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The Great War News from Lancaster in 1914

19th September 1914

War Items

There are about 50 vacancies in the Mayor’s Civic Guard, which is continuing its defensive duties.

The sum of £18 2s 9d has been contributed by the staff of the County Asylum towards comforts for the men of the King’s Own Regiment now at the Front, and the Regimental Compassionate Fund.

The YMCA Tent at Bowerham Barracks was the scene of a remarkable gathering on Sunday night, when a service was crowded by recruits. Sir Noval Helme, MP, gave an encouraging address.

On Saturday about 40 German prisoners of war were sent from Carlisle to Lancaster Wagon Works compound. Several of the prisoners had come from Newcastle. Amongst the men were the seven German waiters whom the Carlisle Police arrested last week.

The teachers of the Lancaster Primary Schools are subscribing £20 monthly to the Mayor’s Local Relief Fund. In addition, £11 17s has been sent to the Prince of Wales Fund, organised by the Executive of the National Union of Teachers, who propose to raise £5,000. Donations are also being sent to the latter fund by the teachers in the district.

Gifts for the Front

The Mayor of Lancaster has this week despatched to the Front, for the use of the King’s Own Royal Lancasters, 200 briar pipes and 200 ounces of tobacco, funds for which had been collected by Mr Fred Huntingdon.

Homes for Refugees

Homes are required for the large number of Belgians who have been drive out of their own country, as the result of the German invasion, and are finding refuge in England. The Mayor of Lancaster requests that anyone in the town or district who is prepared to provide accommodation for Belgian refugees will communicate with him at the Town Hall.

The Wagon Works Prison

There have been further drafts of prisoners to the Lancaster Wagon Works compound this week, from as far south as Hanley, and as far north as Newcastle and Carlisle. The aggregate is about 1,700. Arrangements are being made for religious services to be conducted on Sundays for various groups according to their different beliefs. Last Sunday a sacred concert was given by a number of Lancaster vocalists.

King’s Own Departures

On Tuesday night, 1,100 recruits for Kitchener’s Army, who have enlisted in the King’s Own K Battalion, left Bowerham Barracks for Seaford, Sussex. Captain Maloney was in charge. The men had a hearty send off as they proceeded through the town to the station about 9 pm. Recruiting has been restricted by the new height standard of 5ft 6in, but a fine type of man is coming forward.

Lancaster a Prohibited Area

On Thursday morning an order was received from the War Office extending the regulations regarding “prohibited areas” to Lancaster and the surrounding district. The order applies not only to the Borough of Lancaster, but practically to the whole of the South Lonsdale Constabulary Division. No German of Austrian alien can enter or reside in the district without a special permit from the Chief of Police (in the Borough Chief Constable Harriss), and no German or Austrian alien now resident in the district will be allowed to leave it without special permission. It is essential that all aliens, what-ever their nationality, should be registered.

Germans Glad to be Captured

Lance Sergeant John Davis, of the 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancasters, writing to his mother in Lancaster, under the date Sept 4th (the letter was delivered on Thursday) says:
“I am well and in good spirits. We are doing plenty of marching but not much fighting just now. I was in one sharp engagement a week last Wednesday. It was a curious experience being shot at. The Germans are poor shots, and have lost heavily. We have a good few prisoners with us. They are glad to be captured, having practically no food. Nearly everyone thinks the war will be over in about a month’s time. I am rather doubtful of that, though. All the British troops here are well and in good spirits. I have no news; we can get no information. In any case we are not allowed to tell you anything particular.”

No Credit to Lancaster

A deplorable case illustrating the seamy side of life in Lancaster came before the Borough Court on Thursday, when Hannah Mary Morland, 24, wife of a Territorial, living at 3 James Street, was charged with keeping a brothel, and Annie Hall, 26, barmaid, was charged with aiding and abetting in the offence. The magistrates present were Mayor (Coun. Briggs) J Heald, W Hamer, R Gregons, and E G Smith Esqrs. Chief Constable Harris prosecuted and the case was watched by Captain Fairclough of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, now guarding German prisoners at the Wagon Works. Mr Harris said Morland’s husband was away with the 5th Battalion King’s Own, and since he had been away she had been carrying out this business, and during the last three or four weeks she had been assisted by the other woman. During that period they had occupied two of three houses, and had been seen with different men very late at night. The house, 3 James Street, had been under observation for some time, but the immediate cause for the present proceedings was that on Wednesday morning there was a disturbance in James Street. Some soldiers of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers had spent the night in the house, and the neighbourhood was up in arms about it.
PS Thompson deposed to watching the house since the 8th September, and detailed what he had seen on this and other dates. For several weeks he had seen the prisoners in the streets late at night with different men, and he had seen men go to the house late at night and remain there practically all night. He had previously cautioned Morland about her conduct. Her husband had tried all ways to get her to reform, and eventually he left her. Evidence was also given by Constables Powley and Lea, DC Smith and DS Johnson, the latter stating that the house was in a shocking state. The only furniture was a table and two chairs, and one of the chairs belonged to a neighbour. There was no bed in the house, only some old clothes upstairs. When arrested Morland had nothing to say, but Hall said “It’s through my own foolishness; I have brought it on myself.”
Captain Fairclough, in reply to the Bench, said they had great difficulty in keeping the men at the Wagon Works, and they gave more trouble than the prisoners, owing to the number of girls constantly hanging about the place. Many of them were quite young girls with hair hanging down their backs. Two got inside the other day, spent the night in the place, and were lifted over the wall by soldiers next morning.
The Mayor said it was a very demoralising and shocking state of affairs, and any action the military authorities might take would have the support of the Bench, who were determined to try and stop this sort of thing going on in Lancaster. Morland would have to go to the Castle for two months hard labour, and Hall of one month, without the option of a fine.



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