The Telegraph Book of Readers' Letters from the Great War (10 page)

BOOK: The Telegraph Book of Readers' Letters from the Great War
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5 November 1914

PLEA FOR BELGIAN DOGS

SIR – I have just read in the
Daily Telegraph
about those unhappy dogs on some Ostend fishing smacks at Lowestoft. Could it be possible, through the columns of your valuable journal, to suggest that the Government should exempt these poor dogs (belonging to the refugees) from quarantine?
It would, indeed, be a kind act on the part of the Government at this time.

Yours faithfully,

M. Tharp

Merchistoun Hail, Swindean, Hampshire

SIR – It is with greatest regret that I note in today's issue of the
Daily Telegraph
a quotation from a letter stating that many Belgian dogs brought over by their owners, are taken from them and killed because the refugees have not the money to pay for their detention in quarantine. It is well known that the Belgians are very attached to their dogs, who labour with their owners in support of the family.

Surely the Government might supply free quarters for the dogs of these noble people who have done so much for us. I believe that Belgian dogs have drawn the light guns to the front.

Fair Play

Weymouth

6 November 1914

THE QUEEN'S THANKS

SIR – I am commanded by the Queen to express Her Majesty's grateful appreciation of the kind manner in which, through the columns of your journal, you have helped the appeal for the gift of belts and socks to the troops at the front from the Queen and the women of the Empire.

The Queen feels that the publicity afforded by the newspapers has materially assisted the generous public in so quickly bringing the Fund to a successful issue.

I am, yours faithfully,

Farquhar, Treasurer

Devonshire House, Piccadilly, W.

PRINCESS MARY'S GIFT

SIR – In response to the inquiries that have reached me as to the nature of the gift that is to be sent to our sailors and soldiers by the Princess Mary and the subscribers to her Fund, I have the pleasure of announcing that the gift will consist of a brass embossed tobacco box, a pipe, a tinder lighter, and cigarettes, and a special form of present for the Indian troops.

To make it possible for every sailor afloat and every soldier at the front to receive this token of admiration and affection at Christmas time, I venture to appeal to the public for further subscriptions.

All subscriptions should be sent to her Royal Highness Princess Mary, Buckingham Palace.

I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

Devonshire, Chairman of Committee
Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly, W.

11 November 1914

THE REAL SHIRKER

SIR – ‘One of the Cowards' has chosen a very incorrect
nom de plume
. He is not of the too numerous class of shirkers, of whom we are all getting ashamed. He must be consoled by the fact that his real grit is acknowledged. I fear, however, that the country cannot put the screw on employers, and that he will have to be contented with service at home, such as can be done whilst he is remaining in his employment. Such service is of great national value.

We have in England and Wales 5,685,175 males between the ages of nineteen and thirty-eight. Many of them are doing indispensable work in factories, foundries, mines, &c. But
what of the others, thousands of whom may have been seen in the City of London alone, and more than half of them unmarried?

The real shirker is the man of military age who has no one dependent on his earnings and who fails in the present emergency to recognise his very obvious duty to his country. If these shirkers have to be forced into the Army by compulsory measures they can never be on any equality with the true men who volunteer. The humiliation of their position will last all their lives, and the realisation of it will become more acute as they get older. War with all its misery has some compensations, not the least of which is that we get near the true perspective of things.

Yours, &c.,

An Old Soldier

1 December 1914

MR KEIR HARDIE

SIR – You gave prominence in your issue on Saturday to a paragraph stating that Mr Keir Hardie declares, ‘I have never said or written anything to dissuade our young men from enlisting. I know too well all there is at stake.' I am glad to find that he has at last felt compelled to offer some explanation to his constituents and to organisations that he influences.

He neglected the many opportunities he had to explain before the House of Commons, the fairest jury in the world, why he wrote the wicked paragraphs I read to the House.

If he is sincere in the declaration reproduced in your paper, I invite him to withdraw the disloyal advice he gave to the Labour organisations. I take it from his present declaration, which I welcome, that he authorises me here and now through this letter to convey in his behalf the information to the same organisations that he misled them, and that he wishes them to use their influence to get men to fill in the form, stating that they are ‘willing' to serve when wanted, because he realises ‘too well all there is at stake'. I am sincerely desirous of stopping the bad effect of his writings, and of getting his influence with that of the loyal Labour leaders on the side of his own nation.

Will he also use his influence to discourage and condemn the silent underground, but steady and deadly intimidation of loyal leaders of workmen in many localities, which is preventing them from taking the open and enthusiastic part in recruiting meetings and effects which they are personally anxious to do?

I am, yours, &c.,

Edgar R. Jones

House of Commons

A JEWISH BATTALION

SIR – Will you allow me to bring to the notice of your Jewish readers the proposal for the formation of a Jewish Battalion?

From personal inquiries made and information given to me there is good reason to believe that the formation of a Jewish unit for active service would meet the wishes of a considerable number of Jews who are not willing, at all events not eager, to enlist under other conditions. Such a corps might also be able to enrol Jews who are still subjects of Britain's Allies.

The formation of this unit must in no wise be regarded a movement against the enlistment of Jews in other regiments. But the War Office has already recognised that many persons prefer to serve with ‘their pals'; to those Jews who feel this rather keenly the Jewish unit will be an additional recruiting measure.

Everything that will give this country more men without extra trouble must surely be welcome to most Jews in this country who, like myself, have just now one chief aim – to give all possible help to England. At such a moment we Jews can at least follow the lead of the politicians – sink all our differences and unite in this common purpose.

If, as I have every reason to expect, there is sufficient response, a private meeting will be called on an evening at an early date, so that immediate steps may be taken towards active
recruiting by means of public meetings in the Jewish centres of population, and by such other means as may be desirable.

Let me repeat, this is not a movement of opposition towards other Jewish ideals or other Jews; it is a practical step to get soldiers who would not be obtainable by other means, and good soldiers too, as I know.

Will those interested communicate with me immediately?

Yours, &c.,

M.D. Eden
7 Welbeck Street, W.

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