things. She does not want charity, but work." With three young children, we fear there is not much chance of finding suitable employment for her. A reference says:-" She is of irreproachable character, and very industrious nature; a case decidedly worthy of attention."
NO MARRIAGE LINES.
The disheartening business of breaking up homes and moving families into cheaper lodgings kept us busy through most of 1915. We also had to help our cases in the establishment of their Government grants. In the course of this many hidden troubles were brought to light. As before mentioned, to get a Government grant one must fill in (under penalty of fine and imprisonment if detected in mis-statement) endless forms and produce numerous papers. Some of our cases had, alas, no papers to produce.
A HAPPY ENDING.
There was the case of Mrs. N., for instance, who had been living for twelve years as the wife of Paul N., a German hairdresser. They had three children, but when he was interned it came out that they were not married so there was no Government grant for the woman. She was a nice woman devoted to the man, but her health was poor and the children were very delicate. They had a hard struggle, but were helped by the Committee during the whole time of the war. At last in October, 1919, N. was released from camp and as soon as possible they were married. He has now at last got work and they are trying to get a home together again.
A STRANGE STORY.
Mr. and Mrs. C. were another unmarried couple. They had lived together for ten years and had three children. Their story was that Mr. C. had been married before, but his wife had forsaken him and he had failed to find her, so was unable to get a divorce. Mrs. C., at the beginning of the war was a strong, hard-working woman, and the record in her visitor's reports is a pathetic one of her struggle to keep a clean tidy home and how by degrees the furniture disappeared to the pawnshop, and the woman and children lost health and strength from insufficient food. Meantime the Berlin Committee was searching for Mr. C.'s lost wife in Germany. They discovered enough to establish the truth of his statements, but so far the woman herself is still missing and the C.'s are still waiting to be married.
TWO LITTLE RUFFIANS.
There was the curious case of the M's, where the man, who claimed to be of Scottish birth had had all his papers destroyed when his home in Barcelona was burnt so that he could not establish his nationality, or his marriage. At the outbreak of war he hurried to England and offered himself for enlistment in the British army. He was rejected as a foreigner, but, being a very clever caricaturist, obtained work with English newspapers, and sent for his wife and children. The wife was a little Spaniard who had never done anything for herself but used to lie all day on the sofa and smoke cigarettes. Her little boys were sick with measles when her husband wrote, so she had to wait a few weeks, but at last she set out and arrived in London, where he had promised to meet her. He was not there. She could only speak Spanish. The children were boys of four and two and a baby. A soldier who had travelled in the same carriage from Folkestone pitied her and took her in a cab to her husband's address but found that he had been taken away that very morning to the Internment Camp, at Stratford. The woman of the house could only keep them one night, but a worker from St. Stephen's helped Mrs. M., to find a lodging at Stratford, and she saw her husband once, I think, but her troubles began again, when in a few days he was suddenly removed to Knockaloe Camp. It was a most difficult case. There were no marriage papers and Mrs. M. neither spoke nor understood a word of English. The little boy of two had taken cold on the journey and had to be taken to hospital where he almost died of pneumonia. A kindly lady who understood Spanish went all the way from Richmond to Stratford in order to visit for us, and for weeks we helped with a maintenance grant, but presently came a disquieting report. The child of two, discharged from hospital, was, like his older brother, quite beyond the maternal control. Together the "little ruffians " (of two and four) were terrorising the neighbourhood, breaking windows, trampling on flower beds, killing chickens, etc., etc. The neighbours had protested and Mrs. M. must find other lodgings. Almost impossible with her foreign name-the two " ruffians " and the baby boy; besides, it would be a great pity to move her as her landlady had been most kind.
One of us had a bright idea. Find a home for Nandy, the four year-old, and then surely a two-year-old " ruffian " can be kept in order. We acted on this and Fernando lived during the rest of the war with a kindly Quaker lady in a little country village. He improved much and became a bright, intelligent, very graceful boy, who, however, still fell into occasional scrapes. Once, in his caretaker's absence he evolved the delicious idea of holding up an express train by standing on the line and waving his arms in front of the approaching engine. He actually did this three times to different trains
THE LUSITANIA RIOTS.
The sinking of the Lusitania in May, 1915, was the signal for a fresh attack upon " alien enemies." Such was the bitterness felt that it was reported in the House of Commons on the day after the news reached London that anti-German riots were then proceeding in ten of the London districts. A member of the Government, speaking in the House, made use of the unfortunate expression that he must say that these acts " expressed the righteous indignation of the nation." This, of course, was practically giving the official endorsement to the rioting, and did not encourage the police in their too often half-hearted attempts to protect the aliens. Numerous tragic instances of distress arising from the riots came to our knowledge, but I will content myself with giving two or three illustrative, alas, of many others. A visitor sent by the Committee to investigate a case that had applied for help found the house (a china shop) wrecked by the rioters. Almost every article in the shop had been smashed and at first it seemed that the inhabitants had fled ; but the wailing cry of a baby guided the visitor to a room whose windows and furniture had been wrecked where a woman lay on a heap of bedding with a new born infant in her arms. We found that premature labour had been induced and her baby had been born amidst the terrors of the riot. Her frightened attendant had fled and left her without food or help.
A HAIRDRESSER'S FAMILY.
Mr. W. had a hairdresser's shop at Walthamstow, and a very nice little home ; one boy of fourteen at work, and a girl and boy still at school, besides two grown up sons and a married daughter.
After the sinking of the Lusitania, the mob raided his house, smashed the windows, broke up the furniture and carried off most of the family possessions, including all their clothing.
They took refuge in a neighbour's house, but Mr. W. was afraid to remain there lest the brave kind old man of sixty-five who was befriending them should be attacked. So he asked to be interned. The police however, would not take him then, and he took refuge in the workhouse where he has remained ever since.
Mrs. W. had lived in England most of her life and would not hear of returning to Germany. As her husband was not interned, there was no Government allowance for the family; one of her sons, who lived at Cambridge, and might have helped her, lost nearly all his customers through the war, and could scarcely support himself. The other son was earning low wages, but was made to contribute to his father's support in the Workhouse, so could not help his mother. The Committee gave some help at the time, and afterwards the married daughter took the younger girl; the boy of fourteen supported his little brother; and the mother had occasional work. Her state of terror after the riots had made her quite unfit to work, and she was altogether ill from the shock and dared not even go to the door to answer a knock.
MANY HOMELESS VICTIMS.
At the time of the riots, our offices were crowded with refugees, who fled to us in their distress, as to a place of safety. One of the earliest arrivals was a young German mother, who had escaped from home with her baby in her arms, and passed the night on a roof, drenched with heavy rain. Bakers, hairdressers, small grocers, some owners, others employees, added tale on tale of shops smashed, goods stolen, furniture carried off or destroyed ; and our visitors soon returned with full corroboration of these stories. In some cases we needed only to give advice and help in claiming damages, but in many instances immediate assistance was neces sary with money for food. Some families had been broken up, and the wives did not find their husbands for several days.
A MEETING HOUSE AS SHELTER.
The difficulty was to find shelter for these poor folk suddenly driven from their homes. Few landlords cared to let houses to Germans for fear of damage, and even quiet and inoffensive Germans were turned out as a precautionary measure. Fortunately, a Friends' Meeting House in North London was speedily placed at our disposal, and permission obtained fron the Chief of
Police to place there the most needy cases. From the first the scheme was a success. The women and children occupied the main room, and two forms placed together with their cushions, made really passable beds. The men occupied the big schoolroom; meals were served in the wide entrance hall, and prepared by a genial German cook (who spoke the pure tongue of Canning Town) on a large gas cooker, especially installed in the ante room. The success of the undertaking was largely due to the capable management and tact of the ladies who undertook to attend day by day. A wonderful spirit pervaded this hastily provided haven of rest. It was not mere resignation ; there was peace and confidence and content, to a surprising degree.
Altogether about seventy people were housed and cared for in the Meeting House during the period of about a month, the greatest number of guests at one time being forty-eight.
After the Lusitania riots, the Government intervened for the protection of the male aliens still at large and interned a good number, chiefly married men who, on account of exceptionally good character or special circumstances, had hitherto been free. Thus there were fresh cases of heartbreak and suffering. Later on, whenever a bad air-raid occurred, we would have one or two cases of looting, the London hooligans finding it a good opportunity to despoil innocent people. I remember that one terrified woman was found by our visitor hiding under the bed with her two little girls. A piece of shrapnel had fallen into the bed the night before, during the air raid, and no sooner was the " all clear " sounded than a party of her neighbours came and broke her windows with stones. She was so frightened that she took her children and spent the rest of the night in the street, not daring to return to her room until the neighbours had gone to work next morning.
Air raids and darkened streets added to the difficulty of our work in the winters of 1916, 17 and 18. But that was not peculiar to the Emergency Committee, and I don't think anyone stayed away from the Office on that account though sometimes it was pretty hard for us to brave the darkened streets with the air-raid warnings sounding.
IN THE PROVINCES.
Before going further we must pause and take a glance at similar work that was being carried on outside the London area. Malcolm Quin has summarised it well in " Friends and Enemies," from which I will quote
" The vast majority of the `Alien Enemies' with whom the Emergency Committee were called upon to deal were inhabitants of London, and their number was increased by the fact that many of those who lived in the provinces were compelled to remove there from ` Prohibited Areas' soon after the outbreak of the war. Those who were left were cared for by local Friends, and in almost every important city in the United Kingdom there was a resident German population smaller or greater, for whom it was necessary to do a work of sympathy and relief similar to that which was carried on in London. For this purpose, local committees were formed on lines identical with those of the St. Stephen's House Committee. Wherever there was a meeting of the Society of Friends there was the foundation of such a committee, in spirit and organisation, and other helpers were usually forthcoming. As a rule these bodies collected their own funds but in several cases the London Committee helped with money contributions.
" These local committees were established in Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Newport, Oxford, Sheffield, South Shields, Sunderland, Wakefield and York. Over and above these regularly established centres of work, the London Emergency Committee had about 150 visitors in about as many districts up and down the country, who looked after their cases and reported to the Head Office. In Manchester, where, after London, there was the largest number of German residents, many of them being naturalised, a Committee, which had several hundred cases under its charge had been organised by these residents themselves, and was actively engaged in distributing clothing, boots and clogs, as well as in giving business advice to people in difficulties.
" In Liverpool-especially at the time of the Lusitania riots-members of the Society of Friends gave shelter to the persecuted wives and children of aliens. In Birmingham the local committee not only organised visits to 3oo cases in their own district, but also supplied the internment camps in the Isle of Man with wood for handicraft work, and other supplies. In Sheffield, the local workers, besides providing for those who had an immediate claim upon them in their own town, raised money for building camp, workshops. Bradford had a large alien population and there both Friends and well-to-do naturalised residents co-operated in various ways in giving help to the 'Alien.' At Leeds there were 350 families under the care of the Committee. In this district, too, important service was rendered by the `Northern Friends' Peace Board,' a body which had a hundred correspondents in the North of England, ready and willing to give assistance in isolated parts of the country. The Sunderland and South Shields Committees raised their own local funds and they also did much work for the camps, including the erection of a workshop at Stobs, in Scotland. The Dublin Committee arranged for visits to the camp at Oldcastle in Ireland and provided help both for the interned men and their families."
COUNTRY CASES SOMETIMES WORSE OFF THAN LONDON ONES.
From a consideration of some of these provincial cases it will be seen that many of them were even worse off than those in London. This was partly because the country grants were lower; but chiefly because a German or Austrian family in a country town was known to all its neighbours and the hostility aroused by German war atrocities reacted more readily than in London.
The provincial cases given below are mostly what we called " Camp Cases," i.e., they had been taken up by the Camp Case Sub-committee in response to requests received from interned civilians. The local Emergency Committees and visitors cooperated with Headquarters in caring for these cases.
CAMP CASE, 2468, DISTRICT, F., MIDDLESEX.
Mother and seven children, youngest three; Government grant, 18s., Rent 6s. 3d. Husband, German, in England about seventeen years. Visitor's reports: January, 1915. This family has had a very hard time, having pawned and sold very many things. Husband interned about July, 1915. Government grant was 21s. 6d., but was soon reduced to 12s. 3d., and Mrs. K. was told to work, although her youngest child was only fourteen months old. She got work in fruit picking, earning 10s. to 12S. per week, but had to pay 4s. to have the children looked after; later in the season she only earned 5s., and then work stopped.
April, 1918. The eldest girl has always been delicate and is not fit for work but now stays at home and looks after the others so as to liberate her mother for work.
The Emergency Committee have been helping for three years on and off, as the money received is entirely inadequate.
CAMP CASE 3175; DISTRICT, h. S., Co. DURHAM. Mother and five children, aged eleven, nine, seven, five and two. Government grant, 21s. 3d. Husband, German, in England about twenty-five years. Visitor's Report: "December 10th, 1915: We found Mrs. M. in sad circumstances. She has to do all for herself and five young children on 18s. a week, paying 3s. 3d. for rent. Her children looked insufficiently clad and badly nourished. She is anxious and overworked and distressed, altogether needs immediate help. There seemed to be no furniture or surplus things of any kind that could be sold."
April, 1918: The eldest girl, aged eleven, is consumptive, developed since the father's internment ; the second girl also shows tendencies to tuberculosis of late. The grant was only raised from 20s. to 25s. in December, 1917.
CAMP CASE 3693; DISTRICT, I. D-SHIRE.
Mother and four children, aged sixteen, twelve, seven and two. Government grant, 16s. 9d., rent, 5s. 6d. Husband, German, in England thirty-one years. Visitor's reports : Mr. and Mrs. P. had a small second-hand furniture shop as well as the husband's work at the S. Works, but after the war broke out people refused to pay Mrs. P. money owing to her. In July a friend paid the fees to lodge a County Court appeal for the recovery of the worst debts, but the Court refused to order them to be paid, although in all cases good wages were coming in and the debt was acknowledged.
On November 16th the rent-agent summoned Mrs. P. for non payment ; the Court ordered her to leave the house within twentyeight days. Her husband wrote to say he expected shortly to be repatriated and his wife decided to go with him.
April, 1918. Mr. P. was not repatriated after all but is now released for work. His wife's grant is now 16s. 9d., one girl earns 4s. a week ánd the second girl earns 2s. 6d. The Emergency Committee have helped from time to time with emergency grants and with clothing.
CAMP CASE 5563 ; DISTRICT, N.
Mother and three children, aged seven, six and four. Government grant, 12s. 6d., rent 4s. 9d. Husband, German, in England fourteen years, interned in November, 1914. Visitor's report April, 1918: Mrs. P. has been accustomed to having £2 a week and house rent free, before the war. She is of superior class.
Her name prevents her from obtaining work. None of the family are strong. She cannot possibly manage on the Government grant.
CAMP CASE, 3878 ; S.-ON-SEA.
Mother and five children, aged ten, nine, seven, five and three. Government grant, 25s., rent 9s. Visitor's report : This family have a perpetual struggle and have had a good deal of sickness.
CAMP CASE 3900; DISTRICT, P., GLAMORGAN.
Mother and three children, fifteen, twelve and eleven. Rent per month,17s. Husband, German,in England twenty-three years. Reports: May, 1916. Mrs. G. has had no help whatever except her Government grant of 14s. 6d. a week, out of which 4s. 3d. has to go for rent. She finds it impossible to renew the boy's clothes.
December, 1916. Mrs. G. is a frail little woman, really not fit for the work she has of scrubbing out the local Music Hall for which she receives 6s. a week. This is such a rough mining district.
June, 1917. Mrs. G. is now earning 7s. a week, and has 7s. 6d. from Guardians ; she has applied for an increase but met with a refusal.
December, 1917- Wilfred, aged twelve, is under the doctor, who reports that he is suffering from a form of neuralgia of the chest and is possibly in the first stage of consumption. The mother manages to scrape along on the allowance, supplemented by 10s. a week for scrubbing out a cinema, the eldest boy earns 8s. a week, but it takes all that to keep him.
February, 1918. Wilfred still attending at the tubercular dispensary, the doctor says he has not got active tuberculosis, he is gaining weight and has improved since November last. The Emergency Committee has been giving milk, the grant is insufficient to keep them in health.
CAMP CASE 3927 ; DISTRICT, D., ISLE OF MAN.
Mother and three children, sixteen, nine and four. Government grant, 16s. 9d., rent 5s. Husband, German, in England thirty-six years. Reports: A very respectable and provident couple and up to the outbreak of war they had a comfortable home. Unfortunately they have had to dispose of their best furniture. The children are all delicate. In 1916 the visitor says: " The three boys are superior looking, well spoken and courteous, tall but thin and pale and poorly clothed, the mother very brave (only receiving 12s. 6d. grant) but she spoke like one who was crushed by her trouble and being beaten by misfortune. In December, 1916, the eldest son, aged eighteen, died from rapid consumption caused, the doctor said, by insufficient nourishment. November 25th, 1917: Mrs. R. is struggling along and managing to live, but it is very hard work and she and the children often run short of necessaries. An Uncle now shares the rent. The great drawback is the delicacy of the children. [This is probably Mrs Reinecke - son Charles Francis buried Douglas Bourough Cem age 17 3 Dec 1916 - husband? Francis S. T. Reinecke has a brief stay in Douglas Camp (D5508) having been transferred from Knockaloe on 27 May 1918 and then transferred back on 4 March 1919 on the closure of Douglas Camp- An Annie Reinecke, with husband at Knockaloe, is noted in a list of aliens as residing at 2 Auckland Grove Douglas]
CAMP CASE 7926 ; DISTRICT, B.
Mother and six children, fourteen, twelve, ten, seven, four, four.
Mrs. B. is Bristol-born and has six children, the eldest is just fourteen and a cripple by spinal mal-growth. He was very ill at Christmas and the medical report, I understand, was consumption of the spine. Plenty of fresh air and milk were imperative and although he is attending the cripple school again, he is very delicate and needs much care. Mrs. B. cannot provide (out of the 3s. grant from the Guardians) for the real needs of this child. She has no means except the grant.
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