Members of Parliament stripped naked?

Even the Irish internees were being allowed short periods out on parole. The Governor of Reading Prison, not exactly a sympathiser, still refised to have them strip-searched on their return.

29 Nov 1918

F M Reynolds, Irish interned prisoner, was released on parole on 17 Nov 1918 and returned today.

No – these men on parole are not searched and the same procedure was [observed?] in [illegible] except a “special search” was made [illegible] was stripped. It would be of no use, and if this course was adopted there would be [illegible] of Members of Parliament stripped naked & c &c. Besides, these men can carry any mental messages they wish.

If the Commissioners wish it, of course I will specially search the men, but as they are on parole, I do not recommend it. At the same time, I have no doubt that many [do pass] messages & apparently written ones go [illegible].

C M Morgan
Gov
[to] The Commissioners

29th Nov 1918
Frank Reynolds

This Irish prisoner, who was released on parole on the 17th instant, returned to my custody today.

[C M Morgan]
Governor

[to] The Commissioners

29 Nov 1918
J. MacDonagh

Prisoner applied to me this morning for a petition to be released on parole on account of the illness of his brother.

He was given permission and I told him I would mark it “urgent” if the petition was sent in & he wished it.

He thanked me & left.

About 10 minutes afterwards he sent in a slip of paper requesting me to telephone to the Secretary of State and ask for him to be released on parole. I told the Warder I could not telephone to the Secretary of State, but would mark his petition urgent, and besides I had no knowledge of the case.

As no petition came from him this evening, I sent over to inquire. The reply was that as I had refused to telephone he would do nothing. I told him he could telegraph himself, but he refused.
I attach the telegram he has sent in.

C M Morgan
Gov

[to] The Commissioners

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

Advertisements

Working to be repatriated as quickly as possible

The question of hiow to repatriate internees was beginning to be considered.

HM Prison
Reading
Nov. 26. 18

From the MO to the Governor
Concerning the state of body & mind of Ion Perrocino [?].

He has maintained his weight on a special diet that I have allowed him. No doubt he feels the cold weather.

He is depressed about his internment and gets very excited when he insists upon discussing his return to Brazil.

He is evidently working to be repatriated as quickly as possible. I do not believe he will take his life or go mad.

His behaviour to myself has always been correct.

W T Freeman

Reading Prison
26 Nov 1918

Sir

Owing to the absence of Clerk & Schoolmaster Mr Stevens, through influenza, I was working alone for a fortnight, during which the error in W Horlock’s account occurred. I greatly regret the submission of this error, but I was working under considerable pressure and difficulty, and did my best to keep the office work going and to carry out what checking I could.

I am
Sir
Your obedient servant
M N Loarn
Steward

[to] The Governor

[The error related to a purchase of liberty clothing for the internees.]

HM “Place of Internment”
Reading

26th November 1918

Sir

I have the honour to acknowledge your letter … dated 21st November 1918 on the subject of the interned Alien Albert Hemmerle.

The prisoner states that the Duchy of Lichtenstein is at present in a state of revolution, but that he will write to his parents and request them to obtain from whatever form of Government there may be, the required guarantee that he will remain in Lichtenstein if deported there.

I have the honour to be
Sir
Your obedient servant

F G C M Morgan
Governor

[to] The Under Secretary of State
Home Office
London SW1

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

On the sick list with influenza

Flu continued to strike down the prison staff.

21 Nov [1918]

Temporary Officer Night Watchman Novell being on the sick list with influenza, I have appointed temporarily Mr D Wilson, a pensioned Metropolitan Police Constable, to perform the duties. Mr Wilson was employed here before the war but rejoined the Metropolitan Police about 4 years ago. He has now returned to Reading. His former employment was approved by the Commissioners.

C M Morgan

Gov
[to] The Commissioners

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

The interned Germans and pro-Germans could hardly be expected to show much enthusiasm at the defeat and downfall of the Central Powers

Not everyone in Berkshire was pleased by the outcome of the war.

18 Nov 1918

Circular no. 172 of 14.11.18.

A thanksgiving service so far as it is applicable to this Place was held at both the RC service and that conducted by the Nonconformist Minister. There is no [Anglican] Chaplain.

I requested that the service should take the form of thanksgiving for the cessation of hostilities, without any reference to Victory as the Germans and pro-Germans who compose the congregations could hardly be expected to show much enthusiasm at the defeat and downfall of the Central Powers.

C M Morgan
Gov.

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

“Services no longer required”

The end of the war meant one priosn officer had a very short time in the army.

14th Novr 1918

Warder Northam

This officer who was mobilized on the 5th instant was yesterday discharged from the Army, “services no longer required”, and he returned to Prison duties today. His Record of Service and Medical History were returned to the Head Office on the 6th instant – also the Exemption Card.

C M Morgan
Governor

[to] The Commissioners

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

Christmas cards only

Irish internees were allowed to send Christmas cards.

4.11.18
[to] Governor
Reading P of I

The Secretary of State has decided to allow the Interned Irish Prisoners to obtain a supply of Christmas and New Years cards for the purpose of sending them to their friends if they so desire. The cards must be ordered and obtained by correspondence through the censor in the ordinary manner and then the time arrives they may be sent to the friends. These cards will not count among the number of letters allowed the prisoner each week and they must carry no communication beyond the printed greetings and the signature and address of the sender.

The cards permitted should be of a simple kind & printed on glazed paper. When ready for despatch they should be examined first at the prison and then sent in bundles bearing the label “Christmas cards only” to the Chief Postal Censor.

Sd A J Wall
Sec

A copy of this has been placed in the Sinn Fein prison.

C M Morgan
Gov
11/11/18

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

There will be no volunteers during winter & spring

The authorities agreed that internees should continue to work in the prison garden – but would not let the Irish bypass the prison doctor, who they did not care for.

Commissioners’ Minute

Work in the Garden cannot be considered as the “Service of the Prison” and interned Civilians cannot be forced to work at it.

The punishment must therefore be cancelled.

JW
24.X.18

Noted.

Hitherto the service of the Place of Internment has been considered to be such things as are necessary for its ordinary upkeep, and consisted of – cooks, bakers, laundry, engineers’ party, garden party (the vegetables are grown for the Place of Internment only), cleaner, whitewashers, and this has been the practice throughout, men being paid according to the scale for each class of service approved by the Commissioners. Will the Commissioners please instruct me as to what is to be done about the garden? It grows a considerable amount of vegetables, but there will be no volunteers during winter & spring when all the digging & planting has to be carried out, and unless kept up, both it and the paths will be soon overgrown with weeds.

The garden party in the past also assisted the stoker with ashes, & in wet weather cleared out the basement.

My practice throughout has been for men to arrange for all the duties amongst themselves and no man to leave such employment until his successor is appointed.

I hope the Commissioners will not think I am saying more than I should if I say that I regret their present decision and inability to support me.

C M Morgan
Governor

25.10.18

The commissioners do not wish to alter the practice which has hitherto been in vogue at Reading, but digging etc in the garden was not included when Reg 9 was approved. As it appears to be understood that gardening is part of the upkeep of the P of I, the practice will be continued.
JW 30/10/16

25th Oct 1918

F. Thornton, Irish prisoner, applied today. He states on behalf of the Irish prisoners that Dr R. Hayes, who is an Irish internee, act as Medical Officer for them in place of the Medical Officer appointed for duty here, and that Dr Hayes be allowed to write to Ireland for his medical appliances. Drugs to be obtained from here.

Report from Medical Officer attached.

C M Morgan
Gov
[to] The Commissioners

The Commissioners are unable to sanction the proposal.
A J Wall
Sec: 30/10/18

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

“As the interned Irish prisoners refuse to put stamps on their outgoing letters, it has been decided to post them without stamps”

The officials at Reading had to give in to the Irish protests.

[to] The Gov

Please report how these [Irish] internees are now behaving. The Internees at the other Prisons have not given any trouble & it is hoped that things will improve at Reading without resorting to punishments, which would only exasperate the men & probably make things worse.

A J W
Secy
23/10/18

23rd October 1918
Reading

As the interned Irish prisoners refuse to put stamps on their outgoing letters, it has been decided to post them without stamps, and the recipients will have to pay the excess postage if they wish to have them.

The Censor has been informed accordingly, and you should send the letters to the Censor in future in the ordinary way. The two packets sent up by you have been sent on to the Censor.

A J Wall
Secy

Noted. Irish Internees informed.
Governor 25/10/18

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

Irish refuse to pay for postage

Irish internees protested against the censorship of their correspondence.

14 Oct 1918

The Irish prisoners stated today that after Monday the 21st they refused to pay for my postage of letters or parcels, as letters are not read here but sent in a covering letter to the Postal censor.

Instructions are requested.

C M Morgan
Gov
[to] The Commissioners

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

Seditious articles to be censored from Irish newspapers

A series of short exchanges reveals internees’ complaints about prison food – and their captors’ conscerns about censoring Irish news.

HM Prison
Reading
Sep. 6 1918

From the MO to the Governor

Concerning the remarks of F. Thorton, J. McDonagh and P. C. O’Mahony.

As far as I am concerned they appear to relate to complaints about the food.

I agree with your remarks. I believe the porridge to be nourishing and that it is of the same quality as is obtainable outside the prison.

I have satisfied myself from time to time as to the condition and quality of the meat. It has appeared to me to be as good as I can get at my own house.

W T Freeman, MD.

Prison Commission
HO
6-9-18
[to] The Gov
P of I Reading

Please note that correspondence between the Irish Internees in your custody and those at other prisons is forbidden: no written communication should therefore be allowed to pass between them.

Sgd W J Pond
For Sec:

Noted.
C M Morgan
The letters are not read here, but a notice to this effect has been posted in the hall where the Irish are located.
9.9.18

Prison Comm.
HO
SW1
6-9-18
[to] The Gov
P of I Reading

In the event of a copy of the “Waterford News” reaching your prison for the use of any of the Irish internees, care should be exercised that its columns are duly examined, with a view to seeing whether articles having seditious tendency appear prior to the delivery of the paper to the prisoners concerned.

Sgd A J Wall
Sec:

Noted.
C M Morgan
Gov 9/9/18

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

The Aliens are not allowed to have articles sent to them by friends – in theory

One Irish internee was for some reason regarded as one of the ordinary foreign internees, highlighting differences between the way the two groups were treated.

5 Sept 1918
J S McConnastair

Prisoner is interned with the Aliens, not with the Irish.

He can write & receive 2 letters a month, but I grant additional letters should there be any reasonable cause.

Prisoner’s statement regarding parcels is incorrect. The Aliens are not allowed to have articles sent to them by friends, except those that he mentions, but in the event of a parcel coming from abroad, it has invariably been issued. Very few are received, not one a month.

The Irish are allowed to receive parcels. All lights are extinguished 9 pm to 9.15 pm, but the Aliens grumble that the Irish have been given lights up to 9.45 pm.

He states that he has lights at Brixton till 11 pm – of this I know nothing.

There is no delay in his correspondence here.

C M Morgan

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

“I can occasionally employ a prisoner in a spare cell”

With employees off fighting, Reading Prison wanted to use internees to carry out some of the office work.

23.8.18 [in response to a government circular of that date]

Owing to the conditions under which prisoners are interned here, and to the fact that there are only two members of the clerical staff – the Steward and a clerk & schoolmaster – I do not think it desirable that a prisoner should be employed in the office. It frequently happens that both members of the clerical staff have to be out of the office – canteen – tradesmen with clothing – articles of food, etc.

I can however occasionally employ a prisoner in a spare cell, where he could do such work as checking & posting ration tickets, posting demands, “heading” books.

It would not be advisable to let him enter sums in the trial earnings book, which is a big item here – some hundreds of entries a week.

Probably he could be employed daily, for the morning. What would his rate of pay be, please?

Under normal conditions here, he could earn 14/- a week by 7 days.
Would 1/- for each half day he was employed be approved? This would not be in addition to the 14/-.

C M Morgan

[The HO replied that the pay rate was correct, but they preferred that prisoners not be used in clerical work.]

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

“Avoid anything which would give the Germans ground for retaliating on our people interned in Germany”

Internees, like prisoners, were able to earn small sums of money by working.

[18 Aug 1918, in response to a complaint]

No man is paid more than 14/- a week for any work – upkeep of Prison or Mailbag by Prison. The system approved was that one man could work for another man and be paid by that other man: the actual sum is arranged between them.

As I have never allowed men to retain money in their possession, though there was no rule against it and it is done in every other Camp, the only way men can pay another for doing the work is by transferring the agreed sum of money to him, and consequently it appears in the earnings book.

In a similar way men who were tailors bought cloth and made civilian clothes for other men who were interned, the transfer in these cases sometimes amounting to several pounds. My instructions from the Commissioners were that this place was so far as possible to be run as a Camp and not a Prison – and Prison was to be kept out of it – especially as there were over 40 prisoners of war here.

In all forms, books, writing paper &c, the word “Prison” was to be erased & the name of Trial earnings book is a misleading one. It is really a book shewing a man’s receipt of money from whatever sources, and his expenditure, which may be canteen, clothing, any outside shop, watch repairs, transferring money to another man, &c. In each case the man spending signs for the expenditure, & if it is a transfer the man receiving does the same. I only allow men to transfer or send money once a week – each Tuesday.

As this is the only Place of Internment under the Commissioners, they gave me a free hand to draw up rules as were found to be practicable by actual experience. This I have done from time to time, and had them approved by the Commissioners. A point kept in view by Mr Dryhurst, instructions being to avoid anything which would give the Germans ground for retaliating on our people interned in Germany and which would enable these men after release to say they were interned in a Prison under Prison rules.

C M Morgan
18.8.18

[to] The Gov

Please note the following modifications.

I. The practice of one Alien working for another on Governor work will cease.

II. As from the 21st inst, the maximum amount of weekly earnings may be extended to 21/- in future in individual cases at your discretion.

By order EB 19/10/18

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

“He hated Germans, who had ruined his country, Russia”

The perennially dissatisfied internee Herman von Schlapowsky was certainly not pro-German.

15 August 1918

That I spoke to Herman von Schlapowsky this morning about his health, and suggested that he might write a petition to be sent to Germany as the newspapers talked about repatriation of certain Germans.

He stated that he was not a German, and would not go to Germany or Poland or any country under German rule or in the occupation of Germans, and wished to be sent to Russia or to Switzerland, of which country his wife is a native, but he hated Germans, who had ruined his country, Russia.

C M Morgan

[to] The Under Secretary of State
Home Office

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

“Irish prisoners have been offered the blue dress & prison boots but decline both, and expect to be allowed to have ordinary clothing selected by themselves and paid for by the Commissioners”

Irish internees demanded special treatment – but the prison authorities were scared of setting precedents.

13 Aug 1918
W L Cole

Lights are extinguished at 9 pm.

Instructions have been received that gas consumption is to be reduced by one sixth. If lights are continued beyond 9 pm, which is the same as last year, the gas consumption will be increased as compared to last year and not reduced – and other men will expect the same.

Irish prisoners have been offered the blue dress & prison boots but decline both, and expect to be allowed to have ordinary clothing selected by themselves and paid for by the Commissioners. They have every opportunity of obtaining clothing from their homes, but want to make what they can. Cole is the leader of all this.

I have already reported on the subject of letters and parcels. There is no delay here.

C M Morgan
Gov.

[to] The Commissioners


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