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Saturday 5 May 1917 - Allegations against German prisoners unfounded

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


Mr W A Fisher (chairman of the Evesham sub-committee) attended and presented a report upon the allegation that the German prisoners had removed the eyes out of seed potatoes. This stated that the statement appeared in a South Wales paper, and when communicated with, the name of their correspondent was given, but he declined to furnish the name of his informant, who was said to live in the Evesham district. The sub-committee asked that the report should be denied. The prisoners had only planted about 2cwt of potatoes on one garden, and the potatoes had been uncovered and the seed was found to be perfect. The sub-committee stated that this and other rumours in circulation were detrimental to the men, and they were of opinion that steps should be taken under the Defence of the Realm regulations to stop these false reports.

Mr Fisher said the sub-committee thought that perhaps some of the smallholders who were desired for the Army had spread the report, so that the German prisoners should not be used on their holdings.

The committee directed that the South Wales Press, responsible for the publication of the statement, should be asked to deny it, and the local press were specially asked to publish the denial also.


During last week the most circumstantial and at the same time totally untrue stories were in circulation all over the country that the German prisoners employed at Evesham were returning the kindness and consideration being shown them by cutting out the eyes of potatoes they were planting, destroying plum blossom, and in other ways rendering the yield of vegetables and fruit from the ground they were working on as small as possible. The slightest consideration showed the idiocy of the reports, but the papers who published the rumours know nothing about gardening, and apparently care little so that they have a story. Full opportunity was taken at a meeting of the Worcestershire Food Production Committee on Saturday to deny the reports in detail. Those who spread such reports should bear in mind the powers the executive possess under the Defence of the Realm Act are very far-reaching, and that the penalties for offences thereunder are heavy.