“Essentially German in feeling and made no secret of it”

Some of the foreign internees in Reading Prison were actually pro-British; others were quite the opposite.

10.8.18
B H Rohls

Naturalized British subject. Essentially German in feeling and made no secret of it. A red hot Socialist and little affection for any country, but has been prominent in showing pleasure when Germany has had any success. Was punished by order of the secretary of state for making wilfully untrue statements, & his statements regarding his cell are in keeping with his usual veracity.

The cell he occupied when he lost privilege of association and other privileges was one of the reception cells. It had not been occupied since it was whitewashed a few months previously and was one of the identical cells occupied by the Irish prisoners when here, and with which they were quite satisfied.

After they left all the cells were whitewashed. He is naturally a dirty, untidy man, and the Warder in charge of his landing has frequently to check him on this account. I may add that he was visited in the cell he complains about daily both by the Medical Officer and myself. The mattress, pillow, towels &c, were his own, taken from his own cell.

C M Morgan
Governor

10.8.1918
R Koch

Prisoner appears to be born of German parents in England – educated in Germany – lived most of his life in England.

From his letters, his parents & a majority of relations live in Germany.

States that he has always considered himself British.

His brother was killed fighting for Germany. Has expressed no opinions here.

C M Morgan
Gov

[to]
The Commissioners

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

Who are Frauleins Maria and Anna Hemmerle?

Internees were allowed to keep some contact with friends and relations, but the authorities kept a close eye on everyone.

Place of Internment
Reading

30th April 1918

R. Koch
2.10.15 S of S Order, Defence of the Realm Regn: Internment

The above named Alien was visited yesterday the 29th inst: by Miss D. Shain (friend) of 56 Gladstone Avenue, Wood Green, N.

The conversation was of private and family affairs.

C M Morgan
Governor
[to] The Commissioners

30th April 1918
Reading PI

Two letters from the War Office are enclosed having reference to certain correspondence that is taking place between Albert Hemmerle in your custody and – Bushe interned at the Cornwallis Road, Islington, with one Fraulein Maria Hemmerle, together with a letter written by Bushe to this latter person.

Please question Hemmerle on the following points:

1. Who are Frauleins Maria and Anna Hemmerle, where do they live, and who do they live with?
He should then be asked
2. Who is the Widow Hasler?
3. Who is Johann Ulrick Wohlwerk?
4. Where does the Hemmerle family live?

The letter written by Bushe may be shown to him after he has answered.

J F Wall
Report attached:
Place of Internment
Reading

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

Potatoes and Passover

David Stad was a Dutch salesman aged 27 when he arrived at Reading in January 1916. He was the only Jewish internee.

2 April 1918
R. Koch
2.10.15 S. of S. Order, Defence of the Realm Regn: Internment
The above named Alien was visited yesterday the 1st by Miss D. Thain (friend), of 56 Gladstone Avenue, Wood Green, N.
The conversation was friendly and of personal affairs. The Alien stated he was in good health.
C M Morgan
Governor
[to] The Commissioners

2nd April 1918
D. Stad
17.7.15 S of S Order, Defence of the Realm Regn: Internment
The above named Alien was visited yesterday by Miss Wolfe of 136 Oxford Road, Reading, daughter of the Jewish Rabbi for Reading.
The conversation was about the way he should carry out the rites of the Passover.
C M Morgan
Governor
[to] The Commissioners

2 April 1918
Garden
Have the Commissioners any objection to the garden officer, Warder Coates, having a suit of drill and pair of old boots temporarily, and working in the prison garden? I have one prisoner on medical grounds and another prisoner part time at work – but Mr Coates has volunteered to work himself with them in order to get in the potatoes. This would be better than a larger party who only talk and smoke – besides saving the pay of the other prisoners.
C M Morgan
Gov.
[to] The Commissioners
PS We have suitable stuff in store.

[They received an immediate reply permitting it as a special case.]

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)

An internee tries to join the army

Internee Rudolph Koch was admitted to Reading Prison in January 1916, aged 25. He was a lace agent born in London, but presumably of German parentage.

22nd Feby 1918
R Koch
2.10.15 S of S Order, Defence of the Realm Regulation: Internment

The above named Alien was visited yesterday by Miss Doris Thain of 56 Gladstone Avenue, Wood Green, N.

The conversation was of personal and family matters. Prisoner told his visitor he had petitioned to join the Army, but had been informed his request could not be granted.

Governor
[To]
The Commissioners

Reading Prison [Place of Internment] letter book (P/RP1/8/2/1)