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Saturday 28 October 1916 - Labour shortage

Category World War I: Prisoners of War in Evesham
The Evesham Journal
Transcription of article


This Tribunal sat at the Board Room on Wednesday, when members present were Messrs. J. Smithin (chairman), C.A. Binyon, T. Bubb, F. Cope, J.H. Bomford, and A.R. Williams. Mr E. C. Cholmondeley was the military representative and Mr A. Butler attended in the interests of agriculture and market gardening. There were fifty-one cases on the list.

At the commencement of the proceedings Mr Cholmondeley referred to the large number of exemptions granted at the last meeting of the Tribunal. He knew it was very difficult for market gardeners with perhaps 5 acres of ground to go on service, because in some cases there would be no one left to keep the ground in order. He would like the Tribunal to consider whether it would not be possible for a committee of market gardeners to be formed in every parish or other suitable area to look after the land of men who joined the Army. They could at least keep it clean, and if the committee of gardeners was composed of men whom everybody could trust, those who went on service would feel more satisfied about their land. He knew there was a difficulty about labour, and he suggested that it might be possible to get Germans who were prisoners of war in this country to do work of this kind. The soldiers who were prisoners of war in Germany were made to work. He thought it might be arranged that prisoners of war might be sent down in gangs of ten, or whatever number the War Office considered suitable, so that they could be looked after by a few guards. By employing a gang on a small holding the whole of the work could be done very quickly, and then this gang could be moved to another holding. The men would have to be paid; but if they received 10s per week this would be only half the sum that local labour would cost even if it were procurable. It might be found desirable to grown corn on some of the holdings; and if this were done the food supply of the nation would be appreciably assisted.

The Chairman thought there would be difficulties as to capital.

Mr Binyon and Mr Bubb expressed doubts as to the feasibility of the scheme, and the Tribunal took no action.

The Tribunal asked the Press to state that they thought all men should go before the Medical Board before coming before the Tribunal.