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Saturday 13 April 1918 - The demeanour of German prisoners

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


That excellently informed journalist, the London correspondant of the “Birmingham Daily Post,” writing on Monday night says: “Chance has brought me into fairly frequent contact with the system under which German prisoners are used for cetain navvying and agricultural work in an area within sight of a public institution now used as an interment centre. Since the enemy advance on the Western front there has been a marked change in the demeanour of the men. Before that moverment began they were passive, docile, fairly industrious, and unobjectionable. They  now bear themselves with a new air of insolence, and it is quite easy to see that in some way or another they have got hold of an exagerrated idea of what their armies have been doing. They do not work so well, and they are passively more troublesome to ther guards. Women have complained to me of being leered at, and made very uncomfortable when meeting parties of them on the roads. In a word, the demeanour of the prisoners has changed for the worse, and a tighter discipline would seem to be called for. There is another point that  might be made in this connection. Some commandants of civilian interment camps seem to allow their guests a surprising latitude in leaving camp, provided they keep within certain distances. They congregate in village post offices and shops, and buy up supplies of which the local population has to go short. As no aliens are interned who have not been adjudged to be a danger to the State, it is not very patriotic, though it may be profitable, for shopkeepers to supply them.  Villager who cannot buy an ounce of tobacco because it has been bought up by interned German has a genuine grievance.”


There has been a considerable alteration in the demeanour of the prisoners in the Evesham District since the German offensive commenced, and there is no doubt that by some means they have got to know that all is not well with the Allies. Stories are told of the  the prisoners openly stating that although they are prisoners now the time is coming when they will be on top. The way they look and leer at women folk also is most disconcerting, and we quite agree with the correspondant quoted above that a stricter discipline is called for. By the way “ we are informed that another detachment of prisoners is coming into the neighbourhood, and is to be housed at Chapel Oak, until recently the home of Captain H and Miss Richardson. When all the best country houses of the district are given over to Germans perhaps the authorities will consider the possibility of letting them rough it a bit.