I have previously published a story about one of the soldiers who returned home from the "Great War" on the Willochra, which was found to have smallpox aboard. He did not have the disease when he arrived in port but died of it while in quarantine.
I was also aware that the island had been used as a kind of isolation and/or punishment camp for soldiers who had caught a veneral disease. And what a group of unsoldierly individuals they turned out to be.
This collection of stories was begun in some kind of chronological order, based on the first appearance of each character, but that became confusing so I have presented them alphabetically by name, with a small collection of general comments following.
9/792 Private Arthur George Bossward(aka Shaw)
Mr H. Y. Widdowson, S.M., presided in the Police Court this morning. Arthur George Bossward, a prohibited person, and a soldier from Quarantine Island, was charged with drunkenness, and also with procuring liquor. He was fined 10s or 48 hours on the first charge, and 20s or seven days on the second. -Evening Star, 19/9/1916.
Arthur Bossward would seem to have had a prohibition order against him since 1911.
Arthur George Bossward pleaded "Guilty" to a charge of being found helplessly drunk. Sub-inspector Cruickshank stated that he had been found the night before wandering towards the wharf with only a pair of trousers on. He was suffering from the effects of excessive drinking. Bossward was accordingly reimanded for seven days' for medical treatment. -Otago Daily Times, 24/5/1911.
Arthur Bossward left with the Third Reinforcements at the end of 1914. He served on Gallipoli and was hospitalised with dysentery.
Trespassing. — Arthur Bossward was charged that while a separation order was in existence against him he trespassed on the premises occupied by his wife. — Subinspector Broberg said that some time ago a separation order was made against the defendant on the application of his wife, who lived in Hanover street. For a time he was employed as a cook at a camp at Wingatui. For some days past he had visited his wife's shop to the detriment of her trade. Owing to the threats he made the complainant lodged a complaint against him, stating that she feared he would do her harm. The complainant was not anxious that the defendant should be heavily punished, and was only desirous that he should keep away during the time the separation order was in force. There was a maintenance order also against the defendant but he had not paid anything since it was made. The defendant was a returned invalided soldier. — The defendant said he paid £3 into court last Monday. Drink was responsible for his trouble, and if given a chance he was willing to have a prohibition order issued against him. — The Magistrate said he preferred to adopt another course than that of inflicting a fine. The defendant would be convicted and ordered to come up for sentence when called on at any time within six months. This meant that if he molested or went near his wife, or if he came before the court again he would be sentenced to a long term of iniprisonment. The defendant would also have to take out a prohibition order against himself. -Otago Daily Times, 11/12/1915.
George had a problem with conforming to his prohibition order, being before the court again in May, 1916, for breaching it.
Court Chronicles and City Comments
BOSSWARD'S BEHAVIOR. Mrs. Bossward could not boss her hubby, Arthur George for his good, and took him into court. She claimed maintenance, separation, and guardianship orders.
Mrs. B. said she married Arthur four years ago. He went to the war and returned, like the others, a changed man. He took up with another soldier's wife, with whom he lived. One day he and that woman called upon her and roundly abused her. The unlawful lady said she would never part them and Arthur George swore frightfully. Later, she went with a cab to fetch her Arthur away from that woman's house, but he came to the door and only abused her.
Constable Sevier said Bossward spoke to him at Wingatui races. He was under the influence of liquor at the time, and was very communicative. He said he had got the best of "his ol' woman," and could now do what he liked.
Mr. Irwin: The other woman's allowance was stopped by the military authorities, as she was living with Bossward.
Arthur George was ordered to pay 25s a week to his lawful wife; and the orders applied for by Mrs. Bossward were granted. -NZ Truth, 26/1/1918.
Surprisingly, the maintenance order did not stick and George was back in court at the end of 1918. He was also in court early in 1920, cited as co-respondent in the application for divorce by Augustus Smolenski against his wife, Lavinia. The application was granted with costs against George.
George appeared in court a couple of times in the early 1920s on charges of disobeying the order in favour of his wife, then not at all for some years.
AFTER NINE YEARS
WIFE DESERTER ARRESTED
PATHETIC PARADE OF “RESPONSIBILITIES"
Six children of which he was the father, born since he had lived with another woman after deserting his wife and vanishing from Dunedin nine years ago; were a pathetic exhibition in the Police Court this morning when Arthur George Bossward was charged with disobedience of a maintenance order made on May 12, 1922.
Bossward had escaped detection, till New Year’s Day, when his wife watched him investing money on the totalisator at Waikouaiti races. She informed the police that the wanted man was on the course, and the long arm of the law gathered in the man.
When confronted with the charge today Bossward admitted the order and the arrears.
Senior-sergeant Quartermain said that thirteen years ago Bossward cleared out from his wife and child. From time to time he was brought before the court, but nine years ago he vanished. A warrant was issued for his arrest, but he was not arrested until New Year’s Day. By the woman with whom he had been living, Bossward had had six children, the oldest being about eleven years of age.
Mr J. N. Thompson said he had been instructed to appear by the woman with whom Bossward had been living. All the children were beautifully kept, and were in splendid health. When in work Bossward was very steady, and he attended to his home excellently.
The children were brought into court to be shown to the magistrate.
To Mrs Bossward, Mr H. W. Bundle, S.M., said; “You see the position. Your husband has now undertaken further obligations to these children.” Mrs Bossward said she had been compelled to maintain herself and her daughter, who was now fourteen years of age. She had lived with her husband for four years before the separation.
The Magistrate: What do you want me to do with him? Mrs Bossward: The wife and child should have first claim. He has gone into this trouble with his eyes open.
“But there are these children now,” said the Magistrate. “Do you want him to go to gaol? What would be the use of that?”
Mrs Bossward: It would not do any good. I would like you to adjourn the case until my solicitor, Mr Irwin, returns.
To the Magistrate, Bossward said he had been living in Invercargill till his return to Dunedin about six months ago. Senior-sergeant Quartermain drew attention to the fact that Bossward and the woman with whom he was living had been found on the racecourse.
Mrs Bossward: He and the woman were putting plenty of money on the “tote.” I had not seen him from the time he disappeared till I saw him at the races.
Bossward said he and the other woman were putting in 2s 6d to make up 10s tickets at the races. He had not seen his wife since his return to Dunedin.
He was remanded for a week, a condition being that he reports twice daily to the police. Bail was granted, as Bossward asked that he should be given an opportunity of looking for work, as he did not want to leave the children. -Evening Star, 5/1/1931.
Arthur George Bossward, who had allowed a maintenance order to get into arrears to the extent of £24 13s, was sentenced to three weeks’ imprisonment, the warrant to be suspended provided he pays 5s a week. The arrears over £l5 were remitted and the order reduced to 5s a week. -Evening Star, 12/6/1933.
Arthur seems to fade from the public record after this, though the Bossward name is not a common one and further references show an Elsie Lemnos Bossward winning prizes at school from 1926 onwards and achieving a degree in Home Science at Otago University in 1939. A credit to her mother but possibly not her father. She took up duties as a "domestic sciences instructress" at the Palmerston North Intermediate School in 1944 and, by then Mrs Endicott-Davies, gave birth to a daughter in September 1947.
Elsie's mother, Barbara Emrie Bossward, occupation "divorced" died in Dunedin in 1959. The note on her Council Cemeteries record "ashes disposal: return to funeral director" might be significant.
Arthur George Bossward died in 1970 and seems to have no known grave.
36560 Private Thomas Joseph Collins
COURT MARTIAL IN DUNEDIN.
This week another court-martial finding was promulgated. Thomas Joseph Collins was found guilty of disobedience of orders at Quarantine Island, and sentenced to 70 days’ detention. -Evening Star, 16/6/1917.
Down the harborside quaint little tales are told of men in uniform making determined efforts to escape from Quarantine Island. One of these stories includes such items as a raft made of drift wood and held together with flax lashings, also of a dinghy removed from its moorings. There is some fact in it all as far as men leaving the island without leave is concerned and their having been obliged to return; but it does not seem certain whether all returned. -Evening Star, 19/6/1917.
Thomas Collins was a Dunedin man who was court-martialed on two charges on 8/6/1917. His charges were: 1 - "when in confinement escaping" and 2: "absenting himself without leave." Pleading guilty on both charges, he was awarded 90 days' detention. In November he was sent to Europe where he suffered a gunshot wound in the right shoulder in April, 1918. He died at Onehunga in 1955.
10321 Private Frederick Copley
The police have received advice from Wellington of the arrest of William Henry Marslen, who was “wanted” in connection with the burglary at Lower Portobello on June 22, and for participation in which a young soldier named Frederick Copley was tried and convicted in the Police Court last Friday. Mansion, who is also a. soldier, was arrested at Lower Hutt yesterday, and remanded to appear at Dunedin to-morrow. Part of the stolen property has been recovered. -Evening Star, 11/7/1916.
A Young Soldier's Doings
Breaks Quarantine and Is Collared
A Portobello Performance.
(From "Truth's" Dunedin Rep.)
A young soldier in uniform appeared before Mr. J. R. Bartholomew, S.M., at the Dunedin S.Ms. Court the other day, on a charge of breaking and entering a seaside "crib" at Portobollo.
Chief-detective Bishop, who prosecuted, remarked that he was willing to reduce the charge to one of ordinary theft so as to enable his Worship to deal with the case.
The procedure was accordingly agreed to, and the accused pleaded guilty.
The Chief-detective said that the lad was 21 years of age, and was attached to the 12th Reinforcements, but having contracted a certain disease whilst in camp, he was
SENT FOR ISOLATION and medical attention to Quarantine Island, outside Port Chalmers. While there he broke loose, and, in company with another man went to Portobello and entering a "crib" took a gun valued at £2 10s and other articles. They left the detention camp without permission, and stayed away a night, returning next morning. The other main who had been with the accused had been recently located, and it would seem that he led the accused into the trouble. Nearly all the property had been recovered.
Rev. Mr. Axelsen: I am instructed by the doctor at the Quarantine camp to represent him here and to say that it is necessary that accused should be returned under his care as the
LAD'S HEATH IS BAD: it will be some time before he is fully restored.
Accused: I ask the Court to deal leniently with me, as I want to get away with the forces as soon as I can.
The S.M. was satisfied that the lad was not the leading party in the trouble. He was convicted and ordered to come up for sentence at any time within six months.
Meanwhile he was returned to quarantine. -NZ Truth, 15/7/1916.
8/1516 Private Edwin Austin Irving
Dunedin boy Edwin Irving joined the Army at the end of 1914 and spent a month on Gallipoli before being diagnosed with diahorrea and later venereal disease. From that time, his conduct sheet reads like a Sergeant-major's nightmare - drunkenness, disobeying orders, AWOL, breaking out of camp, theft of beer from the canteen, etc. He was eventually sent back to New Zealand and Quarantine Island in early 1917.
On the island, the list contined in much the same vein, and then on December 12, 1917, he court martialled on the following charges: "when in confinement escaping" and "An act to the prejudice of good order and Military Discipline." Pleading guilty, he was given two years with hard labour at Invercargill Borstal, followed by "the prisoner to be discharged with ignominy at the termination of his sentence."
Once discharged, Edwin Irving got busy.
A SERIES OF BURGLARIES
TWO YOUNG MEN ARRESTED.
The local police have been actively engaged for some time in an effort to sheet home to somebody the perpetration of a series of thefts which, judging by the stolen property recovered, must have covered a considerable period. The credit of the arrest of two young men is due to Detectives Palmer and Lean, who have been engaged in closely and indefatigably following up any clue that would assist them in their efforts. Last evening they ran to earth two young men named Philip John Edward Hancock and Edwin Austin Irving, whom they arrested on several charges of house-breaking and stealing goods, sufficient in number and variety to start a shop on modest lines. The stolen articles include jewellery, cutlery, money, wearing apparel, groceries, suit lengths, and many other articles, the value of which cannot in the meantime be assessed, but it is sufficient to say that it will run into a large sum. Amongst the places entered, concerning which complaints have been made, are Mr Samson’s residence, at North-East Valley; Mr Moore’s house, in George street; Mr Wiggins’ residence, at Reid road, South Dunedin; and Mr Paterson’s dwelling, not far from the same locality. Much of the stolen property was found in the house where the two young men had been residing in South Dunedin, where the arrest of one of the men was effected, the other being arrested at North-East Valley. While in the house at South Dunedin the detectives noticed a trapdoor in the ceiling, and Detective Palmer, on passing through this trapdoor, found some of the missing articles. Included among the articles seized were a fully-loaded revolver and a dummy weapon of a like character. The accused will be brought before the City Police Court this morning. -Otago Daily Times, 18/1/1921.
Edwin Austin Irving and Philip John Edward Hancock then came up for sentence on six charges of breaking and entering and theft. Mr Hanlon appeared for Irving, who said he was 26 years of age and enlisted with the Third Reinforcement, and saw three years’ service. He was sent to England suffering from enteric and nerve shock, and after convalescence he contracted another serious disease, and was finally sent home. He was placed on Quarantine Island, but he escaped by swimming ashore. He was recaptured in Dunedin, and sentenced to 21 days’ confinement. Later on he was court-martialled and sentenced to two years’ hard labour, from which he was released in June, 1919. He periodically suffered from nervous trouble, and when he was away from work he took to drink. He got into debt, and became desperate and started this career of burglary. Hancock picked up an acquaintance with him, and the two together had followed this adventurous business. In the report about Hancock’s home circumstances his Honor would see some facts that might reasonably be taken into consideration in estimating what ought to be done. It appeared he had not had much of a chance.
Mr Gumming said he had not inquired into Irving’s case. He had inquired into Hancock’s case and had no recommendation to make.
His Honor said the best course to adopt in the case of each was to put him under control of the Prison Board for a considerable time. If the prisoners hehaved well the board would release them on probation. Each of them would be ordered to be detained for reformative purposes for a term of not more than five years. -Otago Daily Times, 15/2/1921.
Edwin Austin Irving was charged with converting to his own use, but, not so as to be guilty of theft, a boat valued at £l2 6s, the property of George Lonie. A plea of guilty was entered.
Senior-sergeant Quartermain said that accused had been rabbiting, and he took the boat from Henley to Taieri Mouth. It was found covered with branches, and had been in the man’s possession for some ten days. Accused said that he had tried to hire a boat at Titiri to take his rabbiting gear to Taieri Mouth, but had been unable to do so, and when he saw this boat with the oars in it he took it. He intended to return it. Accused was sentenced to fourteen days’ imprisonment. A charge of theft of the boat was withdrawn. -Evening Star, 30/7/1928.
CITY POLICE COURT.
Thursday, February 14.) (Before Mr J. R. Bartholomew, S.M.)
THEFT OF SHOES.
Two young men named Edwin Austin Irving and Joseph Francis Ward were charged with stealing a shoe horn, a jewellery box, and a pair of shoes, valued at 35s, the property of Esme Hankey, and a pair of boots, valued at 23s 6d, the property of W. Harris and Sons, Ltd. — Both the accused, who were not represented by counsel, pleaded guilty. — Chief Detective Cameron stated that on Wednesday the men had gone to Hankey’s boarding house for a meal at mid-day, and while one went into the kitchen and conversed with the members of the household the other went into Miss Hankey’s room and stole the articles mentioned, which they later sold to a second-hand dealer for 2s 6d. Later in the afternoon they were seen taking a pair of boots from Harris’s. They went down to the Monument, where they rubbed the soles on the stonework. They were endeavouring to sell the boots when Constables Roycroft and Johnston arrested them. Both men had records. — The accused stated that they had been drinking during the day. — They were sentenced to one month’s imprisonment on each charge, the sentences to be concurrent. -Otago Daily Times, 15/2/1929.
SHEEP DELIBERATELY SHOT
BERWICK FARMER'S LOSSES
TWO MEN IMPRISONED
The shooting for food of four sheep belonging to a runholder at Berwick during February was admitted by Edwin Austin Irving (42) in the Police Court to-day. He was sentenced by Mr J. R. Bartholomew, S.M., to two months’ imprisonment; and Stuart McMillan, who pleaded guilty to receiving portion of the carcasses of two sheep, was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment. There were two sheep and two lambs shot, and they belonged to John Fairley Drake, their total value being £6.
For some time Irving and McMillan had been cutting wood on Mr Drake’s property, said Chief Detective Young. The complainant suspected that his sheep were being shot by the woodcutters, and he told the police. Detective Wells and the Outram constable searched the locality near the huts of the accused, finding the skins, heads, and internal organs of sheep. The earmarks on the heads were those of Mr Drake’s sheep. An admission was made by Irving that he had shot four, the meat being consumed by himself and by the other accused, who also admitted receiving portions of the sheep.
“These offences are viewed in a serious light.” commented the chief detective. ‘‘Both men have lists. Irving has not been before the court since 1929, but McMillan has a formidable list, having been before the court in Wellington in the past two years.”
Mr C. J. L. White, who represented Irving, said that both accused were kept short of money by a man for whom they were removing the wood. The sheep stealing, commented counsel, had commenced quite innocently, starting with the shooting of wild sheep, that were in a reserve, at the suggestion of a shepherd on the property. Then, after several abortive attempts to kill more wild sheep, Irving shot a lamb, and over a period he killed three more sheep, the offences concluding in the last week in February. Irving had informed him, said Mr White, that all the carcasses had been divided among other men in the camp. Irving’s record was certainly not a creditable one, but in the past nine years he had attempted to rehabilitate himself, and till this offence had led a respectable life. The value of the sheep was £6, and Irving had already paid £2 to counsel. Should the magistrate grant probation or fine the accused, he was willing to make full restitution. Temptation had been placed in his way, and he was short of money to purchase food when the sheep were shot.
Mr O. G. Stevens, who represented McMillan, admitted that the charges of receiving the carcasses were serious. Two other men, counsel understood, were also implicated in the offences. McMillan was very penitent, and it was unfortunate that after being reconciled with his wife after being separated he should be embroiled in this trouble. Since the offences McMillan had received a permanent position as a lorry driver, and if imprisoned would naturally lose his employment. He intended, whether or not he was gaoled, to make restitution.
“In the case of Irving there are four separate offences extending over a period of a month,” the magistrate commented. ‘‘As the chief detective has suggested, this is a very serious offence. The charges against McMillan show that he was almost in a position of an abettor.”
Considering the records of both men, the magistrate sentenced Irving to two months’ imprisonment with hard labour and McMillan to one month’s imprisonment on each charge, the sentences in his case to be concurrent. -Evening Star, 13/4/1938.
Edwin Irving's desire to "go straight" might well have been a sincere one. He appears no more in the newspapers and died in 1956.
SCENE IN THE STREET
ALLEGED POLICE BRUTALITY
Worthy Citizens and "Curious Ideas"
Irish Strikes and Black Sunday Introduced
(From "Truth's" Dunedin Rep.)
A case that attracted more than usual attention was heard by Magistrate Young at Dunedin last week. The defendant was a returned soldier, and many of the "leading citizens" in town voluntarily came forward and commented upon the brutality of the police. The matter was one in which Victor Onslow Jefferies was charged with being drunk in the bar of the Commercial Hotel, with resisting Constable Hart while in the execution of his duty, with using obscene language in High street, and with refusing to quit licensed premises when requested to do so. Lawyer Scurr represented accused, who pleaded not guilty. Lawyer Scurr said, in answer to Sub-inspector Mathieson's application for an adjournment, that he had a large number of civilian witnesses present who were in attendance at much trouble to themselves, in order to give evidence of what they alleged
A CASE OF INJUSTICE. Mr. Young ordered the case to proceed. Constable Hart said the licensee requested him to put accused out of the bar, as he was quarrelsome. Accused refused to go. Later he said he would go out of his own accord. Constable McRae and witness then left the premises, and accused followed them out and joined some friends on the street. Constable McRae and witness moved away, and accused left his friends and walked towards the police. Looking directly at McRae and witness, he said in a low voice: "You ......" A civilian came forward and took him by the arm, leading him away. Witness and McRae followed and took the accused into custody. After proceeding a few paces he commenced to resist violently, and throw himself to the ground. They then tried to handcuff him, but accused resisted all the time. Constable Todd and Sergeant Shanahan came and assisted in the arrest. Accused was not sober, and was excitable and fightable. He was not maltreated in any way, and no bystander complained of the treatment.
Constable McRae corroborated.
Constable Sevyer, who saw accused in the cell, said he was then drunk.
John Watson, licensee of the Commercial Hotel, said the barmaid complained that accused would not leave. He would not leave for witness either. He was not drunk. Witness informed the police he would not leave. He was positive accused was not drunk.
Constable Todd, who assisted in the arrest of accused; said the constables were kneeling on the road when handcuffing accused.
THE CROWD WERE HOOTING, but there was nothing unusual about that.
Sergeant Shannahan said accused was practically mad drunk at the time.
Alice Bowden, barmaid at the Commercial, stated accused wanted a whisky and she would not supply him, because he was in an excited state. He, however, said he would get one and he made several attempts to get over the counter.
Constable Beer said accused was drunk when he saw him in the cell.
Lawyer Scurr said that the witnesses for the defence had all come to court voluntarily. One of them would say that the police were in a condition of absolute passion.
Accused stated he was a returned soldier with two years and eight months' service. He came back seven weeks ago. When in the corridor of the hotel, the taller constable came to holds with him. The constables then went away and witness talked to a civilian. He was walking up the road when he was grabbed by the two constables, and he found himself on the road on the side of his face.
To Sub-inspector Mathieson: He was three months in the trenches in France, and was ordered to Quarantine Island on arrival in New Zealand. It was true that he escaped from military custody at Wellington last month while being escorted from Quarantine Island to Trentham. He was arrested and taken to camp, and he left camp without leave, after spending a day there and went to Wellington. He was still a deserter.
John Edward Galbraith, manager, Shaw Savill Co., Dunedin, said the constables had the man on the ground and were ill-treating him brutally. One constable had his knee on his head, and the other constable was putting his knee into the small of the man's back. They could not get the handcuffs on.
To Sub-inspector Mathieson: He would pick out the constable who had his knee on the man's head.
J. W. Thomson, solicitor, saw two policemen kneeling on top of the man. He considered that accused had been
MAULED IN A DISGRACEFUL MANNER.
To Sub-inspector Mathieson: He would admit the man was struggling and was a difficult man to arrest. He would not swear that one of the constables had his knee on the accused's head.
William Findlay Currie, music-hall artist, stated that he had served in the present war as a sergeant-major in the 2nd Seaforths. Accused had been maltreated. Witness had been to the Emerald Isle and had seen Irish strikes in full working order, and after Black Sunday had been in Johannesburg, but he never saw anything approaching this! He considered it
A DASTARDLY OUTRAGE. Accused was crying out with pain and passion.
James Faulkiner, of the firm of J. and W. Faulkiner, said one constable had his knee in the man's back and was forcing his arm up behind his back. The man was screaming with pain. The treatment was brutal.
Alexander Cook, employee at the New Zealand Hardware Company, said that the accused was not drunk. He saw his face being pressed against the ground.
Augustus H. Tonkinson, solicitor, saw the tall constable drag the soldier off the footpath. A general melee followed. He saw the constables kneeling on the soldier for an undue length of time. One had his knee on the head or neck and the other his knee on the lower part of the man's body. Accused was harshly treated.
The S.M., reviewing all the evidence very carefully, said accused had been violent and quarrelsome in the hotel. He behaved in a most extraordinary manner. It was quite clear that he did not leave the hotel when requested by the licensee. The evidence as to the drunkenness was conflicting, and that charge would be dismissed. On the charge of using obscene language there must have been some reason for the policemen to go after him and arrest him, and the only reasonable conclusion was that he used the obscene expressions as stated by both policemen. They arrested him in an orderly manner, and it was his duty to go with them and not resist. When he did resist they were justified in hand-cuffing him. There was no other course open. It was quite clear that he resisted. That disposed of all the charges. When a man went up to policemen and called them ——, it would be an extraordinary thing if they did not take him away. Most of the witnesses seemed to have been affected by the fact that the man was in uniform — he should have been given every opportunity and have been dealt with in a
VERY LADY-LIKE MANNER. Constables could not be expected to deal with a man with silk gloves when he resisted. Accused simply had a gravel rash on his face. Undue force had not been used. The case showed how worthy citizens, where a crowd assembled, got curious ideas as to the position. Accused was fined 10s for refusing to leave the hotel, 40s for using obscene language, 10s for resisting, and was ordered to be handed over to the military attthorities. -NZ Truth, 25/5/1918.
The solder in court for the High street incident was one Private Victor Onslow Jeffries. His Army record has the blunt statement "No medals. Desertion prior to armistice." Nor was he to be awarded the usual large illuminated scroll recording the details of his service.
He is first recorded as having a venereal disease at the end of 1915. He spent his time overseas in VD hospitals in Egypt and the UK until being sent home in February, 1918. On his way back to the war in August, 1918, he left the troopship at Cape Town, presumably with permission, and did not rejoin it. At the end of March, 1919 he was apprehended at Johannesburg and held in Cape Town at the NZ Depot as a deserter. His actual time of active service with his Regiment was almost exactly three months.
Victor's post-war life seems not to have become better, although marrying in 1920 might have made it seem so. In 1926 he was given probation and prohibition for stealing clothes in Christchurch. The following year his wife, Lily, petitioned for and was granted orders of maintenance, seperation and guardianship against him. Their five children were granted six shillings each per week. At the end of 1927, perhaps to nobody's surprise, Victor is back in court for violating those orders.
CHRISTCHURCH. (Before Mr H. A. Young, S.M.)
IDLE AND DISORDERLY.
Victor Onslow Jeffries, a labourer, answered a charge of being an idle and disorderly person. Detectives Thompson and Studholme gave evidence that Jeffries had been out of work and had been hanging about the hotels and streets in the company of undesirable people. The Magistrate, in convicting Jeffries, and ordering him to come up for sentence if called upon, made the conditions that he must take out a prohibition order, must obtain work as soon as possible, and must give up the company that the police complained of. -Star, 28/12/1927.
ILLEGALLY ON RACECOURSE.
A fine of £l0 was imposed on Victor Onslow Jeffries, labourer, of Palmerston North, aged 37, who pleaded guilty before Mr J. L. Stout, S.M., in the Palmerston North Magistrate’s Court this morning to trespassing on the Woodville racecourse while a meeting was in progress, being a person excluded by the regulations under the authority of the Gaming Act.
Detective Russell stated that accused was seen by Detective Barling on the course on Thursday. He was asked by the detective and by the racecourse inspector, Mr Ward, to go off, but he merely moved to another part of the course. He was told again to move and was eventually removed. Accused had four previous convictions.
Stating that he was a married man with six children, accused said that he had had two or three drinks and was a bit “pig-headed,” or he would have left the course when told to do so.
The Magistrate: That is hardly an excuse for going on the course when you were prohibited.
The fine was imposed with default at a month’s imprisonment. -Manawatu Standard, 28/2/1931.
SENT TO GAOL.
FATHER OF NINE CHILDREN.
A DISTRESSING DOMESTIC CASE.
A distressing domestic case was dealt with by Mr. F. K. Hunt, S.M., in the Police Court this morning when Victor Onslow Jeffries, a labourer, aged 41, was charged with using obscene language in Cobden Street and mischief by wilfully damaging a police tunic to the extent of 10/, the property of the New Zealand Government.
Constable McKinney said he was summoned to accused's house in Cobden Street last evening and he went there with Constable Finch. They found Jeffries sitting on a bed. He was under the influence of liquor. There was a quantity of broken glass and food strewn about the floor of the kitchen. Jeffries' nine children were in the house, all being very upset. "I warned him about his use of obscene language to his wife in the presence of the children," said Constable McKinney. "We then left, but had not gone far before we were called back to the house again. Jeffries was still using disgusting and obscene language and we attempted to quieten him, but he continued and so I told him he was under arrest. He then became so violent that he had to be handcuffed. In the struggle I was pushed against a fence and my tunic was damaged."
The constable said he had been called to the same house on a number of occasions because of Jeffries' drinking habits and his abuse of his wife. Jeffries was on sustenance. His wife drew £2 of the money and he drew 17/, most of which was spent by him on liquor. Mrs. Jeffries told witness that when he did not touch liquor he was a good husband. Jeffries told the magistrate he was willing to take out a prohibition order and allow his wife to draw the whole of his sustenance payments.
"Jeffries is an absolute waster," said Sub-Inspector Fox. "He does no work and is a loafer, spending the sustenance he personally draws on liquor and then goes home and knocks his wife about."
Jeffries, on one charge, was sentenced to one month's imprisonment. "That will get the liquor out of you," Mr. Hunt told him. He was also prohibited, the magistrate directing that his wife should draw all his sustenance. -Auckland Star, 18/11/1936.
Victor eventually died in 1963, aged 70.
12/4033 Private Roy Lambess
City Police Court
Desertion. — Roy James Lambess, who absconded from Quarantine Island, was ordered to be handed over to the military authorities. -Otago Daily Times, 20/6/1917.
Roy Lambess definitely had "form," as one might say. Enlisting in 1915, he stated his previous address as "Police Station, Auckland" - possibly meaning that he enlisted to prevent a worse fate. Shortly after this he was diagnosed with gonorrhea and sent to Quarantine Island. He escaped from there - his first of three times.
For some time past the police have had under observation several dwellings in Wanganui, and the people who have been living therein. As a result of these observations and investigating, four young people — two men and two women — were arrested by Constables Johnston and Farnworth in the streets about the town yesterday. The sequel to this was the appearance of the two men, William Dobson and Roy James Lambess, with Marguerite Dobson and Phyllis Banks, in the Police Court before Messrs A. A. Gower and E. F. Liffiton, J’s.P., this morning. The male accused were charged with being idle and disorderly persons, and with having no lawful means of support. The evidence of the police brought out the fact that for the past six or eight weeks the two men have been living with the women, the whole four having no visible means of support. Dobson, formerly a “cabby” in Wellington, had recently been given two days to leave Taihape, and had come to Wanganui, and Lambess was an ex-jockey. After hearing evidence the Bench announced that Lambess and Banks would be convicted and ordered to come up for sentence when called upon. This meant that their future actions would be closely watched and noted. The case against the Dobsons was adjourned till Wednesday next to enable the .police to make inquiries at Wellington. Bail was fixed at the surety of each for £25. -Wanganui Herald, 10/8/1916.
A SHIRKER LOSES HIS CIVIL RIGHTS.
(PRESS ASSOCIATION TELEGRAMS.) WANGANUI, August 21. Roy James Lambess, an ex-jockey, charged at the Magistrate's Court with failure to attend parades, did not appear. Lambess is 22 years of age, and was described as one of the worst shirkers in the Dominion. He never attended a parade. The Magistrate deprived him of all civil rights for five years. -Press, 22/8/1917.
Roy deserted again, to Dunedin. He is mentioned in the case of Mary Ann Tabernacle who was put before the Police Court:
About this time her husband was discharged from camp medically unfit, and, returning to Dunedin, took up house and at once made a home for her, but he was compelled to complain to the police as to his inability to keep men away from the house. She then left her husband, and went to live with a soldier deserter named Roy Lambess who was arrested by the police and handed over to the military authorities, and was now on Quarantine Island. When the accused woman was arrested there were found in her handbag letters which she had evidently intended to have smuggled across to the soldier referred to, in which it was apparent that she was endeavouring to arrange his escape from custody. -Otago Daily Times, 27/7/1917.
He was transferred from there to Featherston and deserted from there in 1918.
Local and General
Mild sensation stirred local hotel circles last evening on the occasion of a police hunt for two men who were reported to have arrived by the mail train. They were eventually run to earth in the Empire, where under the assumed names of ''Mason" and "Riley" they had booked beds for the night. Their proper names are Roy Lambess and J. Sullivan, and they have been absent from camp for a long time, during which it is stated they successfully bluffed the police and authorities by the possession of faked medical papers and passports. The bluff they put up before Sergeant Dale and Constable Robertson last evening was astute to a degree, and it very nearly came off. However, the services of some residents were enlisted for the purpose of identification, and the deserters spent the night in the lock-up, being taken under escort in the mail train to Hawera this morning, to be handed over to the Defence authorities. -Stratford Evening Post, 4/7/1918.
CITY POLICE COURT. (Before J. R. Bartholomew, Esq., S. M.) Theft. — Roy James Lambess pleaded guilty to stealing a gold chain, valued £10, the property of George Henry Edward Brown. — Sub-inspector Mathioson said that the offence took place at Masterton on July 27. The chain was taken from the vest pocket of complainant at a dance. Accused had disposed of it on Quarantine Island for £2. He had a previous conviction for assault at Gisborne. — Accused said he was very drunk when he committed the offence. — The Magistrate: But not when you disposed of the chain. Accused: No, sir. — The Magistrate said he would remand accused till.Monday next for the Probation Officer's report. -Evening Star, 15/11/1918.
Local and General
Featherston Camp orders state that 12/1033 Private R. J. Lambess, Featherston Details, found guilty of deserting His Majesty's service, and losing by neglect his clothing and regimental necessaries, has been sentenced to undergo imprisonment with hard labour for eighteen months. -Dominion 24/3/1919.
MAKE FRIVOLOUS COMPLAINTS.
(By Telegraph.—Own Correspondent.) ROTORUA, Thursday. J. H. Burns and R. J. Lambess, two military prisoners from Kiangaroa, were brought before Kenrick, S.M., and charged with having made frivolous complaints against a warder.
Burns had complained that Warder Bergen assaulted him, and when he had influenza had not allowed him milk.
Lambess stated that Warder McLeod had made it his hobby to persecute military prisoners.
Burns refused to give evidence, and Lambess asserted that he had been reported for idling without cause, and his tobacco had been stopped.
Warders gave evidence in rebuttal of the charges.
The Magistrate found accused had made false and frivolous complaints. Burns was to forfeit three months' marks and Lambess the same with the addition of four days on bread, and water. -Auckland Star, 26/9/1919.
In late 1919, Lambess features again in the newspapers, named as co-respondant in a notice of a citation to be lodged in court for divorce. A few years more sees him feature in the following barely translatable piece from the "Truth."
FARMER ABBOTT'S FLIMSIES
Two Sports Stand Seriously Charged
Roy Lambess Lands a Moon for a Start.
(From "Truth's" Wanganui Rep.) After the Christmas festivities were over, Magistrate Bailey listened to the charges against Christopher Martis and Roy James Lambess of the theft of 18 flimsies from Henry Abbott.
Lambess had a mouthpiece in Lawyer Cohen; Chris being undefended, whilst Detective-Sergeant Cameron appeared for the police.
Henry Abbott, who designated his occupation as a farmer, but residing now in Webbanui, stated that on the 30th of December he engaged a cab to hump his weary carcase homewards. After picking up some parcels, he developed a thirst, and being sociable, he instructed the Jehu to cry a halt at the Imperial Hotel, the pub that became famous because Prince Ted reposed his frame 'neath the specially-prepared bed linen. When inside and getting ready for a "spot," Roy poked his presence in, and as a kick off, started to prate something about a war that was fought in Flanders. Later Lambess introduced Martis as his cobber. Witness had between fourteen and fifteen quid in a purse, also some stray silver in his sky-rocket. He invited the two sporty sports to a booze. They partook, and offered to drop another on for him. He declined with thanks. He then boarded his hired hansom, and apparently both accused liked his company, they, too, filling up the cab space. So as he wouldn't fall out he was allowed to sit in between the two accused. After a short ride both his new acquaintances got out, and owing to the driver mentioning something he felt for his purse. It had vanished. He directed Cabby to hike back to the Imperial. Both accused were hitting towards the same pubbery. His optics, now rudely opened, espied
BANK NOTES IN MARTIS'S MAULERS.
He emulated Postle, and gave chase but the two separated, Roy keeping to the road, whilst his companion entered the boozery. He followed, but Martis had performed an illusion act and disappeared. Frank H. Broadbent, who lets a business keep him opposite the aforesaid pub, testified that he saw something of the two's doings on the day in question. He saw them flop out of the Imperial, and when the farmer cove went to sit down Martis turned up his coat-tail and touched his hip pocket. As the cab moved away witness saw the left arm of Martis in a raised position at the back of the cab as if he was still manipulating at Abbott's hip pocket. Shortly after both the gay lads walked back, and simultaneously the hansom pulled up in front of accused. Abott tried to collar Martis, but he sidestepped and did a mike in one entrance of the imperial, a moment later coming back through another door and joining his mate.
Londen Caryell, cabby, said he was the driver on the day that has now caused a bit of trouble. He saw his fare, Farmer Abbott
FLASH A FIST FULL OF FLIMSIES, afterwards putting them in his purse. In the pub, both accused introduced themselves to the tiller of the soil, and all decided to go in his 'bus. When all aboard, the new chaps asked him where he was making for with Abbott, and he replied, "Driving him home." Both accused got off shortly afterwards. He thought this strange, and mentioned it to the now lonesome Abbott. Acting under instructions he drove back to the Imperial, where they had met the accused, and he saw Martis shuffling notes in his flippers. The second meeting, of Abbott so soon on top of the first was not apparently welcomed, for both Roy and Chris hit the long trail fast.
George W. Love, salesman, said he saw Martis put his hand in Abbott's hip pocket as he was preparing to sit down in the cab. Lambess was then entering the cab. As the cab was driving away he saw Lambess pat Abbott on the back. A few minutes later he saw the accused come back along the Avenue again, and both were laughing. Martis appeared to have bank notes in his hand which he was sharing with Lambess. Witness then detailed what transpired when the cab came back again and Abbott appeared on the scene. Witness followed the accused and lost sight of them for a time. Later he located them in Cook's Gardens. Later they went out on to St. Hillstreet. Witness saw Constable Annabell, and told him what he had seen.
Cop Annabell did the blarney act on the good book, and said whilst
TAKING A BEAT BREATHER he noticed the two accused enter the Rutland Stables hurriedly. The previous witness, Love, lovingly chatted him something. He then accosted both the hurry up lads in the Metropolitan Hotel, and informed them that they were accused of robbing an old man, and if they did not over object he would like to see what bullion they carried as ballast. Roy had £6 1s 2d and, Chris, had £8 13s 9d. He then boobed them.
Policeman Wilson testified that he was present when the charge was laid by 'Tec. Cameron, but both the accused cocked a deaf 'un.
John K. Hansen, stableman at the Rutland stables, remembered the two accused entering his horses' rest palace. They appeared to exchange something, and Lambess had a 10s note in his hand. This concluded the case for the prosecution. Accused reserved their defence, and were committed for trial to the Supreme Court. Martis asked for bail, and it was fixed at £150. Lambess was then further charged with committing a breach of the conditions of this probationary licence, and waving the white flag, pleaded, guilty. 'Tec. Cameron narrated that in February last Roy was let out on probation for two years. His conduct came under the notice of the Probation Officer later on, and he was brought before the court and prohibited. Since then he had been warned, as he had been seen coming out of hotels. He was a man of weak character, and very easily led.
Beak Bailey sentenced the ex-jockey to a month's jug. -NZ Truth, 14/1/1922.
MAGISTERIAL. FRIDAY. (Before Mr H. A. Young, S.M.)
UNLAWFULLY ON RACECOURSE. Roy J. Lambess was fined £l0 and costs for trespassing on a racecourse. Accused had a number of convictions against him, and Detective-Sergeant J. Young said that he had never known the man to work within the last ten years. -Press, 1/5/1926.
SENT TO PRISON FOR THREE MONTHS.
FIRST CASE UNDER NEW LEGISLATION.
(Special to the “Star.”) WANGANUI, September 13. A great deal of interest was taken in two cases heard at the Wanganui Magistrate’s Court to-day, laid under the 1926 amendment to the Police Offences Act. The cases were the first of the kind heard in New Zealand.
The charges, which were preferred against Roy James Lambess, alias Davison, and Christopher Home Nicholson, two smartly dressed men, were that they were idle and disorderly persons without sufficient lawful means of support. Under the new Act it becomes incumbent upon the person suspected of vagrancy to prove the possession of means, apart altogether from the amount of money he may have had at the time of arrest. The amendment caused a great deal of discussion in the House of Representatives.
In a statement, Detective Walsh said that the two men were parasites, and were to be found wherever people congregated. When men of the description of the accused arrived in the town, the police received all sorts of complaints. Both men could he described as being in the “spieler” class, and had a list of previous convictions.
Both defendants pleaded not guilty. In the case of Lambess, Detective Walsh, who conducted the case, gave evidence that the accused had done no work over a period of six or seven years. He was an associate with thieves and reputed thieves. Accused had been warned to keep out of the town. Lambess would not have come to town if there was no race meeting on.
Evidence was also given by Detective A. Moon and Racecourse Inspector A. Ward in support of the previous witness.
Counsel for the defence submitted that the case savoured of persecution, not prosecution. Lambess had not been given a dog’s chance to rehabilitate himself. The logical outcome would be that whatever town he went to he would be arrested on some charge.
The probation officer said that he would not recommend the man for probation under any consideration. He had fifteen convictions against him, and had abused all privileges. Lambess was a waster of the worse class.
The Magistrate (Mr J. S. Barton) said that accused had a hard row to hoe, not because of police persecution, but because of the reputation he had made for himself. He was convicted and sentenced to three months’ hard labour. -Star, 13/9/1926.
After this, Roy disappears from any reliable records in "Papers Past." An interesting clue does, however, come from a couple of stories featuring his surname. A Mrs J Lambess of Otaki died in October, 1934, and among her children is mentioned Roy in Western Australia. In February, 1936, a Mrs Roy Lambess and young son, holidaying in Otaki, are mentioned as intending to attend the upcoming Wellington races before returning home to Australia. "Mr. Lambess," stated the Horowhenua Chronicle, "who intended to visit New Zealand, has been prevented from doing so for business reasons." If this is "our Roy," we can imagine what kind of business he was in and what kind of problems might have prevented him leaving Australia.
Roy Lambess' Australian adventures show up on the Australian newspapers source, Trove. The first result is the photo included in this story, published in the NSW Police Gazette in December 1928. He is described as "Thief and confidence man." And indeed, the following April, Lambess is in court charged with conspiracy to defraud.
Not long after that he married in 1934. He and his wife had a son they named Keith and in 1938 he was licensed as a bookmaker's clerk.
In 1940 his wife, Lillian, was convicted of shoplifting and, in 1942, Roy of illegal betting. Presumable his job forbade him from taking a punt on a horse. The marriage seems not to have lasted long after that.
36527 Private Leo Augustus South
Leo Augustus South admitted having driven a vehicle at other than a walking pace round the corner of Pitt-street and Karangahape-road, and was fined 10/ and ordered to pay 13/- costs. -Auckland star, 23/6/1909.
IDLE AND DISORDERLY.
Charges of being an idle and disorderly person and habitually consorting with convicted thieves were preferred against a young man named Leo Augustus South, for whom Mr. Hackett appeared. The accused admitted the offence, but stated that he had only been out of employment a week. As he intended to leave the city he was convicted and ordered to come up for sentence when called upon. -NZ Herald, 14/3/1910.
A MONTH FOR ASSAULT.
Leo. Augustus South, a youth, pleaded not guilty to a charge of assaulting Robert Jos. Simpson, by striking him on the mouth, and pleaded guilty to resisting a constable in the execution of his duty. The complainant said that he met accused in Swanson Street, and accused took him up Mill Lane, asking him to come there and receive £5, which ateused said he wanted witness to mind. When they got in the lane accused struck witness violently in the mouth, and floored him several times. Other evidence bore this out, but accused said he had been struck first. Accused was sentenced to a month's imprisonment on each charge, the sentences to be concurrent. -Auckland Star, 9/1/1911.
After a number of similar court and newspaper appearances, Leo South enlisted in the Army on September 21st, 1916. He seems not to have liked army life and deserted the next month, for which he was tried along with another charge of desertion in 1919.
POLICE COURT NEWS.
DESERTER FROM FORCES.
A SOLDIER named Leo Augustus South pleaded guilty in the Police Court yesterday before Mr. E. C. Cutten, S.M., to being drunk, procuring liquor while prohibited, deserting from the forces, and travelling from Palmerston North to Auckland without paying his fare.
Detective-Sergeant J. W. Hollis said accused deserted from Trentham camp on December 9 and travelled to Auckland without paying his railway fare. The military authorities stated that this was the second time accused had deserted, and they wished to deal with him themselves. Accused was convicted and ordered to be handed over to the military authorities for punishment. -NZ Herald, 6/1/1917.
A HOME FIGHTER.
Leo Augustus South (28) was charged that yesterday he assaulted Constable Doel in Grey Street, and that he used obscene language. It was stated that Smith escaped from Quarantine Island at Port Chalmers over a year ago, and had kept out of Auckland, his home town, till this week. He had been posted as a deserter, and consequently when Constable Doel saw him in Grey street yesterday he interviewed him and then said he was wanted at the police station as a military deserter. South walked some distance with the constable and then suddenly struck the officer on the mouth, but was grabbed before he could get away and was handcuffed. South was sentenced to three months' hard labour and ordered to be handed over thereafter to the military authorities. -Auckland Star, 13/8/1918.
In January, 1919, Leo was court martialled on two charges of desertion and one of losing his uniform and equipment. Eighteen months prison with hard labour was the result, with stoppage of pay for the losses to the amount of L28 15/ 9d.
A Wife's Misconduct. Evidence by a private inquiry agent was given when Richard (Mr. McLiver) sought a dissolution of his marriage with Sarah Lenehan (Mr. Hall-Skelton). Leo Augustus South, cited as co-respondent, did not appear. Mr. Hall-Skelton withdrew the defence. The parties were married in November, 1908, and there were three children. On three occasions in 1923 a private inquiry agent, and another witness, saw respondent and co-respondent in compromising circumstances. A decree nisi was granted. -Auckland Star, 14/8/1924.
UNCLE’S DAY OUT
KICKED HIS NIECE
SEAMAN FINED £2 10/
As a loving uncle Leo Augustus South, a seaman, aged 40, was an utter failure. He kicked his niece Gwendoline on the hip yesterday.
Looking tousled and unkempt, South draped himself negligently over the dock at the Police Court this morning, when he was charged with being found drunk in Waima Street yesterday and also with kicking his niece on the hip. He pleaded guilty to the first charge, but not guilty to the second.
His niece said that South came to her house last evening and was drunk and offensive. When politely asked to leave, he refused vigorously.
“I said I would call the police,” said witness. "Then he kicked me on the hip, knocking me down. He wasn’t satisfied with that, so he chased me to slap my face.”
She had had to ask him to desist from using bad language in front of two young children also, she said.
Mr. E. C. Cutten: What relation is he? Your brother-in-law?
Witness (bitterly): No, my uncle, worse luck. I’m sorry to say it.
“I’ll take out a prohibition order against myself,” said South in a hoarse voice. "It’s only when I have drink I go like this.”
Mr. Cutten thought the day’s pleasure should be paid for and fined South 10s or 24 hours for being found drunk and £2 or seven days for assault. He was also ordered to take out a prohibition order and was bound over to keep the peace. -Sun, 3/4/1929.
ALL FOR A WOMAN.
PAWNED HIS TEETH.
LABOURER IN COURT.
THEFT CHARGE DISMISSED.
Some men will do almost anything if it is for a woman. Leo Augustus South, aged 44, labourer, when he appeared in the Police Court this morning, said that besides giving a woman £15 he had pawned his suit and his false teeth for her!
South was charged with stealing a handbag worth 6/0 and 8/6 in money, and with being drunk in Hobson Street yesterday. Represented by Mr. K. C. Aekins, he admitted that he was drunk, but denied the theft charge.
"Jiu-jitsu Stuff." Aileen Marmont said she was employed as housekeeper for a man named Crane. At 6.15 last evening accused and another man entered Crane's house. Witness said she was lying down as she was ill. "South demanded to know where my purse was and then he put over the jiu-jitsu stuff on me and took my handbag," she said. "He took the bag, which contained 12/." She said she used to know South, but not lately.
Mr. Aekins: Has he been spending a lot of money on you this last four weeks? — No.
Did he pawn his things to get money to spend upon you? — No, not on me. He pawned things for himself.
The Magistrate, Mr. Wyvern Wilson: How do you know that he pawned articles? — Well, I was with him and waited outside the shop. (Laughter.)
Counsel: Do you deny that he asked you for the pawn tickets, so that he could get his suit and false teeth out of pawn, and you would not give them to him? — Yes, I do.
Witness admitted she had a number of previous convictions, and had been in prison.
Richard Crane, waterside worker, said Marmont was employed by him as housekeeper. Last evening, South and another man rushed into his house by the back door, which was open. They refused to leave when he told them to go. Later he heard Marmont scream, and he next saw her leave the bedroom with her hair "all pulled out." South remarked that he was "going to clean the house up." Witness then went for the police.
Cross-examined by Mr. Aekins, Crane admitted he and Marmont had been living as man and wife, but said she was his housekeeper. He gave her a few shillings and her keep. She wanted to stay at his house until she got a job in the country.
Mr. Aekins told the magistrate that South merely wanted the purse to get his pawn tickets and retrieve his property. "I submit that there is no evidence disclosing theft," he said. "Is your Worship prepared to dismiss the matter at this stage?"
"A Better Story." Mr. Wilson: The story is a good one until a better one is told. (Laughter.)
South, who wore a shirt with the sleeves rolled up, revealing a tattooed arm, entered the witness box. He said Marmont and he had been living together for four weeks, and that he had spent £15 on her. "I even pawned my suit and false teeth to get money to spend on her, and all I wanted the purse for was to get the pawn tickets," he said. "There was never any intention to steal."
Detective-Sergeant McHugh: Why did you rush in and take this woman's purse when she was lying down on the bed? — There is no bed there for her to sleep on. She was standing up in the kitchen when I went in.
"The story told by accused is quite as likely as those told by the lady and her paramour," said the magistrate in dismissing the theft charge. South was fined 5/ for drunkenness.
"Now that the theft charge is dismissed, may South have the 8/0 found on him when arrested?" asked counsel.
The magistrate replied in the affirmative. -Auckland Star, 11/1/1934.
SEAMAN BADLY CUT.
When he fell and broke a bottle in his hip pocket last night at 6.30 o'clock, a seaman, Mr. Leo Augustus South, living at 19 Waima Street, Grey Lynn, suffered deep cuts and loss of blood. He was taken to the Auckland Hospital in a St. John ambulance, and his condition to-day is not regarded as serious. -Auckland Star, 1/5/1937.
That is the last I can find of the story of Leo Augustus South. His later life, his death and his resting place are not (so far) findable on line.
17831 Private George Norman Joseph Sowman
A SOLDIER AND SPIRITS
Liquor on Quarantine Island
Some Serious Statements Made
Denied by Defence Department
(From "Truth's" Dunedin Rep.)
At the Dunedin Police Court, before Mr. J. R. Bartholomew, S.M., last week a young soldier was charged with a serious breach of the Defence Act, viz., having taken liquor into the military barracks at Quarantine Island.
Defendant pleaded guilty.
Sub-Inspector Broberg said that the defendant was one of a number of men
CONFINED ON QUARANTINE ISLAND. On August 18, in charge of an officer, he left the island to visit a dentist at Port Chalmers. Later, he broke away from his escort, and did not return to the Island until the next morning. When he did return, he had with him a hand-bag containing two bottles of whisky and one bottle of rum. This was taken from him by the military authorities, and the stuff was placed in the sergeant-major's office. Defendant, however, entered the office later and got away with the bag and its contents. Recently, the Defence authorities had reason to believe that liquor was finding its way on to the island, and the guards had been instructed to search every person going on the place.
Defendant: I was not aware at the time that liquor was prohibited on the island, for I had seen it taken there by others, some of them openly. I saw men coming on the Island with whisky bottles plainly sticking out of their pockets; everyone saw them. I don't see why I should be singled out for prosecution and no action taken in cases that were far worse than mine. Some men have broken leave and gone to hotels and no action has been taken against them. Even the guards themselves have brought liquor on to the island. I have never had anything against me before, either in civil or military life, and I do not wish to be convicted for a case like this, which is a common occurrence on the Island. It's unfair to especially prosecute me. I am a married man and all my earnings go to my wife and children. If I am fined for this, they will feel it.
The S.M.: Defendant's statement seems to alter matters somewhat.
Sub-Inspector Broberg: I have been informed by Major Sandle that there is
NO TRUTH IN DEFENDANTS STATEMENT. I was prepared for defendant's outburst. I fully expected it. Naturally, it is a difficult matter to discover every case in which liquor is brought on the island, but notices have been posted prohibiting liquor there, and defendant knew that liquor could not be taken into camp.
Defendant: I knew it could not be taken into Trentham, but I did not know it was prohibited on Quarantine Island, for I saw the guards fetching it there as well as others.
The S.M.: It is hardly correct for defendant to say that he was not aware that it was improper to take liquor on to the Island. His previous experience at Trentham should have made him aware of the illegality. A fine of £5, with 7s costs, was imposed. -NZ Truth, 23/9/1916.
The prisoner Sowman would seem to be George Norman Sowman (29/9/1887-12/3/1930), a french polisher from Fielding. His Army record shows him at Trentham and then at a place referred to as "Q. I." He was transferred to Featherston Camp on September 25, 1916. Arriving in Britain, his conduct did not improve, with a number of "overstaying leave" offences recorded, though some of those were from a hospital where he was sent after being affected by mustard gas in 1917. After Armistice Day, he was one of the many soldiers in Britain who wanted to go home and possibly felt that, with the war over, military discipline need not fully apply.
On February 26, 1919, he was court-martialed for incitement to mutiny. The actual wording of the charge was: "Endeavouring to pursuade members of His Majesty's service to join in a mutiny in that he at No. 10 Camp Canteen, NZ Command Depot, Codford, on 31/12/1918, addressed Pte McFarlane, Pte Spearman and other soldiers of the NZEF in mutinous language and endeavoured to persuade them to join in a mutiny and release prisoners detained in the detention room. Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline in that he at No 10 Camp canteen on 31/12/1918 created a disturbance in the said canteen by climbing over the counter and without authority issuing beer free to the soldiers.
"Sentence: to undergo 62 days detention."
My personal opinion on the above is that George Sowman was no great threat to the allegience of HM forces to HM. Soldiers who wanted to be home on New Year's Eve instead of in a camp on the other side of the world possibly had a little too much to drink and wanted a little more, and George was rash enough to try and organise it. Possibly arresting him was the best way to prevent things from going further on the night.
Sowman embarked for home on 12/4/1919. He died of pancreatitis at Whanganui in 1930.
Charles Wilson (20/7/1892-1917) was a seaman with the Union Steam Ship Co. when he enlisted in the NZ Mounted Rifles in the middle of 1916. He was in France when he was diagnosed with orchitis - inflammation of the testicles - at the end of the year. This diagnosis was changed to gonorrhea two months later.
Wilson was not a good soldier. It seems he contracted his disease while at Featherston Camp and his record contains the note, presumably on during his return to New Zealand, "held under military custody in Sydney in readiness for return to NZ by first steamer."
Wilson's position in the army, due to his disease, was not a good one. Veneral diseases, being regarded as caused by a voluntary act of the men, were seen by those in authority as a step below a self-inflicted wound. There was also a moral and practical dimension. Many people at home in New Zealand held an image of the Dominion as a fresh, new, progressive country, making a new start and not subject to the decadence of the "Old World." There was a fear that our innocent young men would be corrupted and diseased by that decadence and - even worse - bring that disease home to infect the innocents who had waved them goodbye. It is slightly ironic that Wilson was infected while still in New Zealand.
ACCIDENTS AND FATALITIES.
RETURNED SOLDIER DROWNED.
Press Association. DUNEDIN, December 22. A returned soldier, named Charles Wilson, while returning from Dunedin to Port Chalmers, under escort, yesterday afternoon, escaped from the train at Burkes. He later went to Port, commandeered a small boat, and attempted to row to Quarantine Island. The sea was rough, and Wilson was seen at 6.30 p.m. struggling in the water. The police secured a launch and went to the rescue, but Wilson disappeared. The body has not been recovered. -Sun, 22/12/1917.
A MISSING SOLDIER
CIRCUMSTANCES CAUSE APPREHENSION.
[Per United Press Association.] DUNEDIN, December 22. While Trooper C. Wilson was being escorted to Quarantine Island yesterday he escaped from the custody of the military police. In the evening he was seen under the influence of liquor at Port Chalmers at a boatshed where Henry Percy kept a dinghy. Later a man in a dinghy was seen to be in difficulties, but when assistance reached the spot the dinghy was found half full of water and the occupant had disappeared. A search was made for the body then and resumed to-day without result. In the boatshed was found a soldier’s tunic with documents bearing the name "C. Wilson”; also three £1 notes and a silver watch. -NZ Times, 24/12/1917.
So there we have it - "under the influence of liquor." To add a little to the story, we can pose a question or two. Why was Charles Wilson being returned to Port Chalmers under escort? The logical answer would be that he had escaped and gone into town. Why had he escaped from the train, gone to Port Chalmers and then tried to row to Quarantine Island? The timing is key - the pub that he made for would have closed at 6pm under wartime regulations. It might then have occured to him that his inevitable punishment might be made lighter if he made it to the Island and gave himself up. As to his leaving his tunic and valuables in the boatshed - loss of the tunic would provoke extra punishment - well, it's possible that the influence of liquor which made him think that he could row to the Island also made him forget that he had removed his uniform tunic in the boatshed.
As far as I can tell, Charles Wilson's remains were never found.
MONTHLY GENERAL MEETING. (excerpt)
Mr Jones recalled a fatality which happened some three or four years ago when a soldier was drowned in an open boat between Quarantine Island and Port Chalmers. He moved that the Minister of Defence be asked: (1) If an inquiry had been held, and if so, what, action had been taken? (2) What action had been taken with the guard? (3) If any allowance had been paid to the dependents? — The motion lapsed for want of a seconder, and on amendment was carried that full particulars of the incident be laid before the next meeting. -Otago Daily Times, 29/11/1921.
THE SOCIAL SCOURGE.
DRASTIC PRECAUTIONS PROPOSED.
MEDICAL INSPECTION AND DETENTION.
CLINICS TO BE ESTABLISHED.
DEALING WITH THE QUACK.
WELLINGTON, July 19. Among the provisions in the War Regulations Bill is one to give the Government power to frame regulations for dealing with the ever-increasing social evil, and the Hon. G. W. Russell, in outlining a number of drastic proposals having for their object the stamping out of this scourge on the community, made a forceful and impressive speech to-night, “with the gloves off,” as the Minister himself termed it. In order that this aspect of the Bill might be more freely discussed, all ladies in the galleries were requested to leave the Chamber.
The Minister explained the scheme regarding the treatment of venereal diseases. That the disease was rampant in the country was shown by the fact that 292 soldiers had been admitted to camps suffering from these diseases, 279 being the milder form. Ninety were segregated on a certain quarantine island. The question for the country was whether these men should bo shut up while diseased women were allowed to continue to spread contagion. Comparisons showed that New Zealand was better off in this respect than other countries. Control of women was tried under the C.D. Act in Christchurch. He understood it resulted in improved conditions. He saw no reason why infected persons should mix with a healthy community. This should apply to men and women. (Hear, hear.) He did not propose anything in the nature of restoring the Contagious Diseases Act, but he proposed to take power by regulations to place the one-woman brothel on the same footing as a brothel containing more than one woman. (Hear, hear.) The by-laws of Auckland and Wellington brought one-woman brothels under the law, and he proposed to make the same law to the whole Dominion, (Hear, hear.)
Then, again, he proposed that any woman proved to be leading an immoral life should be subject to medical inspeciton, and if found to be diseased should be detained until cured. The question whether, after being cured, such women should be sent to a reformatory would have to be dealt with later. Women proved to be vagrants and found diseased would also be treated in the same way. (Hear, hear.) The greatest difficulty, however, went on the Minister, would be in dealing with clandestine prostitution of both sexes. This class was undoubtedly far more numerous than those who gave up their lives to immoral courses. The British medical faculty had set its face against notification, and he was satisfied that any attempt to make venereal diseases notifiable in New Zealand would result in driving the disease underground. He doubted very much if doctors would notify the Department, and this underground aspect was, therefore, the very thing to be avoided. In dealing effectively with such a disease, he thought, therefore, the course to be adopted should be along the lines of making it a criminal offence for any person except a legally qualified medical practitioner to treat venereal disease. (Hear, hear.) This should have the effect of preventing chemists and quacks of all descriptions from diagnosing the disease and giving patients treatment. (Hear, hear.)
ESTABLISHMENT OF CLINICS.
The next step to be taken, said Mr Russell, should be the establishment of clinics for the treatment of venereal diseases. He did not advocate the establishment of separate institutions, as they would from their very nature prevent persons from going to them for treatment, (Hear, hear.) The only way was for venereal diseases to be treated at public hospitals as being among the ordinary diseases for which the hospitals existed. He intended, therefore, to ask the House to empower him to pay subsidies of 75 instead of 50 per cent towards the cost of treating venereal diseases at hospitals. (Hear, hear.) If possible, there should be female doctors for women and male doctors for men, and to be effective these hospitals for venereal diseases should be open day and night.
Another important aspect was the educational, as an enormous amount of good could be done in this direction. (Hear, hear.) With this object he proposed to print and circulate widely extracts from medical reports in all their hideous nakedness, showing the disastrous risks run by incurring danger of infection. He proposed also to institute lectures by male and female doctors to both sexes in all parts of the country to show the danger of promiscuous intercourse. In this educational phase he hoped to have the assistance of the bishops and clergy of the Dominion, while in secondary schools and the higher classes of the primary schools more instruction should be given. Advantage should also be taken of evening classes at technical schools, and professors should be enlisted as agents in propaganda dealing with this disease. The Minister went on to express the opinion that it should be obligatory for doctors to hand to patients suffering from the disease cards containing instructions, and he would be pleased to have such cards printed at the Government office and distributed to any medical men who applied for them. He also appealed to school teachers to assist in the work, and to the Press, which he remarked had already given valuable assistance.
PRECAUTIONS IN AMERICA.
Mr. Russell went on to explain some precautions adopted in the different States of America. Among the precautions whiph he thought should be adopted here were the prohibition of any persons afflicted with syphilis from employment in such places as bakeries, meat shops, etc., and also in barbers’ shops. He did not think however, that New Zealand was prepared to go as far as interdicting marriage between persons suffering from venereal disease, as was the case in some American States.
OUR DUTY TO SOCIETY.
Discussing the aspect of the disease as it applied to men in training camps, the Minister said that men suffering from it were probably better than a large number of civilians, who could keep their condition secret. (Hear, hear.) He added: “I am not going to allow the question of delicacy to close my mouth when I am dealing with a problem of this kind. (Hear, hear.) The only way of dealing with this matter is by taking the gloves off and realising that instead of dealing with it underground the best thing is to face it and try to destroy the trouble effectively. (Hear, hear.) Every suggestion that can be made to assist the Government in coming to a wise decision on this matter will be welcomed. It is a duty we owe to ourselves, and to the unborn children of this country, that we should do the utmost we can to stamp this dreadful disease out,” (Hear, hear.)
The Minister added that he wished to assure members that a most careful examination was made under the Public Health Department of all men returning from Egypt and Gallipoli, and no patients were released from quarantine until the officers were satisfied that there was no danger of the disease in an Eastern form being communicated in this country. There had been no evidence since the men returned from the war areas of any of the grosser and more horrible forms of venereal diseases which afflicted the East. Upon the Minister concluding his speech he was accorded prolonged applause by the whole House.
MINISTER’S PROPOSALS COMMENDED.
Mr. Hornsby strongly emphasised his condemnation of the attitude of women who slighted and ignored their sisters who fell, but opened the doors to the man who offended. The best thing the Minister proposed was to deal with quacks. The next thing was to force the medical men to notify the disease.
The Hon, G. W. Russell: They won’t do it.
Mr. Hornsby: Strike the offenders off the roll.
Mr. Wilford congratulated Mr. Russell on his statement regarding the social evil, and expressed the belief that it would have a deep effect on public opinion. On some points he disagreed with the Minister, especially the proposal to send doctors round to give local instruction. The best way was to clean up the disease from its source. Let them stop at the right to control women who were liable to spread the disease, as he was positive that reformatory, treatment would be useless.
Dr. Thacker commended the Minister of Internal Affairs for gripping the question in a thorough way. He had up-to-date knowledge. His efforts would do more for New Zealand than those of any previous Minister. The best remedy was educative measures, starting as soon as children realised sex. -Greymouth Evening Star, 21/7/1916.
THE CALL OF GOD TO THE WOMEN.
(By Mrs Harrison Lee Cowie),
Organiser of "The Strength of the Nation Movement" for the
"Women's Christian Temperance Union."
"Call for the women that they may come, and send for wise women, that they may come . . . for death is come up into our windows, and Entered into our palaces to cut off the children from without, and the young men from the streets. — Jeremiah ix.: 17 and 21.
It was a time of great national calamity, and God did not say: "Call for the politicians, call for the mighty men, call for the eloquent orators," but "call for the women." And He called them not by love of money or fame or power, but by the tenderest ties of a woman's nature — "Love for her children.''
The same call is sounding throughout New Zealand to-day.
Tragedy, pain, and death, from a preventable cause, are in our land, and the weeping women, the shy girls, the nervous mothers, the shrinking daughters are being called to take up their cross to save the sons of Britain.
"Rise up, ye women that sit at ease; give ear to my word ye careless daughters."
"We have not yet resisted unto blood striving against sin"; but we are all going to do and dare now for our Empire's salvation.
If men and women die through drink, what should we do to save them from it?
ITEMS OF DAILY NEWS.
Inquest on Soldier. — "Deceased fell off the train returning to camp. He had been drinking."
Suicide in Camp. —"Deceased had been drinking." Inquiry on Old Man's Death.—"The two men quarrelled in an hotel bar, and deceased was struck with a bottle."
Woman's Tragic End. — "Deceased I was known to be a heavy drinker."
From the Sydney "Daily Telegraph" we cull this item, which applies equally to New Zealand soldiers:— "The greatest difficulty is experienced in finding suitable positions for men who can only do light work. A number are not fit for much of that, while others again, are absolutely unemployable. The curse of drink is around their necks like a millstone, keeping them down and retarding their recovery. We help them up, and put them into a job; but the first pay day, down they go, and it is a sad and painful sight to see staggering and drunk about the streets some of the bravest things God ever made." —Report of New South Wales War Council Employment Sub-committee.
Hon. Mr Russell said (Auckland,March 20, 1917): "Drink leads to the sin which produces the awful venereal disease, increases its intensity, and retards the chances of recovery."
Dr. McGuire said (same date): "I am Superintendent of the largest hospital in the Dominion, and was a military medical officer in Egypt. Drink was tho one great cause of the dreadful trouble we had there with the loathsome venereal disease."
Dr. Patts Mills said: "The suffering women in our hospitals are there by hundreds through the terrible ravages of this fell disease. Little children blind, diseased, and crippled, witness to the awful retribution of sin, and these helpless, innocent women and children suffer through sins not their own"; and thousands of young men would have been saved from this awful punishment had they abstained from drink."
On Quarantine Island, Port Chalmers, are boys diseased in body, and sullied in soul, lost for ever as builders of our country. "It is not the will of your Father that one of those should perish"; but by the will of the brewers hundreds are. perishing.
"We shall lose a million pounds by Prohibition," cry the brewers.
"We shall save a million boys by Prohibition," cry the mothers.
"Beer or Boys!" Which shall we destroy? Which shall we protect ?
What about the Revenue? "If thy revenue cause thee to sin cut it off. It were better for thee to enter Heavyen with a deficit, rather than having a surplus be cast into Hell."
WOMEN, COME AND PRAY.
"In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in His bosom to transfigure you and me;
As He died to make men holy, we will die to make men free.
Our God is marching on."
Pray in your homes, in your meetings, in your churches. Pray for Prohibition, which really means —Home Protection.
Then go forth to pray in liquor bars and public thoroughfares — 100,000 strong.
You have fitted your boys for the world; now fit the world for your boys.
"This kind goeth not forth but by prayer and fasting." Mark ix.: 9 29.
We must compel the liquor traffic to go by the power of woman's love blending with the will of God.
We must teach our nation that "Whosoever causeth one . . . . to offend (to sin), it were better that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea."—Mark ix.
Get this Call into every newspaper, send it to every Church and religious society. Post it to every woman you know. Pray and work, spend, and give for our Nation's Salvation.
Men and Women wanting to join us to work in any way, send names I and addresses to nearest local Union, or direct to — MRS HARRISON LEE COWIE, Strength of Nation Movement, Invercargill.
HOSPITAL BOARD REPORTS (excerpt)
The report continues: The medical superintendent reports that he has found it necessary, owing to the large number of female patients on the waiting list and the overcrowding of the female wards, to transfer the venereal military patients from Dunedin Hospital to Quarantine Island, and that Ward 1 now contains ordinary female patients. The report is submitted herewith, and, as suggested, the Inspector-general has been advised of the position. -Otago Daily Times, 15/10/1917.
After the 1918 Armistice, with army camps emptying of soldiers and an expected influx of soldiers returning from the War, the Quarantine Island men were moved to the camp at Featherston.
Cases for Quarantine
A special general order just issued by the general officer commanding provides that when a reservist is medically examined and is found to be suffering from venereal disease, the group commander will take the necessary action, with a view to the man's transfer to Quarantine Island under escort, such action being taken in all eases and irrespective of the medical classification of the reservist concorned. The man will be retained on Quarantine Island until cured, and will then be brought before a medical board in Dunedin and reclassified. If he is then passed fit, he will be sent\to camp for training with the Expeditionary Force, and if unfit he will be given leave until further orders and despatched to his home. Soldiers in camp who contract disease are also to be sent to Quarantine Island under escort. In both instances special precautions will be taken during the journey to avoid any possible risk or infection to the outside public. -NZ Herald, 4/10/1918.
A Dunedin wire states: All military patients on Quarantine Island, numbering 38, were removed to Featherston yesterday. -Southland Times, 11/12/1918.
[Special to The Sun.] WELLINGTON, December 11. Some protests are being made against the removal of German internees and soldiers suffering from venereal disease to Featherston Camp. The Minister of Defence, replying to a question on the subject, said the position simply was that the Public Health Department required the evacuation of the quarantine islands. The interned enemy aliens had been held at Motuihi Island, Auckland, and Somes Island, Wellington, while the soldiers suffering from contagious disease had been isolated on Quarantine Island, Port Chalmers. The Health Department stated that, owing to the impending return of large bodies of troops, the evacuation of the quarantine islands was essential, in order that accommodation might be available for soldiers in the event of any epidemic appearing on a transport. The removal of the men mentioned having become necessary, the Defence Department had decided to make use of Featherston Camp. The Minister said he was advised that there was absolutely no danger to the public health in the arrangement proposed. The interned prisoners would be held under adequate guard, and the venereal cases would be kept in isolation. The men removed from the quarantine islands had to go somewhere, and the camp offered facilities in the form of buildings, cook shops, and official quarters. He did not think there was any just ground for protest or complaint.
WAIRARAPA IN ARMS
Press Association. WELLINGTON, December 12. Wairarapa people are up in arms against the proposal to use Featherston Camp as a lock hospital. It is asserted that a batch of diseased men from Dunedin got out of hand and overran the train, using all the conveniences. Representations are to be made to the Government. -Sun, 12/12/1918.
V.D. MEN AT FEATHERSTON.
Commenting on the new scheme for the use of Featherston Camp, the "Wairarapa Standard" says: — "The form of venereal disease from which the 200 men are suffering is not common venereal disease; it is venereal disease in its most aggravated and repulsive form. Among them, indeed, are some whose parents fancy they were killed in battle or reported missing, as parents were not notified in cases where sons preferred to remain dead rather than to be known as living and breathing masses of corruption. By what process of reasoning Featherston should be selected as the site pases comprehension. Yet we must believe our own ears when listening to a statement which comes from an authoritative source. Representations are being made to the authorities and the result of these is awaited with interest in the district.
NOT AS BAD AS REPORTED.
STATEMENT BY MR. HORNSBY M.P.
In the course of a statement made to a "Manawatu Daily Times" reporter at Masterton yesterday. Mr. J. T. M. Hornsby. M.P.. had something very interesting to say in connection with the bringing of a number of V.D. men to the Featherston camp.
"Thirty seven cases were brought up by rail." said Mr. Hornsby. "I wish to emphatically contradict the wild statements that bad cases have been taken to Featherston. Nothing of the kind has been done. The cases sent to Feahesston are not incurable. It is an imperative necessity that the quarantine island should be evacuated in order to make provision in case any of the transports returning to New Zealand should have an outbreak of an infectious disease aboard, which is quite probable. If we have no quarantine station to send the men to we may have other outbreaks. There will be no cases of consumption sent to Featherston. There has been an isolation camp for V.D.'s ever since Featherston has been a camp, so that it is not anything new. None of the awful cases will come to Featherston. The only place they will be removed to from where they are now is the grave."
''I am, however," said Mr. Hornsby. "exceedingly agitated at the callous and careless conduct of the authorities yesterday. Thirty-seven of the V.D. men broke guard and got drunk. Seventy-five per cent. of the men were under the influence of liquor when they arrived at Featherston, where a rather disgraceful scene took place. The Sergeant Major was in the same carriage as myself, and took not the slightest notice of anything that went on during the journey, and did not attempt in any way to control the men. The railway guard locked the men in the carriage, and told the Sergeant-Major what he though of him, and for which I commended the guard."
"I am now laying the whole of the facts before the Defence Department," said Mr Hornsby in conclusion. "But I would urge the public not to raise any unnecessary objection to the bringing of the V.D. men and the German prisoners to Featherston, as it is being done under absolute necessity. -Hastings Standard, 13/12/1918.
ANOTHER MILITARY MUDDLE
V. D. Soldiers Arrive in Wellington
AND BREAK AWAY UP TOWN FOR A DRINK
Three of Them Fail to Return
Disgraceful State of Affairs,
The good kind Christian folk of the Wairarapa, who live adjacent to Featherston Camp, are just now seething with indignation. The action of the Defence authorities in transferring the soldiers tainted with veneral disease from Quarantine Island, Port Chalmers, to Featherston Camp, is causing them great concern. "Truth" is not going to discuss the rights or wrongs of the case, from the point of view of the people of the Wairarapa at this stage, but if
THE DISGRACEFUL BUNGLING which happened in Wellington on Wednesday week, when a batch of V.D. cases came up by the south boat, is a fair sample of the way the Defence Department is going to look after these V.D. cases, then we are afraid the consternatton and disquietude of the people of the Wairarapa is not going to be without cause.
The Monowai had thirty-six of these V.D. cases on board whan she arrived in Wellington on Wednesday morning. The men were in charge of a guard consisting of a sergt.-major and eight men. But perhaps it is hardly right to call them men - callow youths is the best description.
The sergt.-major, however, appears to have been particularly inept. When the boat arrived at the wharf, instead of exercising some restraint and authority on the "tainted Tommies," who, for their own sakes and the sake of Wellington, should be kept in strict segregation, this man with "three stripes and a crown up" allowed the V.D. men to mix with the passengers and get ashore. Ordinary commonsense would surely have suggested that these men be held to strict account, that they be mustered immediately on the wharf, the roll called, and that they be marched off as unostentatiously and expedittously as possible to the Alexandria Military Depot, until their train for Featherston was due to start.
But no. What really happened was very different, not to say deplorable. Certain of the V.D. men refused to march up to the Alexandra Barracks. On this being reported, arrangements were made to send down ambulances for them. Before the ambulances arrived, however, the V.D.-ites changed their minds and said they would
GO UP ON FOOT. Then, for the most part, totally ignoring their ineffective guard and impossible sergt.-major, they straggled off up town. Before they had gone very far, certain men suffering from venereal disease broke away, intimating that they were "off for a booze." Whether attempts were made to stop them or not "Truth" cannot say, but in any case they went, and what is far more serious, three of them haven't come back yet! What dangers the community at large are liable to suffer through this chuckle-headed military inefficiency, "Truth" leaves to the imagination. Later news is to the effect that on arrival at Featherston seventy-five per cent. of the men were under the influence of liquor, and Mr. J. T. M. Hornsby, M.P., has made a statement to the press that the sergeant-major was in the same carriage as himself during the journey, but did not attempt in any way to control the men. The railway guard finally locked the men in the oarriage. "Truth" has been assured that the men who came up on the Monowai were not infectious cases. If this be so, how comes it that when the men arrived at the Alexandra Depot they were kept segregated, special food was prepared for them, and they partook of it off special plates, with special knives and forks and cups? They were not taking any risks up at the depot, at any rate, although these men were allowed to frequent hotel bars in Wellington without any regard to the danger to customers who might come after them. The men were dressed in ordinary khaki uniforms, with nothing to distinguish what kind of men they were, and thus nobody was wise as to what kind of "angels" they
WERE ENTERTAINING UNAWARES. Complaint was made to "Truth", that these men had been allowed to mix with the conscientious objectors incarcerated at the depot. "Truth" is informed this is not the case. The V.D. birds were kept quite separate from the "conchies." The upshot of the above regrettable affair is that General Henderson is to hold an inquiry into the whole circumstances. -NZ Truth, 21/12/1918.
The other day quarantine blankets were put up for sale at Dunedin, and it was only after the Mayor of that city telegraphed his protest that ths sale was stopped. There was a suggestion that the blankets were still disease-infected (some of them probably were at one time or another) and although Sir Maui Pomare denied this, the distribution of articles that had been in use on the quarantine island does not seem to be in line with the best ethics of public health. The watersiders who handled the stuff protested. -NZ Truth, 4/10/1924.