“The War Office had not even the common courtesy to say thank you”

The Superintendent at Broadmoor felt unappreciated for his organisation’s contribution to the care of insane PoWs. This complaint elicited a hasty letter of gratitude on 16 November.

3rd November 1919

Dear Major Wells

With regard to the enclosed I don’t know exactly what manner of report may be required, but I have neither the time nor inclination to go further in the matter.

In 1916 I undertook to relieve Netley Hospital of the care & treatment of their German Insane Patients, a job that was not at all congenial & which apparently nobody else would look at.

Later on the War Office, without consulting me on the subject, by telegram gave orders that I should undertake the duty & responsibility of repatriating the German Insane via Boston, not only from this Hospital but from others, the patients being sent on here for review and dispersal. I made no demur but carried on all this extra gratuitous work in addition to my own heavy civil duties which had to be performed with all my very able-bodied staff on active service.

Result, I am gazetted out of the army without remark & the War Office had not even the common courtesy to say thank you.

Under the circumstances I feel I am under no obligation whatever to render further gratuitous service to the War Office, altho’ the material might be forthcoming.

These remarks refer entirely to the War Office; the DMS Staff at Aldershot were always kindly, helpful & courteous, & Major General Browne was complimentary in acknowledgement of the work performed.

Yours faithfully

[Dr Baker
file copy not signed.]

Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

There is no ground for complaint by German Prisoners of War

It looks as if some insane PoWs who had been treated at Broadmoor later complained about the conditions. The authorities disagreed.

Crowthorne War Hospital
Berks

12th July 1918

From Officer i/c Crowthorne War Hospital
To DDMS Aldershot

German Prisoners of War

With reference to your telephonic communication of today’s date I have the honour to state that there has been no insufficiency of warm clothing or lack of heat in this Institution.

There is no ground for complaint by German Prisoners of War who have left this Hospital.

[File copy not signed, but the letter is from Dr Baker]

Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

Clothing prisoners

Dr John Baker, Superintendent of Broadmoor Hospital, which doubled as Crowthorne War Hospital for mentally ill PoWs, wanted to make sure that men leaving his care were warmly dressed for their winter journey home. Following this letter, they were issued with coats, underwear, braces and neck comforters.

Crowthorne War Hospital
Berks
5th November 1917

From Officer i/c Crowthorne War Hospital
To DDMS Aldershot

Seven insane German Prisoners of War have been recommended for repatriation. I understand that they will be removed shortly. The clothing in which some of these Prisoners arrived at the Hospital was in some cases either bad or defective. I shall be glad to be favoured with any instructions that may exist with regard to the clothing of Prisoners on repatriation or some guidance in the matter especially as to whether deficiencies may be made good from Hospital stock or otherwise.

[File copy not signed]

Letter from Dr Baker, Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

A Swiss doctor checks up on Broadmoor

A Swiss diplomat planned to inspect the treatment of mentally ill German PoWs.

Swiss Legation
German Division
9, Carlton House Terrace
London, SW1

August, 1st, 1917

Sir,

As representative of the Swiss Legation, which has charge of the German interests in this country, I have been visiting prisoners of war camps and hospitals in the United Kingdom, and should very much like to visit your hospital within the next fortnight.

I should be very glad if you will let me know whether you have any objection to my visit.

I would add for your information that I am a Medical man.

I am, Sir,

Your obedient servant

F. Schwyzer
Special Attache
[to] The Medical Officer-in-Charge
Military Hospital
Crowthorne

Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

“The Germans may try to send poison to German Prisoners of war in order to contaminate water supplies”

Broadmoor, acting as a war hospital for metally ill PoWs, received the following warning. Was this ridiculous hysteria, or was there a genuine threat?

War Office
London SW1

20th June 1917

Sir,

I am commanded by the Army Council to inform you that information has been received from General Headquarters, British Armies in France, that the Germans may try to send poison to German Prisoners of war in order that the latter may contaminate water supplies etc.

I am to request that, in the event of any suspicious enclosures being found in parcels of Prisoners of War, the Commandant of the Prisoners of War Camp shall pass them to the Medical Officer for examination and analysis.

I am,
Sir,
Your obedient servant,
B B Cubitt

[to]
General Officers
Commanding-in-Chief at Home.
Copies to Commandants, Prisoners of War Camp.
Commandant, Crowthorne War Hospital, Wellington College.

Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

Promoting the economical use of foods

The Education Committee was at the forefront of war savings schemes locally. School were also to be used to promote changes in people’s habits with regards to food and cookery given the food shortages resulting from the war.

Report of Berks War Savings Committee

The War Savings Committee submit the following report of their work since the report to the July meeting of the Education Committee:

In accordance with the powers given to them on appointment, the following additional members have been co-opted:

Mr G F Slade
Mr T Skurray

During July and August last… Local Committees for War Savings came into being at Abingdon, Windsor and Maidenhead. Since that date, as a result of public meetings addressed by Miss Fraser of the National War Savings Committee and the Education Secretary, Local Committees have been started at Pangbourne, Thatcham, Newbury, Wallingford, Bracknell, Hungerford and Wokingham. Up to the 31 March, War Savings Associations have been established under the control of these Local Committees as follows:

Abingdon, with 6 Associations

Wallingford, 15 Associations

Pangbourne, 4 Associations

Hungerford, 7 Associations

Newbury, 15 Associations

Thatcham, 5 Associations

Wokingham, 13 Associations

Windsor

Maidenhead, 32 Associations

Bracknell, 13 Associations

As a general rule, these local committees deal only with their immediate areas, but efforts are being made by the National War Savings Committee to secure the extension of their activities to the surrounding parishes; e.g. the Associations of Marcham and Moulsford are affiliated to the Abingdon and Wallingford Local Committees respectively, and the War Savings Associations at the Cookham, Alwyn Road Council School, and Clewer S. Stephen’s School are affiliated to the Maidenhead and Windsor Local Committees respectively, whilst the Earley CE School War Savings Association is affiliated to the Reading Central Committee.

The Associations in connexion with Windsor Castle and the Broadmoor Asylum are affiliated directly with the National Committee.

The number of War Savings Associations (in addition to the above) in the Rural Parishes formed up to the 31 March, is 56; at least one half of these are in connexion with the schools….

The average amount saved by each Association during the quarter January to March, 1917, is £217. These figures do not include the grouped Associations, and relate only to the smaller Rural Associations, where the opportunities to save are less than in the larger centres of population.

The Berks Teachers’ Association officials in January consented to help in the work, and have been successful in arousing and maintaining interest in the movement. Messrs Camburn, James and Fryer, in particular, have done most valuable service.

The National War Savings Committee have been invited by the Ministry of Food to assist in the Food Economy Campaign, and the Berks War Savings Committee have had before them the Central Committee’s suggestions for Local Authorities and War Savings Committees, and in conjunction with the School Management Sub-committee, they have approved the arrangements embodied in the following memorandum:

FOOD CAMPAIGN

The Food Controller, in conjunction with the National War Savings Committee, has suggested that “Under the auspices of the Education Authorities a Conference might be called in every area with a view to enlisting the enthusiastic support and active help of teachers. In the case of ordinary schools, the children will form a means of securing the interest of the parents, and invitations to meetings and special classes can be issued through them. The Domestic Science teachers will be wanted to take charge of such classes.

After consultation with HM Inspector, the following preliminary Scheme has been drafted:

That the Instructresses be instructed to modify their syllabus with a view:

To promote the economical use of foods of which there is an available supply in the locality.

To prepare specimen menus for family use based on the above, with notes on the quantities required to give a proper diet.

To arrange to have the cooked meals on view after the lessons, so that the mothers can see them and ask questions.

To confer with the Head Teachers of the neighbouring schools as to the best way of spreading useful information among the parents of children not in attendance at the Centres, either by inviting visits which could be regarded as object lessons or by co-operating in drawing up a scheme for simple instruction in the schools.

It is to be noted that:

While it is important to keep the full record of all meals and their cost, it is not to be expected that the employment of substitutes will effect any substantial saving in cost, as the price of substitutes must rise as the standard foods become scarce.

It is most important to give guidance as to the feeding of children, as in some families there may be a tendency to reduce the food value of their meals.

Where milk is obtainable, it will be very useful to emphasise its uses in cookery.

It is hoped to hold a conference as soon as the Instructresses have drawn up their Scheme, and it is most important that the scheme should be prepared as soon as possible.

This Conference was held on the 20th April and the preliminary steps have been already taken to start work.

Report of Education Finance Sub-committee

The Sub-committee have arranged with certain employees on Military Service, who were receiving allowances from the Committee, to invest on their behalf part of their allowances in War Savings Certificates.

Reports to Berkshire Education Committee, 28 April 1917 (C/CL/C1/1/20)

Missing Red Cross parcels

Dr Baker, Medical Superintendent at Broadmoor, now also operating as the Crowthorne War Hospital for mentally ill German PoWs, wrote to Lieutenant Colonel Whitestone to report on the overcrowding he was experiencing:

Crowthorne War Hospital
Berks

15th Janry 1917
Sir,

… I have now to report that there are 26 patients in the Hospital. In addition I have accepted another from Jersey. The ward will be inconveniently crowded and in the interests both of discipline and treatment I would strongly recommend the opening of the second ward. I trust that this recommendation will meet with approval and that sanction will be obtained for the provision of extra Orderlies.

Owing to the conditions above described I have today felt compelled to decline for the present another insane prisoner of War from Jersey.

I have the honour to be,
Sir,

Your obedient servant
[File copy not signed]

Dr Baker also received a letter relating to parcels sent to the prisoners which had gone astray somewhere:

Prisoners of War Relief Agency
20, Queen’s Gate Terrace
London, SW

January 15th, 1917

[to] The Commanding Officer
Crowthorne War Hospital
Berks

Dear Sir,

Thank you very much indeed for your kind letter of the 14th inst. in the meantime P/W Bergmann had also informed me of the safe arrival of parcel No. 6724, and I trust that the missing 10 parcels from the German Red Cross have also reached you by now.

I shall be only too pleased to support any request you sanction and help wherever help is required.

With renewed thanks for your kind assistance.

K E Markel


Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

17 insane German Prisoners of war admitted to Broadmoor

The first group of mentally ill German PoWs arrived at Broadmoor for specialist care.

11th December 1916

Sir,

I have the honour to report that seventeen insane German Prisoners of War were admitted today from Netley Hospital.

They are located in No. 1 Block of the Asylum. This Block has been set apart for their accommodation and a separate entrance form the main road has been made.

I have the honour to be,
Sir,

Your obedient servant
[File copy not signed]
Superintendent

[to]
The Under Secretary of State
Home Office

Letter from Dr Baker, Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

Netley is pressing for the removal of the insane German soldiers

The use of Broadmoor for insane PoWs (currently all at Netley Hospital in Southampton) was inching ever closer. Broadmoor’s Superintendent, Dr James Baker, wrote:

5th November 1916
Dear Simpson

Youn may wish to know that Colonel Aldren Turner called here last week at the instance of the War Office who are apparently waking up. I am under the impression Netley is pressing for the removal of the insane German soldiers. He was very satisfied with the accommodation. I told him it was too good for the purpose. I informed him all I required was a week’s notice to make a new entrance from the main road. I do not care to pull the wall about until things are definitely settled. I received a letter from him yesterday saying he had presented his report, that the question of orderlies was being put in hand, that Foulerton and I would probably get an outfit allowance of £20 (the usual allowance is £30) but as they have apparently conceded the principle, we shall not quarrel about the amount, which should suffice.

He added in his letter that he had meant to discuss the question of the reception of insane German Officers, but he had forgotten to mention it to me. This will be rather a difficult matter as one does not know whether it will entail extra expense and further financial negotiations. However if the matter comes up and you agree, I think I had better see the War Office people about it. Of course I told Colonel Turner we could not move here until Treasury sanction was obtained.

Yours very truly
[signature missing from file copy]

Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

We do not intend to disparage the uniform

Dr Baker, Medical Superintendent of Broadmoor, and his assistant Dr Foulerton were willing to work with German PoWs for no extra pay – but they did want to have any extra expenses, like RAMC uniforms, provided for them.

27th October 1916
Dear Simpson

I am returning you the War Hospital papers in case you require them for reference. I have copies.

It would hardly be correct to say that Foulerton and I do not wish to wear uniform. That might imply disparagement of the uniform, a feeling which certainly neither of us entertain. The point is simply that if the War Office require us to wear uniform, and it is probably necessary in their view for disciplinary purposes, they ought in common fairness, to make us some sort of allowance as they do in other cases. As I said before we are willing to do the work without extra emoluments and I am glad to think that the attitude on the part of the Staff is appreciated….

Yours very truly
[File copy not signed]

Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

“The War Office still cling to the view that a Criminal Lunatic Asylum is not good enough for a Bosch prisoner of war”

There was concern at the top that there might be some stigma attached to sending insane prisoners of war to Broadmoor, which normally only housed the criminally insane.

Home Office
Whitehall
SW

24th October 1916

Dear Baker

We have not yet got Treasury sanction for the use of the vacant block as a military hospital. It is really for [the] War Office to hurry up if they want it, not for us. I understood from Mr Sayer that neither you nor Dr Foulerton wish to wear uniform. I propose therefore when we get Treasury sanction and tell War Office they can get the block, to tell them also,

1. That the Secretary of State cannot ask you to supply yourselves with a uniform and assumes that they do not desire you to wear one. I have telephoned something to this effect already, but of course there seems to be more than one Department of War Office concerned and the question has to go the round!

2. That before they take possession they should send down someone to settle what clothing, crockery and cutlery will be required. Personally I should be inclined to deprecate the idea that anything marked “BCLA” is tabu. That may have been all very well at the beginning of the war, but we are long past that stage by now. If the War Office still cling to the view that a Criminal Lunatic Asylum is not good enough for a Bosch prisoner of war, I am inclined to think they should pay for it. What we offer is merely what we provide for present inmates…

I was very glad to hear from Mr Sayer that he believed all the staff at Broadmoor on whom new work will fall are most ready to do it without extra pay. He will probably have a good deal of trouble as well as you and Dr Foulerton, and it is very gratifying to find this is accepted so cheerfully.

Yours very truly,
H B Simpson

Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

“I don’t see why there should be any class distinction between officers and men”

There had been concerns that Broadmoor could not provide separate accommodation for officers and other ranks, as was the custom in prisoner of war camps. The doctors didn’t see the problem, seeing the men all as patients in need of their care.

I don’t see why there should be any class distinction between officers and men any more than in other asylums – but it is for WO to decide this….

HBS 19.9.16

Letter from H B Simpson, to Dr Baker, Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

Safety knives for insane PoWs

Dr John Baker, Medical Superintendent of Broadmoor, had some concerns about aspects of the use of the hospital for insane PoWs.

Broadmoor C L Asylum
13th Septr 1916
Dear Simpson

I am enclosing a memo with reference to various points in connection with the proposed new Military Hospital, which I would be glad to get cleared up before the next meeting of the Council of Supervision, which takes place on Thursday the 21st inst….
Yours very truly
John Baker

Crowthorne Military Hospital

NAME. The most appropriate name would be “The Crowthorne Military Hospital”. There is a local voluntary hospital in the vicinity called the Heatherside Military Hospital, Wellington College.

BEDS, BEDDING, CLOTHING, FURNITURE, FUEL & LIGHT. We can supply all that is required, but the crockery is stamped “Broadmoor Asylum” and the cutlery is stamped “Broadmoor” or “BCLA”. If objection is taken to the use of these, perhaps they could be supplied from Army Stores. I would prefer to use the Asylum cutlery marked BCLA because, for the use of dangerous or suicidal patients, we have a special safety knife and fork…

If both officers and men are included amongst the patients, I would point out that it will be difficult to separate them without opening another ward, which means a larger staff, and there is only one airing court available.

JB

Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

A Military Hospital for mentally-affected German prisoners

There was more on the idea of using Broadmoor for insane PoWs.

2 September 1916
The Board of Control
66 Victoria Street, SW

My dear Simpson

With reference to the memorandum which I left with you on Thursday evening respecting the proposed use of a wing of Bmoor as a Military Hospital for mentally-affected German prisoners, it occurs to me that the Council of Supervision may think we are not showing them proper consultation if we allow the project to approach final settlement without consulting them officially. If you agree I would suggest that a communications should go to them from the Home Office. The War Office will probably approach you soon on the question of the financial and administrative arrangements to be made for running the Block as a Military Hospital: we have told them that the Home Office is the supreme authority over Bmoor….

As you know the Visiting Committee of County and Borough Asylums which have become War Hospitals continue to carry on the general work of administration of their Institutions under the supervision of Dr Marriott Cooke & Dr Bond. These Commissioners would of course be willing, if asked, to render any services desired of them in connection with Broadmoor.

Yours sincerely
W P Byrne

Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

Accommodation for insane German prisoners of War

Some prisoners of war were mentally unwell. It was suggested that perhaps they could be housed at Broadmoor.

Report of a visit by Dr Bond on 14th August 1916 to Broadmoor Asylum with the object of judging whether certain vacant accommodation is suitable for the use of insane German prisoners of War.

Under a provisional arrangement made between Sir William Byrne and Sir Edward Troup, & at the request of the Director General of the Army Medical Service, I, on the 14th inst, paid a visit to Broadmoor Asylum, where I called upon Dr John Baker & inspected a disused block of the Institution.

The block in question has been unoccupied for the last 2 years, but, generally speaking, is in good condition & available for immediate use…

While situated within the boundary wall of the Institution, it can nevertheless easily be provided with a separate entrance from the road by making a doorway in the wall at the spot marked D on the plan [not in the file].

DESCRIPTION OF THE BLOCK.

The block comprises 3 storeys. On the ground floor are 16 single rooms for patients, 2 attendants’ rooms, a scullery, bath-room, and a small sanitary spur. All these rooms are repeated on the first and second floors; but on each of these 2 floors are 2 day rooms… Each floor is provided with an alternative exit in case of fire.

There is thus accommodation in the block for 48 patients…

OBSCURING OF WINDOWS.

The window panes in the lower sashes of windows in the corridors and day rooms would have to be obscured if it is desired to prevent the inmates of the block from seeing the patients in other divisions….

Dr Baker is very short of attendants for the wards & would be quite unable to find staff for the block, but thinks he would be able to loan 2 experienced & trained men, one to act as charge attendant & the other to act as deputy charge attendant of the block, provided 2 inexperienced men were given him in lieu. It would thus be necessary for the War Office to supply whatever number of orderlies is required.

SUGGESTED NAME OF PROPOSED HOSPITAL.

It is suggested that if the block in question be handed over to the War Office the name & address of the new hospital should be either: Crowthorne Military Hospital, Crowthorne, Berks, or in the event of “Crowthorne” being already the name of a local hospital used for sick & wounded soldiers, Owlsmoor Military Hospital, Crowthorne, Berks….

SUGGESTIONS RELATING TO THE STAFF THAT WOULD BE REQUIRED

That Dr Baker & Dr Foulerton each receive a commission in the RAMC.

That two or three of the present more experienced attendants should be made non-commissioned officers & given the responsible positions in the block; & that orderlies to the necessary number be supplied by the War Office….

C Hubert Bond
Commissioner of the Board of Control

Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)