A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 112

The home of the Lonsdale Battalion 1914-1918
Jump to navigation Jump to search


who demanded passes, and after being taken by the police to a waiting-room were put into a waiting train. They were told this would take them to Stettin, but that if they looked out of the carriage windows or left the train they would be shot. Instead of six hours the journey to Stettin occupied 24 hours. The crowds on the platform were angry and menacing; insulting phrases were written on the carriages, and all food was refused.

When Stettin was reached the party were again told they were under arrest and that they would be locked up in the town. After managing to secure a sandwich the consul and his party were bundled into another train for a further 19 hours' run to Hamburg. On this train they were again submitted to the great indignities. They were searched, insulted at night time, and unable to sleep. A drunken sergeant with a levelled revolver entered their carriage, and the behaviour of all the soldiers and officials on the train caused the greatest distress, particularly to the ladies. At Hamburg the travellers were for the first time courteously received by a German officer. After a hurried wash the refugees were put into another train to convey them to the Dutch frontier.

There the worst of their trouble began. After an examination of luggage the police refused to accept their passes, and they were told they would have to remain. The ladies, they were informed, were free, but the men must stay. For seven hours the consul and his companions were kept at the station, a man standing over them with a loaded rifle.

After a time the ladies, after having been searched in a most indelicate fashion, were separated from their friends and sent off to an hotel, while the men were marched off to prison and thrown into cells. There they were searched, and the consul and three others placed in a cell. The apartment measured twelve feet by five feet, and contained straw, a blanket, and a jar of water. There the party were locked in and left the whole of one night and the following day, the cells being desti-tute of every sanitary arrangement. At 9.30 on the following morning they were let out for half an hour and paraded with criminals before being reconducted to their cell. The guard who brought food was armed with a revolver, had with him a police dog, and was followed by a rifleman. In fact, as members of the party say, they were like "rats in a trap." On the following morning the ladies, who were completely broken down

← 111   ·   112   ·   113 →
(page index)