Britons giving aid to German Prisoners of War

There was considerable anti German feeling in the country during the Great War but the presence of German prisoners working on farms and in other premises often allowed friendly relationships to develop and as the Germans who worked were paid a small wage they did have money to spend with local traders although this was officially forbidden.

Colchester Magistrates 20 August 1918

Henry Millard 18 a carman from Butt Rd, Colchester was charged with selling bread to a German POW working in fields at Shrub End Road.

He pleaded guilty and was fined £5.

At the same Court, George Kerry, carman in the employ of the Co-operative Society pleaded guilty to selling bread to a German POW.

He said that he did not know that it was wrong and that he had not been given instructions not to sell to a German prisoner.

He was fined £5 

27 August 1918 Dunmow Magistrates Court

Miss Eva Charge, 18, bakers assistant from C H Metson, Post Office,  High Easter was summonsed for supplying six half quartern loaves to German POW's at Leaden Roding.

Lt Colin Downey adj to the Dunmow POW Camp said that supplying bread may facilitate their ecsape and would interfere with discipline at the camp.

Miss charge said that she was driving her cart at Leaden Roding when she saw five german POW at work in a field. One of the germans jumped a fence and stopped her horse. He asked to buy bread and persisted when she refused. By then the Germans were around her and as she was afraid she sold them the loaves. There was no guard with the men.

The Court dismissed the charge and commented that it was undesirable that germas should go about the country unguarded and asked that this be brought to the attention of military authorities.

There seemed to be some justification to her claim that the POW were not guarded as on the same day at Tottenham Magistrates Court Walter Fuller 42 yrs of the Roayal Defence Force was charged with being an absentee. Evidence was given that he was one of two men employed to guard German POW working on an Essex farm. These men took it in turns to guard the prisoners while the other one went where he would and in this case went home for the wekend. Fuller was remanded into custody to await a military escort. 

Saffron Walden Magistrates Court  4 February 1919

Frederick Bowtle, a master baker, of Thaxted pleased guilty to selling bread to German prisoners of war  at Wimbish on 1 January 1919.

Pc Bearman said that, dressed in private clothes he watched the farm premises where two German prisoners were working. He saw the defendant drive up in his cart and put some loaves of bread in a sack which he placed behind a straw stack.

The Officer stopped the defendant as he was going away and he found that there were 12 half quarters and two quarter ;loaves in the sack.

A German prisoner of war told him that he had paid Bowtle 6 shillings (one weeks POW wages) for the bread.

Bowtle told the Magistrates that he did not think that he was doing anything wrong and certainly did not think that having the bread would help the prisoners to escape.

He was fined £20 which was at the time a very considerable fine. 

Halstead Magistrates Court 1 April 1919

Frederick Rayner and Charles Smith both of Halstead were charged with selling 12 loaves of bread to German POW's.

Both pleased guilty. Rayner said that the  thought he was at liberty to do so if the guard was present.

Captain Colemen, the Commandant at Halstead Camp, said that this was not true.

Rayner (the baker) was fined £1 and Smith (his assistant) was fined 10 shilings.

Stratford Petty Sessions 5 September 1919

Rupert Brown of Gaysham Hall Farm, Barkingside pleased guilty to selling bead to prisoners of war who were in reciept of govt rations.

Brown said that the POW's were not doing a full days work on the farm as they were underfed. He raised the matter with the Camp Commandant who said that no more food was available. He sold the germans half quatern loaves at four and a half pence not through sympathy for the germans but to get more work out of them

Brown was fined £20.

At the same court, James Torrance of New Barns Farm, Chigwell admitted supplying food to German POW's.

He admitted supplying bread, jam and margarine for some time.

Torrance said that he did not sell the food but gave it to them.

He was fined £10.

Stratford Petty Sessions 25 October 1919

Frederick Bright of Gobbins Farm, Romford pleased guilty to supplying German prisoners of war with money.

Detective Inspector Tanner said that Bright had admitted giving money to the prisoners of war to get some threshing work done.

Bright said that it was most essential that the threshing should be speeded up, and that he hit on the expedient of paying the prisoners of war. The work was of great national importance as there was not enough threshing tackle to go around.

He was fined £10 on each count.