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)

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)

“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)

German PoW on the run “is alleged to have drawn a formidable looking dagger (which was afterwards discovered in a rick where the fugitives had been hiding”

Three Germans PoWs on the run were foiled by the brave actions of a Berkshire policeman and three Special Constables.

6 July 1918

CHIEF CONSTABLE

Lt-Col Poulton attended the Committee and stated that he had been absent from his Police work for three years, and he thought it was time he returned to such work; that his Army work was now so organized that it could be easily carried on by some other officer; and that he had now reached the age of 60; and suggested that the Secretary of State be asked to apply to the War Office for his relase from Army Service to enable him to resume his duties as Chief Constable of the County, as from 31 August, 1918.

Resolved:
That the Secretary of State be asked to make the application to the war Office as suggested.

Resolved also on the motion of the Chairman [J. Herbert Benyon] and seconded by Sir R. B. D. Acland, knight: That the very best thanks of the Committee be accorded to Col. Ricardo for services rendered as Acting Chief Constable.

Capture of three escaped German prisoners

The Acting Chief Constable has brought to the notice of the Sub-committee the action of PC 105 Reginald Jordan, stationed at Burghfield, and of Special Constables Webb, Holland and Hill, in effecting the capture of three Prisoners of War who had escaped from Bramley Camp on 24 April 1918.

PC Jordan challenged these men whom he met at Burghfield at midnight, and, finding they were foreigners, attempted to arrest them. After a struggle in which one of them is alleged to have drawn a formidable looking dagger (which was afterwards discovered in a rick where the fugitives had been hiding), the Germans succeeded in escaping, but were discovered and recaptured the following evening by PC Jordan – with the assistance of the Special Constables above-named, who had been working indefatigably all day in search of them.

The Military authorities sent £4.10s.0d as a reward, which was apportioned as follows: PC 105 Jordan, £2; Sergeant Taylor (who had also assisted) and the three Special Constables, 12s.6d each.

MOTOR CARS

The two motor cars which were so kindly placed at the disposal of the Superintendent at Maidenhead and Wokingham at the commencement of the war by the late Mr Erskine have now been returned to the present owner, Mrs Luard of Binfield Grove, and I beg to recommend that a letter expressing the gratitude of this Committee for the use of the cars, which have been of very great value to the Police, be sent to that lady.

I should also like to take this opportunity of referring to the loss sustained to the Force by the death of the late Marquis of Downshire, who, as a Special Constable from the commencement of the war, had kindly placed his valuable time and the use of his two cars (free of any charge) at the disposal of the Superintendent of the Wokingham Division, and by this means saved the County a great deal of expense.

I recommend that a letter be written to the present Marquis from this Committee, expressing regret at the death of his father, and its appreciation of his generous services.

The present Marquis of Downshire has very kindly placed his car at the disposal of the Superintendent at Wokingham on condition that the County keeps the car insured, [and] pays the licence duty and cost of running.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

“His cell being fungus covered and full of dry rot”

Internee Bernard Rohls was causing more trouble for prison staff. Were his complaints justified? But this was nothing to the fears that a new imflux of dangerous Irish veterans of the Easter Rising two years earlier might pose.

Place of Internment
Reading
20 May 1918

B H Rohls
23.3.16 S of S Order
Defence of the Realm Regn: Internment

The above interned Prisoner who is undergoing 21 days forfeiture of privileges asks that he may be visited by his own medical man from London, his reasons being:

Health.

His cell being fungus covered and full of dry rot – wet and many other things.

He is in an ordinary reception cell – which is clean and dry.

He has been seen by the Medical Officer, Dr Freeman, who is away on 10 days leave, and also by Dr Lambert who has acted as Medical Officer here for many years in the absence of Dr Freeman.

Report from Dr Lambert attached.

He was awarded 21 days by order of the Secretary of State.

C M Morgan
Governor
[to] The Commissioners

20th May 1918
B R Rohls

The above named interned prisoner has been under my observation since 14th May.

The state of his health is in my opinion as follows:

I. He is a distinctly neurotic & emotional man.

II. He shows physical signs of rheumatism of joints in the past. Has astories [sic] also, show signs of degeneration.

As regards his statements as to the condition of his cell – I have examined it, and I do not find any evidence of the presence of fungus or dampness in it. The cell is well ventilated and well lighted.

I have no grounds whatever for objecting to B R Rohls being visited by his own doctor. In my opinion, however, the case is not one for which a consultation is needed.

G O Lambert, MD, pro W T Freeman, MD (MO, H M Prison, Reading).

20 May 1918
Reading PI

Among the Irish prisoners who are being removed to England for internment, are several who were in custody under PS in Lewes Prison and took part in the mutiny there. It is to be expected therefore that the prisoners coming to your prison will combine together to resist orders, and steps should be taken by you to have an adequate staff present whenever they are out of their cells. To assist you in this matter the Secretary of State is asking the War Office Authorities to grant you a Military Guard and you should approach the local Commanding Officer to supply you with such a Guard as you may think necessary in anticipation of orders which he will receive from the War Office. You can arrange with him as to the number etc.
Please report the result.

[signature]
Secretary

[Added in Governor C M Morgan’s hand:]

The men will come out of their cells from 7 am to 7.45 pm continuously. No information as to arrival has been received.

My staff will allow of one officer being there on week days – none on Saturday afternoons or Sunday. I shall have to call in officers who will be repaid time I cannot say I have.

My present staff is today 7 short of what would be used for ordinary prisoners in normal times, who are locked up in most cases 22 out of 24 hours. I have arranged for a guard and request instructions as to the extent they may be used in case of the trouble the Commissioners anticipate occurring.

CM Morgan

[reply:]
The Military Guard should be used for sentry purposes & for exercising force in the event of an outbreak.

A J Wall
Sec:
24-5-18

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

Hunger strike due to bad temper

The Schraplowsky saga rumbled on.

Place of Internment, Reading
4 May 1918

Sir

I have the honour to report with reference to letter … dated 3 May 1918 that the hunger strike of Herman von Schraplowsky had nothing to do with the reasons of his internment or nationality but was due to temper.

On 9th April he wrote an impertinent letter to his wife regarding the Medical Officer and his treatment. I informed him that he could not utilise his letters for that purpose – that he could not write the letter – and that if he had any grievance against his medical treatment he could see me, or he could petition on the point if not satisfied with my decision. He was rather impertinent saying he would write just what he liked. I stopped the letter.

At his next visit on 20th April, he referred to this to his visitor. I attached the letter in question to the report of the visit to the Prison Commissioners – all visits are reported.
On 24th April he again wrote and the letter was improper. I awarded him 10 days forfeiture of privileges on no 2 diet. He then went on hunger strike. In accordance with standing orders the Medical Officer reported the case to the Prison Commissioners at the expiration of 48 hours. And as the man is excitable with an exceedingly bad temper, added that it might be necessary to forcibly feed him, but that as he weighed close on 200 lbs, it would not hurt him to go a bit longer.

On 27th April, as the Chairman of the Visiting Committee called at the Prison, I suggested that he should go and see Shraplowsky without me – he did so. Schraplowsky turned his back on him and refused to speak.

I then tried a method of my own, and had some onions fried over his cell, and when the smell was at its best had then placed with potatoes in his cell. In a few minutes he was eating everything at hand.

He was not forcibly fed – neither was he confined to bed.

I have not under the circumstances informed him as to your letter today regarding his nationality, but when I visited him this morning I asked him in conversation the questions, and his reply is that he is a Russian Pole, and that he would not go to Germany, but to Poland or to Switzerland where his wife comes from.

I may add that he completed his ten days today and his conduct is normal, in fact civil.

I have the honour to be
Sir

Your obedient servant
C M Morgan, Governor

[to]The Secretary of State, Home Office

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

Hunger striker is a big fat man

Alarmed by the story of internee Schraplowsky’s hunger strike, the authorities wondered if he had been force fed before the fried onions trick, while another troublesome inmate needed sanctioning.

30th April 1918
Reading P.I.

With reference to the petition of Bernard H. Rohls and your report which accompanied it, the Secretary of State is of opinion that the prisoner should be punished for making such untrue statements. Please state what punishment you suggest should be [illegible].
[signature]
Secretary

As this man has repeatedly brought untrue accusations against Warders & other prisoners, I would suggest forfeiture of privileges for 21 or 28 days and a severe warning. Forfeiture of privileges would not affect his dietary, with the exception of preventing him from buying in the Canteen or outside.

It would entail forfeiture of letters, stamps, newspapers, writing, association, and his exercise would be 2 hours a day instead of being practically unlimited during hours from 8.40 -12 noon, 1.45-5 pm, 5.25 pm – 7.40.

CM Morgan
Governor
2-5-18

2.5.18
[to] The Governor, Reading P.I.
It has been decided to approve of your recommendation. You are therefore authorised to deprive Rohls of all privileges for 21 days and to warn him strictly, informing him of the reason why he is punished.

J F Wall
Secretary 10-5-18

[to]The Gov, Reading P of I
If this man [Schraplowsky] was forcibly fed please furnish the particulars called for on enclosed form.
AJW
Sec 1-5-18

Prisoner was not forcibly fed.

He went on hunger strike after breakfast – 24.4.18 until afternoon of 27-4-18. He is a big fat man and the M.O. decided he might remain until morning of 28th when he should feed him. However prisoner gave in as reported.

A report from M.O. was forwarded on 26-4-18.

C M Morgan
Gov

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

Decided to send him back to America

Alfred Egbert Whisperry, formerly Wurzburg, was a journalist from the USA with German ancestry. He had been at Reading since 1915, when he was 24. He must have been relieved to be going home at last.

2 March 1918
Reading PI

Please inform Alfred Wurzburg & Whisperry that the Secretary of State has decided, after communication with the American Authorities, to revoke the Internment Order under which he is now detained, and to send him back to America.

Please therefore transfer this man to Brixton Prison in order that he may be handed over to the police when called for. The Governor there should note this instruction.

[Faded signature]
Secretary
Noted at Reading Place of Internment. He will be transferred to Brixton Prison on Tuesday the 5th inst:

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

Unskilled single men are permitted to escape service

The Board of Guardians of Abingdon Poor Law Union, who would have to pick up the pieces when families fell on hard times, wanted to see married men with families left at home to support their children.

27th December 1916

A circular letter is read from the clerk to the Hammersmith Union enclosing the following resolution recently passed by that Board with reference to the action of the Recruiting Authorities in calling to the Army married men with families, and it is resolved that the Board do approve of the resolution and that a copy thereof be forwarded to the Secretary of State for War, the Chairman of the Man Power Board and the local Members for Parliament.

That this Board views with concern the action of the Recruiting Authorities in calling to the Army married men with families who invariably have heavy business and domestic responsibilities, whilst unskilled single men are permitted to escape service, and respectfully begs to call the attention of the War Office and the Man Power Board to the urgent necessity of calling to the colours all single men of military age classified fit for general service or garrison duty abroad, as it is believed that by doing so a very important economy in the National Finance, both now and after the war, will be effected.

Minutes of Abingdon Board of Guardians G/A1/32