A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 111


A CONSUL'S EXPERIENCE


residing in the adjoining Hotel Adlon–a suggestion which was even more childishly silly. Another explanation offered for the maltreatment of foreigners by people in authority was that to a great extent the authorities in question were such as had not come fully under the salutary influence of German civilian education. There is, perhaps, some justice in this plea, though it must be remembered that capable critics of German education have long maintained that at best its influence on the moral character of the nation was virtually nil. How foreigners were actually treated, even such as could by no possibility be mistaken for other than harmless travellers, may be illustrated from the following detailed account of the insults and indignities offered by the Germans to the British consul at Danzig, Mr. Francis E. Drummond-Hay, and his wife and children, and the party who were accompanying him. Authenticated accounts by members of his party show that not only the men, but also women and children of the consular party, were subjected to treatment of a character that in many respects cannot be made generally public.

For some time before England and Germany were at war great excitement prevailed in Danzig. As far back as July 30 the consul's telegrams were stopped or tampered with, and his tele-phonic connexion cut off. His first intimation that war had broken out was on the morning of August 5, when a police officer visited the consulate. He was told he was under arrest, and must leave as soon as possible. The officials further intimated that even his life was in danger. He was then conveyed to his private residence, six miles out of Danzig, and told that he and his family had an hour to pack and clear out. Mrs. Drummond-Hay, with her eldest son–a boy of 16 who had just arrived from Cheltenham on his holidays–a younger son of eight, and a governess, had previously received a visit from the officials, and were in great distress, being unable to telephone to the consul at his office in town.

On the arrival of the consul at his private residence the police gave them an hour to pack their handbags. The party then left the house in a motor escorted by police and soldiers en route for the station. At every street corner rifles were levelled at them, and they were hooted at and insulted. Arriving at the station, they were joined by the French vice-consul and a party of ten British refugees. Here they were molested by soldiers,

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