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
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
[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:

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.

Prison Comm.
[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

C M Morgan
Gov 9/9/18

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

“I feel no end of a fellow”

Percy continued to make progress.

Bed 8, Florence Ward
St Thomas Hosp[ital]
Sep 5, 1918

My dear WF

This morning I strolled upon the balcony and admired the view, and as I got out of bed, clothed and lung myself without assistance. I feel no end of a fellow.

My kit has just arrived, so tonight I shall have all the excitement of going through it and seeing of how much I have been robbed.
Mrs Curtis came to see me yesterday, and dear Mrs Hunt the day before, with gifts of grapes and heather. Marjorie, who is going to Horace in Scotland, is coming to see me on Saturday, after which I must somehow deny myself the pleasure of that family’s society. Really my nerves are not strong enough to stand it.

Will you send me Will’s address when you have time. I want to write to him.

Sister went away on leave today for a month. On Monday she became engaged to one of the doctors here. She half told me as much yesterday, and having observed a slightly more professional attitude to us all these last few days I’m not surprised – only heartbroken. At present it’s a great secret, so don’t do any congratulating when you meet again – Nurse Kirby simply told me so that I might release part of my affections for investment elsewhere.

Did I tell you I have got past the continual thermometer stage – now I only have to hold one on my mouth at breakfast time and watch my porridge grow cold. However as I’m to be operated upon next week I am again a pulse, and once more enjoy the privilege of having my hand held each morning.

A most unsatisfactory letter. Never mind.

With my dear love to you both
Yrs ever

Letter from Percy Spencer (D/EZ177/7/7/89)

St Mark’s in Venice targetted by bombs

Cambridge don John Maxwell Image wrote to a friend abroad with thoughts on national politics. The new Lord Chancellor he disliked was Stanley Buckmaster. His Conservative rival Lord Finlay was eventually to succeed him in the post. Image also admired Lord Stanhope, another Conservative peer.

TCC [Trinity College, Cambridge]
Thursday 10 June ‘15

My Very Dear Old Man

Yours of June 4 reached me at breakfast this morning – not a very sumptuous breakfast – a plate of Quaker Oats (loathsome, because sugar verboten) and a cup of tea…

All your letters come “Opened by Censor”. One don’t know what to write. I hope he’ll pass this remark: that of all the recent Cabinet Shuffles the nastiest is perhaps the Lord Chancellorship to that short-tempered overbearing late tenant of the Censor’s chair. Even “good” Radicals (are there any such?) had expected Finlay: but it is the swagger post for screw, and the stainless patriots refused to let it go out of the party…

A message dropped from an aeroplane promises an air-raid of Zeppelins on C[ambridge] tonight. So universally is it credited that there will be disappointment if it does not come off! In all corners of Trinity College and other Colleges and the Union stand zinc pails filled with sand: and hydrants are ready for the protection of public buildings. You saw of course that in the attack on Venice last Tuesday a bomb was deliberately aimed at St Mark’s. They say the horses have been removed.

Earl Stanhope in the Lords yesterday was the finest and straightest speech yet on the Shell question, and on the Gas. He came from the Front on Saturday and goes back today.

God bless you both.

Yours affect.

Letter from John Maxwell Image, Cambridge don, to W F Smith (D/EX801/1)