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Title: The British Interned in Switzerland
Author: Picot, Henry Philip
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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 _All rights reserved_



In giving the following pages to the public, I do so in the hope that a
plain statement of the life and activities of British soldiers whilst
interned in Switzerland may prove of interest to those at home who have
shown in so many and diverse ways their concern for the welfare of their
countrymen whilst Prisoners of War in Germany, and, later, during the
period of their internment in Switzerland. I have specially dwelt upon
the fruitful initiative taken by the Swiss Government in the
negotiations which preceded the acceptance by the belligerent States of
the principle of internment. I have also endeavoured to show—I fear very
inadequately—with what whole-heartedness the Prisoners of War were
welcomed in their midst by all classes of the population; and with what
devotion the Medical Department of the Swiss Army, to whose officers the
organization of the camps and the care of the sick were delegated, set
about its task.

With regard to the status of Prisoners of War in Switzerland, it should
be borne in mind that the Interned were under the guardianship of the
Swiss Government, who undertook all responsibility for their care,
discipline, and medical treatment. A special officer, or diplomat, (as
in the case of France and Germany), nominated by each of the belligerent
States, was attached to his Embassy or Legation with a view to his
collaboration with the Swiss political and military authorities in
respect of all matters affecting the welfare of his interned countrymen,
the more delicate international questions arising out of the internment
being dealt with by the Chiefs of the Diplomatic Missions accredited to

I have said elsewhere, and perhaps I may be permitted a repetition, that
the sense of a possible all-world-brotherhood had one of its happiest
demonstrations in the attitude of the Swiss people towards the
unfortunate sufferers of the war.

In conclusion, I beg to express my indebtedness and thanks to Lady Grant
Duff for many of the details connected with Chapters IV. and V., as also
to my wife and daughter for those of Chapter XIV. on the social life of
Berne from 1914 to 1918.




 PREFACE                                                             vii


    I. INTRODUCTORY                                                    2

         WAR—THE SWISS ARMY                                           11


         LEGATION RED CROSS ORGANIZATION                              38

         AT BERNE                                                     54

         BRITISH PRISONERS OF WAR FROM GERMANY                        72

         RELATIVE TO THE INTERNED PRISONERS OF WAR                    83


         BY LIEUT.-COLONEL SIR R. JONES, R.A.M.C.                    119

         WORKSHOPS AND FACTORIES                                     131


         OF THE INTERNED                                             159

         SPORTS OF THE BRITISH INTERNED                              174

         SOCIAL UNDER WAR CONDITIONS                                 191

 INDEX                                                               209


 B.L.R.C.O. British Legation Red Cross Organization.
 C.P. of W.C. Central Prisoners of War Committee.
 B.R.C.S. British Red Cross Society, London.
 S.B.O. Senior British Officer of the Camp.
 D.M.O. Directing Medical Officer.
 P. of W. Prisoners of War.
 A.S.A. "Armée Sanitäts Anstalt." Military Hospital at Seebourg.
 T.I.M. "Travail d'Internés Militaires." Workshop for French Interned
   at Vevey.
 B.I.T.S. British Interned Technical School at Vevey.
 C.C.C. Society. The Colonial and Continental Church Society.
 Y.M.C.A. Young Men's Christian Association.
 B.I.M. British Interned, Mürren.
 C.B. Confinement to Barracks.
 Ps. of W.H.C. Prisoners of War Help Committee.
 G.H.Q. General Head Quarters.
 Q.M.G. Quarter-Master General.
 V.A.D. Voluntary Aid Detachment.




Driving off with my daughter and just a couple of portmanteaux to the
London Chatham and Dover Railway, on July 16, 1914, _en route_ for
Thoune, our usual headquarters when contemplating a few weeks' wandering
in Switzerland, I little thought of the events the Fates were weaving,
and which, I suppose, have not left unaffected any individual destiny
either in Europe or in the whole world. It was a bright and sunny
morning, with a light cool breeze, upon which we congratulated ourselves
in view of the crossing of that narrow but often uncomfortable strip of
sea isolating us from the great continent at hand. Nothing, so far, to
warn us of any impending upheaval. The sea was blissfully asleep,
enveloped in a golden haze; and Paris as gay, nonchalant, and
unsuspecting of any approaching danger, as a child at play.

The papers which reached me, however, on arrival at Thoune, interfered
somewhat with the first enjoyment of mountain and lake. I remember
watching, one afternoon on the lake, the gathering of a storm over the
Interlaken valley, the mists sweeping up the lower slopes of the
mountains to unite with the gloomy, threatening clouds above, the whole
rent by sudden forked flashes and resonating peals. Was it a counterpart
I knew the German Government had long since planned war to hasten and to
crown their country's hitherto peaceful economic penetration abroad. Her
military writers had treated us to an exposition of the ways and means
by which world dominion could be secured; and her diplomats and
intellectuals had been at much pains to secretly enlighten their own
people as to the meaning of the "Welt-politik" they were so fond of
proclaiming. In England, individual lucubrations such as these would, in
the natural order of things, be set aside as of no special import; but
in Germany, where every class was drilled and schooled to the idea of
"Deutschland über alles," did they not foreshadow a national, even
racial impulse, gathering force as it developed?

Personally, I had all the less reason for anticipating any sudden
upheaval, as I had just assisted in London (February-March, 1914) at a
Conference between representatives of British navigation interests and
German delegates of the Bagdad Railway Company and the Deutsche Bank,
with the object of establishing the relative positions of our respective
interests, in so far as the navigation of the Mesopotamian rivers was
concerned. Daily, even twice daily, sittings were solemnly carried on,
with but one interruption of a week to allow the German delegates to
refer to Berlin for further instructions. About the end of February a
final understanding was actually reached, and embodied in an Agreement
duly initialed previous to ratification. These meetings received a good
deal of publicity at the time, and I only refer to them in view of
certain features which appear of psycho-historical value, as further
revealing German character and mentality.

The members taking part in the proceedings (presided over by a member of
the Foreign Office) represented the several interests involved, and in
addition Herr v. Kühlmann, then Counsellor of the German Embassy in
London, attended as representative of German diplomacy. It was the first
time I had met Herr v. Kühlmann, and I had no experience, therefore, of
his outlook or mentality. His attitude was curiously interesting and
ambiguous. He intervened but seldom in the debates, though, when he did,
it was to throw oil on troubled waters and expedite the business on
hand, whilst his remarks showed a certain grasp of the questions at
issue, which were mostly of a very detailed nature. The general
impression he made upon me, however, was one of supreme boredom on his
part. His attitude may be described as one of supercilious tolerance and
indifference, which puzzled me at the time, but which, in the light of
subsequent events, becomes perfectly clear and natural. As an official
in the confidence of the German Foreign Office, he was doubtless aware
of the intentions of his Government with regard to coming events.

It is now known as an established fact that, at the Imperial Conference
summoned at Potsdam, on July 5, 1914, at which representatives of German
Diplomacy, the Army and Navy, the great Banks, and well-known captains
of industry took part, a final decision was taken in favour of war. Mr.
Morgenthau, the American Ambassador at Constantinople, gives an account
of this Conference as related to him by Baron Wangenheim, his German
colleague; and on the subject of the question of responsibility for the
war, writes as follows: "My conclusions as to the 'responsibility' are
not based on suspicion or belief or the study of circumstantial data. I
do not have to reason or argue about the matter. I know. The conspiracy
that caused this greatest of human tragedies was hatched by the Kaiser
and his Imperial crew at this Potsdam Conference, on July 5, 1914."
Every leader and captain of industry evidently had his orders to be in
readiness for war, as the result of the decision of the 5th of July.
That Herr v. Kühlmann, like others, had confidential information of what
was maturing, admits, I believe, of little doubt; and the negotiations
at the Foreign Office for the regulation of so small an affair as the
navigation of the Mesopotamian rivers, when compared with the issues of
peace and war, must indeed have appeared to him as farcical and
particularly boring, given his knowledge of their probable aim and
purpose. Just as the departure of the Kaiser on his yacht for Norway
after the Potsdam Conference was calculated to give the Chancellories of
Europe a feeling of confidence, so the meetings in London must have been
calculated to lull our Foreign Office into a sense of security.

The general tension during the last few days of July brought to my mind
a conversation I had had with Colonel Trench, our former Military
Attaché in Berlin, in the summer of 1912, the memory of which did not
serve to minimize my growing uneasiness. I had, at the time, just read
works by Bernhardi and Naumann, in which the question of Germany's
future is argued in the frankest possible manner; in so frank a manner,
indeed, and with so little attempt at concealment, that both authors had
been classed by outside critics as hot-heads and fire-brands, in the
belief that they, like others of similar tendencies, were unsupported by
the more level-headed and responsible leaders of German policy. Some
colour was lent to this view by articles appearing simultaneously in the
German Press, specially written, as the sequel revealed, for foreign
consumption, setting forth that this militant school was led by
extremists who should not be taken seriously. Now, Colonel Trench had
had unusual opportunities of weighing in the balance the value of the
influence exercised by these so-called "extremists." His linguistic
accomplishments and attractive personality had made him a _persona
grata_ at the German Court, and had given him ample facilities for
approaching men of every cast of thought. He had, moreover, seen service
in South Africa with the German Expeditionary Force during the Herero
campaign, and had thus obtained a near view of the German military
machine and German methods of thought.

I, therefore, seized the opportunity of sounding him on the subject of
Bernhardi and similar authors, and asked whether they represented in his
opinion an extremist, or general, view of thought in Germany. He replied
that the views they held were now the common property of all the
thinking portion of the community, and even of the great majority of
their countrymen, whether articulate or inarticulate. Their very
bluntness had led to their being discounted abroad, but none the less
Germany practically throughout had been inoculated with the microbe of
world-dominion madness and stood solid behind the Military Party. He
then added what, at the time, seemed a very bold statement. He said:
"You will see that we shall be at war with Germany not later than
September, 1914. The Germans have fixed on that date as the most
favourable for their purposes. By then their final preparations will be
completed, and they cannot or will not wait, for were they to do so they
would be giving time to Russia to complete the strategic railways she
has in contemplation, and they are determined to forestall her railway

I met Colonel Trench again in the summer of 1913, and referring to our
conversation of 1912, adduced arguments then popular in England showing
what enormous risks, dynastic as well as economic, the Kaiser would be
taking by casting German prosperity into the melting-pot of war;
whereas, if left to proceed steadily on her present path, she might
achieve world dominion in an economic sense. He brushed aside these
arguments on the ground that the German ideal was not based on economic
dominion alone, and that such dominion would not satisfy the War Party,
who counted on a military success redounding to their credit and that of
the Army. He added that every nerve was being strained in anticipation
of the "Great Day," and repeated the statement he made in 1912, "that we
should be at war with Germany in September, 1914." Was this prophecy to
prove correct? It certainly looked like it to any one endeavouring to
read between the lines of the news pouring in.

I decided to wire to my wife, who was with Russian relatives, taking the
cure at Contréxeville, to hurry on to Switzerland direct. She had just
written to say that they proposed making a détour to Switzerland via
Colmar and the Black Forest, by automobile. Indeed, as it appeared
later, they were about to engage a car, and had actually made all
necessary arrangements to that end. Fortunately, my wire arrived just in
time, else I fear to face the thought of what might have been the
consequences had they been caught in Germany when war was declared about
a week later. As it was, my wife and her party arrived safely at Thoune,
escaping the French mobilization by a day or two.

On England's declaration of war, I decided to return home at once, and
went to Berne to secure passports and, if needful, letters of
recommendation. To my great pleasure, I found Sir (then Mr.) Evelyn
Grant Duff in charge of the British Legation as H.M.'s Minister to the
Swiss Confederation. We had been colleagues many years before
(1893-1895), he as Secretary, I as Military Attaché, at the British
Legation in Teheran, Persia, where we had worked, and spent several most
enjoyable years together. Mr. Grant Duff informed me of his urgent need
of a Military Attaché, Colonel Granet, appointed in that capacity to
both Italy and Switzerland, being detained in Rome, and so not available
at the time at Berne. Mr. Grant Duff proposed wiring, therefore, to ask
for my appointment, even if only provisionally. With the glad feeling
that I might once more be of service to my country, I accepted his kind
offer with the greatest alacrity. The answer to Mr. Grant Duff's
telegram arriving a few days later in an affirmative sense, I proceeded
to Berne, on August 11, 1914, accompanied by my wife and daughter, to
take up my new duties.

When establishing ourselves at the Bernerhof Hôtel, I had little idea it
would prove our residence for four consecutive years!



On my arrival in Berne, I found an unusual state of affairs. The
Minister and members of his Staff were being besieged by thousands of
British visitors in Switzerland clamouring to return to England, every
one of whom had to be provided with a special permit or passport. The
same thing was happening in a minor degree at the American Legation,
where the American Minister and his Staff, like ourselves, had to face
the question of difficulty of transport through France and across the

There were some eight thousand British subjects derelict in Switzerland,
many of whom, besides, had momentarily exhausted their financial
resources. Mobilization was taking place both in France and Switzerland,
and the amount of rolling-stock available for through transit was
extremely limited, so that it was clear that many of these visitors
would have to remain in Switzerland for a certain length of time.

At this juncture, the Swiss hotel proprietors behaved in a very
public-spirited manner. The Swiss banks, owing to the financial crisis
temporarily supervening, were unable to cash cheques on England, with
the result that visitors, willing as they might be, could not, in many
cases, settle their hotel accounts before departure. Realizing the
situation, the hotel proprietors not only declared their readiness to
accept deferred payment, but further offered their British clientèle the
use of their hotels for as long as necessary. This attitude on the part
of the proprietors at a moment of extreme difficulty not only reflects
credit on themselves, but is one on which our national pride may dwell
with pleasure, since it makes clear the confidence inspired by the
British visitor abroad.

The financial situation was further complicated by the fact that ready
money was practically unobtainable, H.M.'s Minister himself being only
allowed by his own bank to draw frs. 50 per week. A solution, however,
was soon happily found in a provision in the regulations of the Swiss
National Bank to the effect "that if gold be deposited at an authorized
centre, the Bank might issue notes against such gold." At the request of
the Minister, H.M.'s Government deposited £25,000 at the Swiss
Bankverein in London, upon which the Swiss National Bank opened an
equivalent credit in notes in favour of the Minister at Berne. Mr. Grant
Duff was thus enabled to issue cash in exchange for cheques, and so
facilitate the return of stranded British visitors.

Mr. G. P. Skipworth, the representative in Berne of the Westinghouse
Brake Company, volunteered to undertake the detailed work in connection
with this transportation, which, as a matter of fact, lasted over two
months. It suffices to say that it was no light matter to assemble
parties of three to four hundred visitors scattered all over
Switzerland, and to see them safely off to their satisfaction, if not
comfort, whenever through conveyance could be placed at their disposal
by the Swiss and French authorities.

Mr. Skipworth was, later on, appointed Assistant Commercial Attaché to
the British Legation in Switzerland, a post he still happily occupies.

On taking up my duties in Berne, I made the acquaintance of the heads of
the Military and Political Departments, of my Allied colleagues, and
also of the Commander-in-Chief of the Swiss Army—General Ulrich
Wille—and his Staff.

Based on the territorial system, the Swiss Army, in times of peace,
possesses no officer of the rank of General; but on occasions of
emergency, the appointment of a General as Commander-in-Chief is at once
proceeded with. His choice finally rests with the Federal Assembly. The
powers vested in him are of a very comprehensive nature; so
comprehensive indeed during this war as to cause no little alarm among
some sections of the community. In the emergency created by the
declarations of war in August, 1914, the choice of a General
Commander-in-Chief lay between Colonel Ulrich Wille, a citizen of the
Canton of Zürich, married to a member of the Bismarck family, and
Colonel Sprecher v. Bernegg, a citizen of the Canton of the Grisons,
married to a member of the family of Von Bülow; and it was some time
before the Government finally declared itself in favour of the former,
appointing Colonel Sprecher v. Bernegg as his Chief of Staff.

With my Allied colleagues, Colonels Pageot, Gourko, and Golovane, the
French and Russian Military Attachés, I maintained the most pleasant
relations, and our mutual frank co-operation under sympathetic
conditions will ever remain one of my most cherished memories. Colonel
Gourko is the son of the Field Marshal Gourko (later Governor-General of
Poland), of Shipka Pass fame. He had seen much active service, and is
said to have received more wounds than any other officer in the Russian
Army. Ever anxious to find himself in the trenches, he succeeded in
returning to Russia in 1915, where he fought on several fronts until
disabled by wounds, from which I am glad to know he again made a good
recovery. Since the Revolution in Russia, he, like so many others, has
given no sign of himself, and I have heard nothing further of him.
Colonel Pageot returned to the Western Front in 1916, in command of a
regiment, and greatly distinguished himself, receiving the "Croix de
Guerre avec Palmes," a distinction which gave much pleasure to his
former colleagues in Berne.

Prior to my departure from Thoune, I had been witness to the
mobilization of the Swiss Army, and was much impressed by the smoothness
with which that operation was conducted. There is nothing which touches
more profoundly the life of each individual citizen than the exigencies
of the defence of his country. Obligatory service has always been at the
basis of the life of the Swiss people from the early dawn of their
national history. The primitive cantons, even before 1290, were
persuaded of the importance of a preparation for war, a persuasion which
succeeding centuries have done much to develop and strengthen. The very
first cantonal pacts laid stress on the dispositions regarding military
organization, and as early as 1476, the Confederates placed contingents
in the field numbering 50,000 fighting men.

The principle of universal service as adapted to present day
requirements finds a willing acceptance amongst a people whose
instincts, though ultra-democratic, make them realize that their
independence rests on the attitude of the Confederation vis-à-vis of her
powerful, and sometimes aggressive, neighbours. I have never in my
experience of Switzerland heard a word of complaint of the burden borne
by the State owing to the obligation entailed by universal service,
though anger is deeply felt for the sacrifices imposed upon the country
due to the ambitions of those responsible for the Great War.

On the outbreak of war the Confederation manifested their determination
to maintain neutrality as against all comers, and, by the mobilization
of some 300,000 men, made clear to the belligerents their strength of

The following table[1] gives a résumé of the gradual evolution of the
military organization from the point of view of numbers legislated for
at different periods:—

 Year. |  Elite. | Reserve. | Landwehr. |    Landsturm      |   Total
       |         |          |           | and Complementary | Effectives.
       |         |          |           |    Services.      |
 1640  |   --    |   --     |    --     |       --          |   36,000
 1782  |   --    |   --     |    --     |       --          |   63,697
 1817  | 33,758  | 33,748   |    --     |       --          |   67,506
 1850  | 69,569  | 34,785   |    --     |       --          |  104,354
 1874  | 105,368 |   --     |  97,012   |       --          |  202,380
 1899  | 148,435 |   --     |  87,290   |     275,596       |  511,321
 1911  | 142,054 |   --     |  69,513   |     275,284       |  486,851

The Army is now composed of the whole of the fit male population between
the ages of 20 to 48; the Elite being drawn from men of the ages of 20
to 32 years, the Landwehr from 33 to 40 years, the Landsturm from 41 to
48 years. The effectives increase from year to year with the increase of
population. As regard instruction, the training of the infantry recruit
lasts 65 days, of the cavalry 90 days, of the artillery 75 days, per
annum. Repetition courses for the trained soldier take place annually,
and vary, according to the branch of the service, from eleven to
fourteen days. The Landwehr has a "repetition course" once every four
years. The Landsturm is only occasionally called up for a few days at a
time at long intervals.

According to Colonel Egli, the expenditure for military purposes for the
year 1911 amounted in all to frs. 44,777,894, being 25·9 per cent. of
the revenue of the country. The fact that Switzerland is able to
maintain a force of nearly half a million men at an expenditure of less
than £2,000,000 sterling speaks for itself. The war has, of course,
added greatly to the annual Budget. The additional expenditure from 1914
to 1918, owing to mobilization, extra material, higher rates of pay and
living, etc., form no small part of the accumulated deficit of the
country, which cannot be far short of £40,000,000 sterling, and is
steadily increasing.

The Military Regulations are so framed as to interfere in the least
possible degree with the civil life of the soldier, and yet, despite the
shortness of training, a very fair state of efficiency is reached and

The Corps of Officers is highly educated, and embraces in its ranks all
the best brains of the country. It receives its military instruction at
special military schools.

A valuable adjunct to the training of the rank and file is supplied by
the Shooting Clubs, of which thousands exist, and as shooting is the one
national sport, this important branch of instruction receives special

The disorganization which immediately resulted in the economic and
industrial life of Switzerland on the outbreak of war, became a matter
of great concern to the Government, who, under their first impression of
the World War, feared that economic ruin might become inevitable. It
looked as though the business of the hotels, in which enormous capital
has been invested, would cease to exist, whilst the future of hundreds
of thousands of skilled artisans and mechanics would be imperilled.
Foreign markets would certainly find their purchasing power greatly
reduced, and there was every likelihood of a shortage in the
half-finished products received from Germany and Austria, which finally
reached foreign markets after receiving at the hands of the Swiss
workmen that finish which gave them so great a part of their value. The
future was painted in the blackest of colours, but the outcome has
differed greatly from the first crude picture.

Never in the history of the peasant have such large profits been made as
during the last four years. The hotel industry has no doubt been
crippled, but it has been kept alive by the not inconsiderable influx of
wealthy refugees from Central Europe and neutral countries, and the
hospitalization of some 30,000 French, British, Belgian, and German
Interned prisoners of war. The watch and clock, automobile, electric,
and other mechanical industries, have made good by devoting their
attention to the manufacture of munitions or other war requisites, in
which the exceptional skill of the Swiss artisan has proved of
inestimable worth. The dye industry has been developed to such an
extent, that Switzerland may confidently expect to retain a portion of
this trade in competition with Germany in the future.

The war will, I would fain believe and hope, have given to Swiss
economics an elasticity and adaptability of which they stood in need,
and from many points of view will not have proved that unmixed evil
foreseen by her pessimists under the influence of their first fears.

German industrial circles have watched this development with misgivings,
and are busily taking precautionary measures to turn it to their
advantage by the loan of capital, by the infiltration of expert
management into all those concerns in which they foresee rivalry, and
often by the purchase outright of commercial undertakings likely to be
useful in supplementing the work of the Fatherland in the economic
struggle it will have to face after the war.

It is a matter of common knowledge that sympathies in Switzerland were
divided at the outbreak of hostilities, the French and Italian speaking
cantons having a decided bias in favour of the Allies, and the German
cantons one in favour of the other side. After the early successes of
the Germans, the opinion was generally held that Germany would press the
war to a conclusion so rapidly, that England would not be able to make
her weight felt in time to avert a calamity. Swiss military circles,
however, did not wholly share this view, as the following account of a
conversation, which in August, 1914, I had with a well-known Swiss
officer of standing shows. This conversation appeared to me at the time
all the more interesting as my informant was a Professor of Military
History, and, judging by his name, might have been expected to have his
views coloured by German sympathies. He spoke in the following
sense:— "Now that England has thrown in her lot with France and Russia,
the combination will probably be too great for Germany and her Allies,
but the struggle will be a bitter one. Remember the Seven Years' War,
and what Prussia was capable of in opposition to a host of enemies. You
will have many surprises; Switzerland, however, will welcome the
weakening of Germany, provided she is not completely crushed. A
weakening of Germany would be useful to us Swiss, for we see a great
danger to ourselves in the economic dominance she is obtaining in our
country. Any relaxation in that respect will be to our advantage."

The events of the last four years have done much to change feeling in
the German-speaking cantons, inasmuch as the invasion of Belgium, the
employment of poison gas, the sinking of the _Lusitania_, the brutality
of the submarine campaign, the destruction of Serbia, the harshness
shown to Roumania, have made an unfavourable impression on all classes
of the population. German propaganda has also thoroughly awakened the
country to the danger it was incurring from the stranglehold which
German financiers and industrials were establishing upon her economic

The revolutionary fiasco in Russia also, in no small degree, affected
public opinion. As a republican nation possessed with the ideal of the
rights of smaller nations to dispose of themselves, they feared and
abhorred the Russian form of government as represented by Czarism; and
this, no doubt, had a good deal to do with the way in which they
regarded Germany as a protector and a bulwark against the submergence of
Europe by a Slav wave. That danger now removed, they probably feel
Germany's support may be more easily dispensed with; and with a weakened
Germany they foresee the possibility of re-organizing their economic
life free from the trammels of an overbearing neighbour. The crushing of
Germany, however, would, they think, mean economic ruin to them; and at
this they draw the line.

[1] From _L'Armée Suisse_, by Colonel C. H. Egli, Colonel
d'Etat-Major Général, 1913.



In the early autumn of 1915 I came to London in connection with certain
details of work in Switzerland. During this visit I had the pleasure of
meeting Lord Kitchener for the first and, alas! for the last time. I had
received orders to report myself to him at the War Office, and at the
appointed hour, punctual to the minute, a member of his Staff informed
me that he was ready to see me. Lord Kitchener received me very
cordially, and plunging into business at once, said he wished to hear my
views concerning certain matters dealing with the prospective internment
of British prisoners of war in Switzerland, regarding which there was
some uncertainty at Headquarters. He then proceeded to give me his own
views with some emphasis and at considerable length. After hearing, in
answer, what I had to say, he remarked:— "What you tell me is most
interesting. You have treated the question at an entirely different
angle; I had no idea of the Swiss point of view, and am glad to know
that it confirms my own. I will get you in a shorthand clerk, to whom
you can dictate what you have just told me. It can then be signed before
you leave. I shall be seeing the Cabinet this afternoon, and will
present your statement to them." On my suggesting he would have a more
carefully compiled statement if I could quietly prepare it, he said:
"No, I want it at once; the sooner I get it the better." In an hour's
time the statement was in his hands. I know not whether the method
adopted by Lord Kitchener in this interview was characteristic of him,
but from that standpoint it may be worth recording. My general
impression was that of an imposing personality and a great driving
force, full of vitality and youth. His manner was altogether charming,
and I can well imagine him to have inspired enthusiasm amongst those
brought into close contact with him.

Whether this interview had anything at all to do with my later
appointment is problematic; but at the end of December, 1915, after a
tenure of eighteen months of the Military Attachéship, I was relieved by
Colonel Wyndham, 60th Rifles, who had seen service and been wounded in
France, and on May 14, 1916, I was appointed "Officer in charge of the
arrangements for the British Interned in Switzerland."

The first idea of internment of prisoners of war in a neutral country
appears to have been suggested by Monsieur Louis de Tscharner in the
Swiss Press nearly a year before the outbreak of war. In an article
dated September, 1913, the writer suggested, curiously enough, the
conclusion of a Convention between Switzerland and the neighbouring
States relative to internment, though why or how the idea happened to
occur to him does not appear. He proposed that these States should
engage themselves to respect Swiss neutrality, and to provision her
during the period of war, whilst Switzerland should, in exchange, take
charge of the wounded, and, upon their return to health, restore them to
their countries of origin. This new and interesting suggestion became
the subject of numerous articles and was much discussed at the time, but
the conclusion of a bargain, with a view to obtaining respect for Swiss
neutrality in exchange for services rendered, was not agreeable to Swiss
national pride, and the subject was allowed to drop.

The following preliminary negotiations embrace two distinct questions:
Direct Repatriation and Internment in Switzerland, which, in the
process, intersect each other. I give them, therefore, in chronological

Shortly after the outbreak of hostilities, the question of the direct
repatriation of prisoners of war was brought forward by the Swiss
Federal Council at the instance of the International Committee of the
Swiss Red Cross, and the French and German Governments were addressed
with a view to a direct exchange of such wounded prisoners as could no
longer be made available for military service ("grands blessés"). A
similar proposal also emanated from the Holy See which did much to
promote an understanding between these Governments, and an agreement was
reached in February, 1915, as a result of which between March, 1915, and
November, 1916, 2,343 German and 8,668 French "grands blessés" were
transported through Switzerland to their own countries.

No sooner had this repatriation of the "grands blessés" commenced, than
the idea of internment in Switzerland was revived, and in January, 1915,
Monsieur Ador, the venerable President of the International Committee of
the Red Cross, approached Monsieur Millerand, the French Minister of
War, on the subject. He suggested the advisability of hospitalizing in
Switzerland prisoners "petits blessés," wounded or suffering in a less
degree than the "grands blessés"; all those, in short, who might benefit
by the care they would receive at the hands of his Government. His
suggestion was favourably received, and conversations at once ensued
between the Federal Council and the French and German diplomatic
representatives at Berne, with more special reference to men suffering
from tuberculosis.

These conversations had originally in view the internment of Officers
and N.C.Os. only. It was not till May, 1915, that the men came also into
question. At that date, le Comte Charles Santucci, Envoy of the Holy
See, submitted a project to the Federal Council at Berne suggesting that
the scope of the internment should be broadened, so as to include all
ranks, whether Officers, N.C.Os., or men; and not only the tuberculous,
but numerous other categories of sick and wounded. He had in view always
an equal number of either side.

The Council declared its readiness to devote itself to the realization
of this enlarged programme, and thereupon opened negotiations with the
interested Governments. These were both long and delicate. The first
difficulty which presented itself concerned the guardianship of the
Interned. The Council were averse to the immobilization of a part of
their forces for that purpose, and asked what guarantee the captor State
would have that its prisoners would not seek an early opportunity for
escape. This difficulty was settled by the Council, who made the
proposal that the belligerent States should agree to return to
Switzerland all prisoners of war who might escape to their own
countries, and a settlement was agreed upon in this sense.

The next point for decision was as to the numbers of the Interned; on
what basis was this to be established? Should it be on the principle of
rank for rank and head for head, or be based on categories of
disablement without regard to equality of number? France showed itself
favourable to the latter principle, Germany to the former. It was only
in the month of October, 1915, that Germany declared itself in accord
with the project for internment, but refused to admit the principle of
categories, and maintained its view as regards the equality of numbers.

In November, Mgr. Marchetti, Delegate of the Holy See, with a view to
inspiring confidence in Germany in the principle of the categories,
intervened with the proposal that neutral Commissions of medical
officers should proceed to the camps and be made responsible for the
selection of the prisoners for internment. At last, in December, an
agreement was reached between Switzerland, France, and Germany, whereby
the principle of categories without regard to equality of numbers was
accepted. The establishment of neutral Commissions of medical officers
was also agreed upon.

At the end of December, Monsieur Hoffmann, then President of the Swiss
Confederation, posed the question of the internment of civilians, and
made a proposition in this sense which was favourably received.

In January, 1916, the Chief of the Swiss Political Department was able
to announce to the Federal Council that the negotiations on the subject
of the "petits blessés" had reached a practical result, and the
Department made a proposal for the immediate internment of 1,000 Germans
and 1,000 French by way of trial. The tuberculous were to come first,
but if these numbers were not reached, then the balance was to be made
up with the sick of other categories. The organization and direction of
the internment was placed in the hands of Colonel Hauser, principal
medical officer of the Swiss Army, and on the 12th of January, 1916,
that officer was able to announce the creation of a special branch of
the sanitary service, with a central office at Berne, for internment

Already, by February 14, 883 French, including 104 officers, and 364
Germans, including 7 officers, had reached Switzerland, and had been
located in the regions of Montana, Leysin, and the Quatre-Cantons, etc.
These first arrivals had been designated by doctors of the captor
States, and after a further examination at Lyons and Constance by a
Control Commission, had been definitely nominated and passed on to

Although in agreement on the principle of Internment, two points of
capital importance yet remained to be fixed:—

1. The list of disabilities on which the internment was to be based.

2. The organization of the Itinerant Commissions of Swiss doctors, whose
duty it was to visit France and Germany and designate candidates for

With regard to 1, the first list of 12 categories drawn up in January,
1916, was increased to 20 categories in February. In June and July,
1916, the list was again the subject of discussion by an International
Conference at Berne, and the categories were then finally fixed at 18.

With regard to 2, the proposals made by the Council for the appointment
of ten Sanitary Commissions for each country, composed of two Swiss
doctors reinforced by a third, an officer of the captor States, who
should have the place of President, with power to examine and designate
prisoners for despatch to Lyons or Constance, as the case might be, for
a final inspection by a Board of Control, was accepted by the French and
German diplomatic representatives at Berne, in February, 1916. On the
21st of February the Political Department announced the approaching
departure of the Itinerant Commissions.

On the termination of these negotiations, the Swiss Government invited
Great Britain and Germany to become parties thereto, offering to give
the same hospitality to their prisoners of war as to those of France and
Germany. This offer was accepted, and in May, 1916, the agreement, as
drawn up between France and Germany, was also made applicable to Great
Britain and Germany.

No time was lost in carrying out the intentions foreshadowed. Already,
in March, 1916, the first Itinerant Swiss Commissions set out on their
visit to the camps in France and Germany, and during March, April, and
May, were busily engaged in examining such prisoners as were said to be
suffering from the disabilities set forth in the various categories.

By the time I reached Berne on the 14th of May, 1916, to take up my
duties as "Officer in charge of British Interned in Switzerland," the
work of these Commissions was drawing to a close, and Colonel Hauser
(Chief Medical Officer, Swiss Army) informed me of the concentration at
Lyons and Constance of French, German, and Belgian prisoners of war who
had been designated by the Itinerant Commissions for further examination
by the Boards of Control at those places. Amongst these were several
hundred British officers and men, and he suggested that he might effect
their transfer from Constance to Switzerland within a fortnight, if it
were possible for me to be in readiness for them; otherwise they must
await their turn, which would not come until a month later. The
alternative decided me to close with the offer, and to make what
arrangements I could in the few days at my disposal.

The three most important questions to be dealt with prior to the arrival
of the men were equipment, medical comforts, and choice of localities.

As regards the equipment of the men, I had already taken steps to ensure
the despatch from British Headquarters in France of everything
necessary, but owing to pressure on the French railways, no positive
assurances could be given me as to the exact date of delivery. Judging
by the condition of those French and Belgian prisoners who had already
arrived in Switzerland, I knew that the state of our men would be
equally deplorable, and I was anxious that they should be able to
exchange their worn-out and probably vermin-infested garments without
any delay. It was only too likely, also, that the first arrivals would
consist of the badly wounded and tuberculous, men who would be in urgent
need of sick and home comforts—not that the Swiss would not have all
essential medicines and comforts at their disposal, but they could not
have in any abundance the comforts and requisites familiar to our

Such being the conditions, I addressed myself to the "British Legation
Red Cross Organization," and was much relieved to find that Mrs. Grant
Duff had not only laid in stocks of medical comforts, but had prepared
her staff for any sudden call I might make upon her for underclothing or
hospital garments. The various groups in Switzerland forming part of her
organization were set to work, and within the fortnight sufficient
underclothing was made up to meet the requirements of 500 men, and
hospital garments for 200 sick. As it turned out, the regulation kit was
delivered just in time to have it ready for issue, so that the men were
outfitted from head to foot on arrival, the fullest use being made of
the Red Cross clothing.

I had in the interval visited the camps at Château d'Oex and Leysin. I
was met at Château d'Oex by the Swiss military and civil authorities,
great pleasure being manifested by both at the prospect of entertaining
British troops. This health resort is too well known to need any
description. It suffices to say that it is situated at an altitude of
1,066 metres in one of the most beautiful valleys of Switzerland, and
has a reputation as a sports centre second only to that of Gstaad, a few
hundred feet higher in the same valley. The near proximity to the Lake
of Geneva, with which it is in touch by means of a mountain railway,
makes it a favourite resort of Swiss and foreign visitors. Excellent
accommodation had already been bespoken by Captain Dr. de la Chaux
(Swiss Army), who had been appointed to take charge of the camp, all the
smaller hotels and pensions being reserved for our officers and men.
Unfortunately, no hotel sufficiently large to accommodate all the
officers under one roof was available, as the two main hotels, the
"Grand" and the "Rosat," had expressed their inability to lodge officers
at the regulation price of frs. 6 per diem. Their managers very
naturally preferred to cater for the better paying visitor. Apart from
this, no exception could be taken to the class of accommodation provided.

Having satisfied myself of the suitability of Château d'Oex, with its
outlying villages of Rougemont and Rossinières, as a camping place for
the Interned, I now passed on to Leysin via Montreux and the Rhone
Valley, and mounting up by its electric railway, reached the beautiful
plateau of meadow lands, on which so many hotels and châlets have been
built expressly for the treatment of consumptives. A medical staff of
distinguished specialists is maintained there in association with the
hotels, the organization as a whole being that of a combined huge
hospital. In peace time it is crowded with patients from all quarters of
the globe, but at the time of my visit very few civilians remained, and
the doctors were busily engaged in adapting its resources to the use of
its new military clientèle. The doctors had donned their uniforms as
officers of the Swiss Army, and the place was rapidly assuming the
aspect of a small garrison town. Many of the hotels were already
occupied by French and Belgian soldiers, of whom, sad to say, there were
already 1,200 in hospital. Swiss soldiers were also in evidence, and I
here became aware for the first time of the fact that the Swiss as a
people are far from being immune to tuberculosis.

Arrangements were already being made for the accommodation of 200
British officers and men, Colonel Hauser having calculated that about
that number of consumptives would be likely to arrive with the first
party of British. No one could pass through Leysin without being
impressed, as I was, by the beauty of the surroundings, the detailed
perfection of its organization, and the purposeful construction of its
hotels and châlets built so as to receive every ray of sunshine. Nothing
struck me so much as the optimistic spirit which appeared to prevail
amongst all classes of the sick alike; every one seemed easily moved to
joy and laughter, ready to amuse and be amused, and I left with the
feeling that of all people none were so brave as the patients of Leysin.
Where this spirit prevailed, our men could not help but thrive, and any
anxiety I may have had on their account was completely dispelled by my
first visit to this sanatorium.



On the outbreak of war, the attention of various Swiss charitable
societies was at once concentrated on work connected with the provision
of comforts, clothing, and necessaries for the large body of Swiss
citizens who were withdrawn from civil employment to take their place in
the Army. Amongst the best known of these societies were:— "La Croix
Rouge," "La Société Suisse le Bien du Soldat," "Les Unions Chrétiennes
des Jeunes Gens de la Suisse," "La Ligue Pro-Captivis," "La Société
Suisse des Aumôniers," "La Société du Mogen David Rouge."

Around these societies local branches rallied all over the country; and,
as the war progressed, and the needs of the belligerent nations
gradually came to light, they extended their field of interest so as to
embrace the pressing needs of French civilians from the occupied regions
of Northern France, interned prisoners of war, and hospitals in France
and Germany. The work of the "International Red Cross Society of Geneva"
is too well known to need more than a passing reference here. It would
require a volume to describe the immensity and importance of its labours.

As many British visitors, delayed at Berne owing to difficulties of
transport, were anxious to show their appreciation of the courtesy
extended to them by the Swiss during their enforced residence in the
country, Lady Grant Duff (then Mrs. Grant Duff), the wife of H.M.'s
Minister, assembled working parties at the Legation for the purpose of
assisting the Swiss Red Cross, and the results of the first series of
these working parties were forwarded to Madame Hoffmann, the wife of the
then President of the Swiss Confederation. It was not long, however,
before rumours of the dire straits of the French wounded reached
Switzerland. The hospitals, it was said, were full to overflowing, and
the nurses were at their wits' end to find the simplest requisites for
these first victims of the war. The needs of the Allies had, therefore,
to be given first consideration, and Lady Grant Duff sent out an
invitation to her countrymen in Switzerland to co-operate with her in
the provision of clothing and requisites for these hospitals. The
response was immediate, and showed that every British man, woman, and
girl in the country was ready to come to her assistance.

To give effect to this intention, the "British Legation Red Cross
Organization" was founded by Lady Grant Duff at Berne, and around it
twelve groups, representing the chief centres of British life, were
affiliated. The Organization was placed under the management of Lady
Grant Duff, with my daughter as her assistant. The groups were left to
their own devices as regards their formation and character, and were
presided over by H.M.'s Consuls. Decentralization was carried to its
extreme limit, each centre undertaking responsibility as regards local
finance and administration, whilst Berne reserved to itself the right of
determining the pattern and quality of the article required from any one
centre, at any given moment, a system which tended to co-ordination, and
the specialization of each group in the class of work for which it was
fitted, by its relation to the sources of supply and the aptitude of its
workers. The general output was forwarded to Headquarters at Berne for
examination, storage, and final despatch to hospitals, both French and
British. There was a good deal of friendly rivalry between the groups,
and I remember Lady Grant Duff telling me that she one day paid a
surprise visit to a working party and was met with the remark: "Is it
true that … makes better shirts than we do?" The answer given was: "Yes,
perfectly true; but then you make much better pyjamas."

Berne, in short, acted as a clearing-house, and was thus well equipped
for meeting demands requiring immediate attention. On one occasion a
traveller arrived unexpectedly from Boulogne and notified at 6 p.m. that
he would take a consignment to France, provided it could be ready for
despatch by the 8.30 p.m. train of the same day. The articles were
packed and deposited at the railway station by Lady Grant Duff on her
way out to dinner. Amongst the many hospitals to which help was sent
were the "Hôpitaux Militaires" of Besançon, Pontarlier, Nancy,
Aix-les-Bains, Nice, and others in the Vosges. Bales of underclothing
were also consigned to the Canteen at Lyons for distribution to the
wounded; to the Cardinal of Rheims for distribution to that martyred
city; and to the "Œuvre des Éclopés" at Paris. An interesting and
important work was the complete outfitting in underwear, dressing-gowns
and slippers of the "Urgency Case Hospital," a movable ambulance created
and organized by Miss Evelyn Eden, which commenced operations at
Bar-le-Duc in 1915. Regular despatches of hospital clothing and
requisites were also made to British hospitals at Boulogne, Calais, and
elsewhere. Another consignment was sent at the special request of Lady
Wemyss to a hospital ship in the Mediterranean. As regards British
requirements in France, it was found advisable to send bales to Paris,
where they were distributed by the late Sir Henry Austin Lee, who gave
himself infinite trouble in arranging for their transit to the most
needy hospitals.

As regards finance, the groups made it a point of honour to collect
funds to meet all local expenses, and it was only on rare occasions that
help was demanded of Berne. The usual machinery, such as bazaars,
subscriptions, etc., was set in motion at each centre with satisfactory
results, and in the main the funds so collected sufficed for all needs,
a fact which speaks well for the generosity of the public, both British
and Swiss.

Lady Rumbold took over the Presidency from Lady Grant Duff in September,
1916, and assumed direction for the duration of the war. Both ladies
would, I believe, like me to place on record the names of the Group
Presidents, on whom the success of the enterprise so much depended.
Their wives in most cases undertook the work of management:—

 BERNE             Monsieur de Muralt (Central Group).
 MONTREUX          Mr. and Mrs. Marcel Cuenod.
 VEVEY             Lieut.-Colonel and Mrs. Gillespie.
 LAUSANNE          Mr. and Mrs. Galland.
 GENEVA            Monsieur and Madame de Candolle.
 ZÜRICH    (1914)  Sir Henry Angst.
        (1915-17)  Sir Cecil Hertzlett.
        (1917-18)  Mr. and Mrs. Beak; Miss Mackie, Hon. Secretary.
 LUCERNE           Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Stronge, Mrs. Hauser.
 LUGANO    (1914)  Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton.
           (1916)  Colonel and Mrs. Boileau.
 BÂLE      (1914)  Mr. Hamblock.
        (1915-17)  Mr. and Mrs. Beak.
           (1917)  Mr. and Mrs. Mathews.
 ST. GALL          Mr. Hurdwyn Gastrell.
 NEUCHÂTEL (1914)  Monsieur et Madame Chable.
           (1916)  Monsieur Favre; Miss Wright, Hon. Secretary.
 DAVOS             Mr. and Mrs. Lockett.
 ST. MORITZ        Dr. and Mrs. Holland.

I should also like to add the names of my wife, who, as Hon. Treasurer,
organized the Financial Department at Berne as well as the Supply Depôt
for the Interned; Comtesse de Montigny, in charge of the Clothing
Department, 1915-1917, and succeeded, later, by the late Mrs. Cook
Daniels and Lady Beatrix Wilkinson; Viscountess St. Cyres, in charge of
the "orders" Department, 1917-1918; and my daughter, who was Hon.
Secretary, 1916-1918, until her departure.

A "Special Branch," as an adjunct to the "B.L.R.C.O.," was founded in
May, 1916, to deal with the requirements of officers and men about to be
interned in Switzerland, the original Committee being composed of Lady
Grant Duff, The Lady Acton, Mrs. Picot (Hon. Treasurer), Mrs. Wyndham,
Mrs. Barton, Mrs. Trench, Mrs. Harran, Miss R. Picot (Hon. Secretary),
and myself as President.

The first contingent of British prisoners of war from Germany was
expected in May, 1916, and arrangements were at once made to prepare
warm underclothing for the men, as there was some doubt as to the
clothing from G.H.Q. in France arriving in time to meet the demand. The
work carried out by the Consular Groups made it possible to have in
readiness complete outfits of shirts, vests, pants, socks, pyjamas,
handkerchiefs, and linen wash-bags for 500 men, all of which were issued
when the troops arrived. Dressing-gowns, bed-jackets, ward slippers, and
handkerchiefs, were also made up and issued to the hospitals. The
contingents which arrived in August and December of 1916, and on
subsequent dates, were supplied with the regulation clothing by
Government, though hospital requisites still continued to be provided by
the "B.L.R.C.O.," with the assistance of the British Red Cross Society,
London. That Society generously came to our assistance with medicines,
and supplies of a fortifying nature, and such extra articles of food as
were required were purchased locally by the Swiss medical officers at
the camps, money grants, which were renewed as required, being made to
these officers.

The "B.L.R.C.O." also fitted up an operating theatre in the Soldanelle
Hospital at Château d'Oex, known as the Kitchener Theatre, at a cost of
frs. 3,500, the funds being supplied by a Swiss gentleman who wished to
remain anonymous.

Thanks to the kind offices of Lord Northcliffe, the B.R.C.S., London,
also sent out a parcel of 750 lb. of tea every month, a gift of the
greatest value, as tea was unprocurable in Switzerland. It was thus made
possible to make a free issue to all hospitals, and to men on
detachment, and also to provide tea, on payment, to all Red Cross and
Y.M.C.A. huts.

The expenditure incurred for British Interned for Red Cross purposes
from May to December, 1916, amounting to frs. 113,000, was entirely met
by the "B.L.R.C.O." After that date, the "Central Prisoners of War
Committee," London, came to our assistance with a grant of frs. 10,000
per mensem. This grant in aid enabled the Committee to deal more
liberally with a branch of work which they, together with myself, had
much at heart, viz.: the technical and educational training of the men
during their detention in Switzerland. So far, funds had only admitted
of the establishment of workshops of the regimental type, such as
Tailors, Bootmakers, Carpenters, in addition to schools for Telegraphy,
Bookbinding, Typing, Shorthand, Motor Instruction, and classes for
education up to the standard required for Army certificates. With the
grant in aid the Committee found itself in a position to continue and
develop the technical training, until it was taken over by the Central
Prisoners of War Committee, under a scheme prepared by Dr. Garnett. Of
this scheme I have written at length in Chapter XI.

Another detail undertaken by the "B.L.R.C.O." was that of the
entertainment of the wives and mothers of the Interned sent out from
England by the "C.P. of W.C." on fortnightly visits. This took the form
of luncheons, dinners, and teas, as these visitors passed to and from
the camps. They also provided meals at Berne to all prisoners of war en
route to Switzerland from Germany, or to England on repatriation. The
Consular Groups forming part of the Organization did similar work, and,
as a rule, met the expenditure from their own resources.

In January, 1918, on the appointment of a Commissioner by the
"B.R.C.S.," London, to supervise and co-ordinate Red Cross work in
Switzerland, the "B.L.R.C.O." transferred to that gentleman the special
branch of their work affecting interned prisoners, and all expenses in
that connection were thenceforth met by the "B.R.C.S.," London. The
average monthly expenditure thus incurred amounted to frs. 22,000, the
chief items of which were: frs. 6,300 for medical comforts, frs. 10,000
for technical training, and the balance for miscellanea.

I have at the opening of this chapter referred to the labours of the
Swiss Red Cross and other Swiss Societies, _vis-à-vis_ of French
civilians and other victims of the war. Little appears to be known in
England of the extent and importance of the work of these Societies.
Perhaps I can best give an idea of its scope and character by recounting
some of my personal experiences.

On one occasion, at Zürich, I met a train conveying French "grands
blessés" released from Germany. It was composed of third-class carriages
converted for Red Cross purposes into a hospital train, and was staffed
by military doctors, nurses, and orderlies, of Swiss nationality,
assisted by ladies from the French Embassy at Berne. These Swiss Red
Cross trains cannot be compared with the luxurious conveyances
maintained by us in France. At the same time, they were thoroughly
practical, and appeared to meet all the requirements of the sick. The
men no doubt must have regarded them as "trains de luxe," after their
experience of railway travel in Germany. What a picture these wounded
presented! In one carriage there were twenty-seven men with only three
legs between them, but they were cheery, full of joy at their escape
from captivity, and very disinclined to speak of their past experiences.
These they evidently sought to forget. One man, whom I questioned as to
some detail of German camp life, replied that, on crossing the frontier,
he had turned over the page of his prison life, and all memory of the
past had left him—the present was good enough, and was all he cared to
think about. Altogether they were quite irrepressible, and the
conclusion I came to was, that the average French soldier has to be very
ill—even unto death—before his spirits succumb to his physical
condition. He has fortunately the faculty of imparting his cheeriness
and philosophy to those around, so that a visit under what might have
been depressing circumstances proved, on the contrary, exhilarating.
There were several cases of men in the last stages of consumption, whose
one anxiety was to see the soil of their beloved France once more before
the end came. About these men the French ladies were greatly concerned,
and they could only hope that this supreme consolation might not be
withheld from their dying compatriots.

Such attentions as these were by no means confined to the French.
Similar scenes occurred whenever Allied or enemy prisoners were
repatriated via Swiss territory. The services of the Swiss Red Cross
were more particularly brought home to me when a party of 70 British and
Indian soldiers, and 250 Serbian officers, arrived from Austria. Our own
men came under the category of "grands blessés"; the Serbians were being
exchanged, and were in good condition. They were met by Sir Horace and
Lady Rumbold, my wife and daughter, and other members of the Legation,
who accompanied the train from Olten to Bienne. We found the Swiss Red
Cross very much in evidence. A military doctor was in charge of the
train, with a staff of Swiss nurses, and everything was being done to
make the men feel they were amongst their own friends again. The
"B.L.R.C.O." had provided a sufficiency of underclothing to give every
British soldier a complete outfit, and when these had been distributed,
I think the happiness of our countrymen was at its zenith. They were
wearing Turkish fatigue uniforms, but of their other garments, the least
said the better. The sole British officer was clothed in a parody of a
civilian overcoat. He, likewise, was only too glad to accept an outfit,
as he had absolutely nothing with him but the garments in which he stood.

On visiting the cot cases, I came across two Indian soldiers, one of
whom, a man of low caste, who had served as a transport driver, appeared
to be very cheery, and to all outward appearance in good health. I spoke
to him in his own language, and asked why he was in bed. In reply, he
turned aside the bed covers, disclosing the stumps of both legs
amputated high above the knee. I was much taken aback, and could only
ejaculate, "You have done well by the Sirkar," a remark which met with
the response, "Oh, that is of no consequence, I would have done better
if I could." The other, a high caste man of the Zemindar class, seemed
to be ill at heart rather than of body. I tried to cheer him by speaking
of his early return to India, and of the sunshine of his own country,
but nothing I could say gave him any comfort. I found it difficult to
account for the extraordinary contrast in the mentality of the two men,
and can only surmise that the indignities put upon the Zemindar, when a
prisoner of war in Turkey, had lowered his morale to such a degree that,
from the caste point of view, he had already ceased to exist. He had, in
his own eyes, lost standing, and, consequently, all that made life worth
living. The transport driver, on the other hand, had been inured from
birth to a want of consideration, and was quite regardless of any ill
treatment or indignity at the hands of the foreigner and enemy. He had,
therefore, retained his morale, and gloried in the fact that he had done
his duty by the "Sirkar," and would become the object of its solicitude
in the future.

I had also the privilege of being present at Schaffhausen when some 500
French civilians were repatriated from Germany. The convoy consisted of
aged men and women, young women and children, with a sprinkling of men
of military age suffering from tuberculosis—as decrepit and woe-begone a
crowd as could well be imagined! On arrival at the railway station, they
were taken in hand by representatives of the Municipality, local
doctors, and ladies of the French and Swiss Red Cross. The sick were
quickly sorted out and driven to hospitals in the town, where they were
destined to remain until either the end came, or they were sufficiently
restored to continue their journey. Many, I fear, never set eyes on
beautiful France again. The rest were marshalled in batches, and then
led off through the town to hostels, whence, after receiving a bath, and
being re-clothed in more seemly garments, they were re-assembled in a
large hall for a much needed meal. The difference in the spirits and
appearance of these poor people, after receiving this first attention at
the hands of the Swiss and their own compatriots, was indeed good to
see. Their dazed and tired look had been replaced by one of smiling
content. They had even found their tongues, and at the end of the first
meal they had really enjoyed since their captivity they responded
enthusiastically to the speeches of welcome addressed to them by their
Swiss hosts and by a well-known French Deputy, Monsieur Arago, who had
travelled from Paris to convey a message of welcome from the French
Government. The proceedings ended with the singing of the
"Marseillaise," which, coming from this sorely tried company, was
overwhelming, and brought tears to the eyes of many. Cheered and
encouraged, clothed and warmed, they were then marched through streets
full of the townspeople, who showed every sign of goodwill and sympathy.

What such receptions must have meant to this convoy, and to those which
followed on practically every day of the week for months, can only be
known to the beneficiaries themselves; but that they served to cement a
feeling of brotherhood as between race and race is, I believe,
undeniable, and is all to the good. It must always be remembered that
the difference of race and language of the Swiss people did not connote
any difference of feeling or action towards the prisoners of war or
interned civilians, and, to my mind, the sense of a possible
all-world-brotherhood had one of its happiest demonstrations in the
dealings of the Swiss towards these unfortunate sufferers of the war.



During the winter of 1914-15, Allied and Swiss organizations were
created at Berne for the despatch of food and clothing to prisoners of
war in the Central Empires, the most important of which were the "Bureau
de Secours aux Prisonniers de Guerre," and the "Comité Bernois." The
former was founded by Monsieur Poinsard and Madame Pageot (wife of the
French Military Attaché), in the interests of French prisoners; the
latter by Madame Valentin (a Swiss lady), under the ægis of the Swiss
Red Cross Society, in the interests of Belgian prisoners.

About this time, Lady Grant Duff, after consulting the Minister and
myself, decided to organize a small depôt at the Legation, for the
despatch of parcels of food to individual prisoners of war in Germany
whose names had been brought to her notice, either directly by personal
letters of appeal, or by the French Bureau, who were in touch with some
of the camps in Bavaria and Baden through their Swiss Delegates. It was
mainly owing to these Delegates that the needs of necessitous British
prisoners came to light. The funds for this purpose were raised at Berne
from amongst a small group of British residents, Mrs. Carfrae making us
the first gift, in the shape of a £5 note.

I can recall an occasion, in the autumn of 1914, when Lady Grant Duff
invited me to inspect one of the first consignments awaiting despatch.
It consisted of fifteen small parcels weighing about 8 lb. each,
displayed with great pride by about as many ladies; but it was a matter
of much satisfaction to all of us that a move had been made in the right
direction. This modest beginning was the precursor of an organization
that was finally to provide 100,000 men with bread, and to bring hope
and comfort to so many of our suffering compatriots in Germany. Some
doubts had been expressed as to whether the Camp Commandants or the
authorities in Berlin would not demur to Switzerland being made a base
of supply to our men; but when, after a reasonable lapse of time, the
addressees returned their acknowledgment cards duly receipted,
apprehensions on this score were set at rest.

For the sake of co-ordination and obtaining immediate recognition by the
Swiss Government, Lady Grant Duff decided to join hands with the French,
and accept the warm invitation extended to her in this sense by Monsieur
Poinsard. A "British Section" was accordingly formed, and affiliated to
the French "Bureau de Secours," in April, 1915, Lady Grant Duff and
myself being appointed members of the Central Committee. The British and
French Sections were thus able to unite for the advancement of their
general interests, whilst still retaining absolute administrative and
financial independence.

At a much later date, a Russian Section was also affiliated to the
"Bureau de Secours," and Italian and Roumanian Sections to the "Comité
Bernois" when Italy and Roumania entered the war.

A Committee was now formed for the "British Section," consisting of:—

 LADY GRANT DUFF                             _President._
 LIEUT.-COLONEL PICOT (Military Attaché)     _Member._
 MR. PAUL D'HAUTEVILLE                       _Hon. Secretary._
 MR. J. R. CLARKE                            _Hon. Secretary._
 MR. L. BUCHMANN (late H.M.'s
   Consul-General at Munich)                 _Hon. Treasurer._

Concurrently with these transactions, correspondence had taken place
with the Foreign Office and the "Prisoners of War Help Committee" in
London, informing them of the measures adopted or proposed at Berne, so
that any clash of interest or of effort might be avoided. The necessity
for close co-operation with London became all the more imperative when
the conditions of life in Germany had been fully realized. Letters from
the prisoners showed that bread was the great essential need, for, as
supplied in the camps, it was lacking in both quantity and quality, and,
in so far as the German authorities were concerned, there was no hope of
any improvement in either respect. The "Ps. of W.H.C.," as well as
regimental and private societies, were, it is true, doing all in their
power to cope with the situation, but, for reasons beyond their control,
they were not in a position to meet the demand from England alone.
Switzerland, owing to its geographical position, seemed clearly
indicated as the nearest and quickest channel of communication; added
thereto were the facilities offered by the Swiss Government for the
rapid transport of food between Berne and Frankfort. These
considerations led Lady Grant Duff to the decision that the British
Section should devote itself for the future almost exclusively to the
provision of bread, and steps were accordingly taken to give effect to
this new departure. A discussion of ways and means ensued with the
Political Department at Berne, and Lady Grant Duff was happily assured
of the fullest support of that Department by its Chief. Her attention
was, however, drawn to the shortage of wheat in Switzerland,—a matter of
grave concern at the time,—and it was suggested that all requirements of
the "British Section" of the "Bureau" should be met by direct
importation from abroad. Arrangements were accordingly made with H.M.'s
Consul-General at Marseilles for the purchase and transport of regular
consignments of flour from that place. Incidentally it may be mentioned
that this flour proved of a far higher quality than that locally
procurable. As time went on, it deteriorated in colour and quality, but
always remained superior to the Swiss admixture of flour and potato.

Pending the arrival of the first consignment of flour from Marseilles,
the Berne authorities were good enough to meet all requirements. They
also generously placed railway wagons at the disposal of the Committee
for the transport of the bread free of all charge. These wagons, after
being loaded by our own employees, were sealed for direct and
uninterrupted transit to Frankfort, where they were opened, the contents
being there sorted before despatch by rail to the camps in Germany. This
system was of immense advantage, as the ordinary delay at Bâle for
Customs examination was thereby eliminated, and a clear gain of
twenty-four hours obtained on the railway journey.

The new scheme, making bread the chief article of supply, took definite
shape about May, 1915, and the public at home and abroad were made aware
of the establishment of the "Bureau" with its widened sphere of
activity. The response was immediate, and for a time overwhelming.
Thousands of applications, with requests for the despatch of bread to
individual soldiers, poured in from all quarters. To keep abreast of
this demand was no easy matter, but the original organization showed
signs of considerable adaptability, and its development became

Hitherto, the accommodation so kindly placed at the disposal of the
Committee by H.M.'s Minister at the Legation had sufficed for all
purposes. Now fresh quarters had to be sought for, and a range of eight
shops in Helvetia Strasse, together with a large music-hall, lying idle
owing to curtailment of business, were rented and equipped for the
executive work. The administrative offices remained at the Legation
until November, 1915, when a large flat was secured in the same
neighbourhood, and to this the various departments were transferred.
Eventually, the whole house, with its three sets of apartments, was
secured, and the Legation at last resumed its normal aspect, much, I
imagine, to the relief of the Minister.

The "Bureau" as a whole had now taken shape. The administrative branch,
organized and managed personally by Lady Grant Duff, dealt with the
following subjects in its eight departments:—

 1. Secretarial.
 2, 3. Correspondence with Regimental Committees.
 4, 5. Correspondence with private subscribers.
 6. Card Indexing.
 7. Files.
 8. Finance and supply.

The Executive concerned itself with the receipt and despatch of food and
clothing, and was organized and conducted by my daughter until the
autumn of 1915, when her services were transferred by Lady Grant Duff to
the administration. Mr. and Mrs. Jebb Scott succeeded her on the
executive. The personnel of each department consisted of a Lady
Superintendent, assisted by British and Swiss ladies and paid workers.
Several Swiss gentlemen, including an officer of high rank, also gave
voluntary service.

The work, during 1915, was chiefly concerned with meeting the demands of
Regimental Committees and other similar institutions, as well as those
of private subscribers. The system of transacting business with private
subscribers proved cumbersome from the point of view of the "Bureau,"
and unsatisfactory from that of the prisoners themselves. It entailed,
during the course of every month, the receipt and acknowledgment of
thousands of letters with their accompanying postal orders, and gave
rise to a congestion with which it was not easy to deal. Associated with
this question was the uncertainty as to the renewal of the original
order, and the possibility of the beneficiary being removed from the
"Bureau" lists for want of the necessary remittances from his friends at
home. There was little probability of this happening with men borne on
the rolls of Regimental Committees, but it was not of infrequent
occurrence in the case of private subscribers.

Another difficulty was encountered in meeting the requirements of men
recently captured, many of whom made appeals to Berne as soon as they
had reached their camps in Germany. This was overcome by bringing all
such men on to the Berne lists, and by supplying them with bread for a
period of six weeks. Meanwhile, their names were sent home to be dealt
with by their Regimental Committees, or by private subscribers, in the
usual way.

A consideration of these obstacles to efficiency induced Lady Grant
Duff, in 1915, to suggest to the "Ps. of W.H.C." that an organization
might be created in England with power to deal directly with Regimental
or other Committees, thus centralizing effort, and eliminating the
private subscriber. This organization would, it was expected, have the
further advantage of putting an end to overlapping, which was much
accentuated by minor associations carrying on work as independent
sources of supply. I am referring more especially to Switzerland. The
danger inherent in these associations was forcibly brought to the notice
of the Committee in Berne when a letter was received by Lady Grant Duff
from one of the Commandants in Germany, informing her of the arrival of
a parcel containing literature of an abusive nature. A warning was added
that any repetition of the offence would lead to the closure of the camp
in so far as supplies of bread were concerned. As neither the addressee
nor the camp were on the Berne lists, the matter was regulated without
trouble, but the incident showed the danger to which the "Bureau" at
Berne was subjected.

It was not till October, 1916, when the "Central Prisoners of War
Committee" came on the scene, and was made responsible for the
co-ordination of all effort in connection with the provision of food or
other supplies for prisoners, whether at home or abroad, that the wishes
of Lady Grant Duff were realized. Radical changes ensued. Berne doffed
its independence, and became affiliated to the "C.P. of W.C.," following
on which many of the minor associations in Switzerland, to which I have
referred, discontinued work. Copenhagen was opened as a supplementary
"Bureau of Supply," and the regimental system of registration was
adopted, the private subscriber being no longer permitted to deal
directly with the "Bureaux" in Switzerland or in Denmark.

The following figures will give an idea of the work of the "Bureau" at
Berne, from the date of its foundation, in April, 1915, to October,
1916, when the fusion with the "C.P. of W.C." took place:—

In July, 1915, 13,000 Ps. of W. were in the receipt of weekly parcels of
bread; in January, 1916, 19,200; in September, 1916, 30,000.

A few words as to the quality of the bread, and its manufacture, will
not be out of place. The flour imported from Marseilles in 1915 and 1916
was of the standard fixed by the French Government for consumption in
France, and proved of very good quality. Then a falling off was noticed,
the bread keeping less well in consequence. In 1917 the "C.P. of W.C."
arranged for the despatch of Canadian flour to Berne, via Havre, so that
a high standard of bread was again attained. Its manufacture was
entrusted to Swiss bakers, as many as forty different establishments
being employed for the purpose in Berne alone. The loaf was baked for
twenty minutes longer than was customary in Switzerland, and was
calculated to remain in sweet condition from four to six weeks, the
period varying according to the season and the quality of the flour.
Failures were inevitable, but these did not exceed 2 per cent. in 1915
and 1916, and 8 per cent. in 1917. At the end of 1917, with the advent
of Canadian flour, the former excellent record was re-established.

The question may be asked as to the method of checking these figures.
The answer is that failures were brought to light and tabulated from the
records furnished by the prisoners themselves when duly acknowledging
the receipt of their parcels.

Continental baking did not always meet with the approval of "Tommy
Atkins," for the Berne loaf contained too much crust for his taste, and
often for his teeth, but as lasting properties were of the first
importance, other considerations had to be sacrificed. It is interesting
to note, however, that when the French Government seriously occupied
itself with the supply of its prisoners, and experimental work was
initiated, the loaf turned out by Swiss bakers was selected as by far
the most satisfactory. In 1918 a biscuit, which, I understand, was
greatly liked by the men, was evolved to take the place of bread. With
the addition of water, it could be made as soft and palatable as fresh
bread, whilst it had the further advantage of keeping fresh for an
indefinite period.

Much of the success which attended the "Bureau" was due to the fact that
bread was despatched to each individual soldier in a separate package.
An alternative method adopted by the French Section was that of sending
consignments in bulk for distribution in the camps. This had not proved
satisfactory, as there was nothing to show that the consignment reached
the prisoners in its entirety, and both Monsieur Poinsard and Madame
Pageot were dissatisfied with results, though they did not see their way
to any change of method. The Camp Commandants would, they believed, be
averse to any change in favour of individual packages. Lady Grant Duff
decided, however, to put this latter system to the test, as we were very
anxious, for a variety of reasons, to get into touch with the men
individually, and a beginning was made by the despatch of a small number
of individual parcels. Letters were also addressed to the Commandants,
asking for lists of the men borne on their rolls. In both cases the
results were found promising, for receipts came back from the men at
intervals averaging about a month, and 50 per cent. of replies were
received from the Commandants. The system of dealing separately with
every prisoner was thereupon definitely adopted for good and all, and
continued without any serious hitch during practically the whole period
of the war, or, to be more correct, until the declaration of the

Receipted acknowledgments showed that during the first eighteen months
98 per cent. of parcels reached their destination, a fact very
creditable to all concerned. Losses may in part be accounted for by
miscarriage owing to transfers of soldiers from one part of Germany to
another. It should also be stated that undelivered parcels were returned
to Berne from Germany almost daily with the inscription "Addressee not

The organization at Berne was, I venture to state, conducted on right
lines from the beginning, and well deserved the confidence reposed in it
by the public. Special attention was bestowed on the business side of
the enterprise, and no department was more carefully scrutinized than
that of Finance and Supply. Sir Arthur Lawley, who reported on the
"British Section of the Bureau" in May, 1916, on behalf of the B.R.C.S.,
writes as follows:—

"The system of accounting, too, is elaborate and extensive. All
subscriptions have to be paid in advance. The 'Bureau' has no general
fund on which to draw for any monies which may be wanting. Subscriptions
are received from Regimental Committees, numbering about one hundred,
and from a vast number of private subscribers, many of whom send the
smallest sums receivable, viz., 4s. for a month's supply. If private
subscribers would be content to contribute through the Committee or
Association of the regiment to which the particular beneficiary
belonged, it would be an excellent thing. It would reduce the
inconvenience which arises from the fact that there is a tendency on the
part of donors to subscribe for short periods only, or to be
intermittent in forwarding the money which is required to ensure a
constant supply…. I consider myself fortunate indeed to have had an
opportunity of thoroughly examining every branch of the excellent work
which is being carried on in the 'Bureau de Secours aux Prisonniers de
Guerre,' Berne, by Mrs. Grant Duff and her band of zealous and devoted
helpers. The record achieved is one of which they may well be proud. It
could certainly never have been attained without an incessant and
generous devotion of time, trouble, and sagacity. I should like to offer
them my hearty congratulations on the fruit of their labours."

I may be permitted here to record the names of some of those to whom I
feel a special tribute is due:—

 Mr. Paul d'Hauteville, formerly a member of the American Diplomatic
 Corps, who gave the whole of his time to the service of a nation not
 his own, first as Hon. Secretary, then as Director, of the "Bureau."
 When America threw in her lot with the Allies, he resigned to take a
 prominent position in the Red Cross in France under the flag of his own
 country. He was, with the approval of His Majesty, appointed a Knight
 of Grace of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England. My wife, who
 organized and managed the Department of Finance and Supply until her
 departure from Berne in December, 1915. Miss Nesta Sawyer, who replaced
 my daughter in the administration in December, 1915, and later took the
 place of Mr. Paul d'Hauteville as Honorary Secretary. Her charming
 personality and ability are well known. Mr. and Mrs. Jebb Scott, whose
 able management added to the efficiency of the executive branch, and
 enabled it to keep abreast of the ever-expanding work. Mr. Bernstiel,
 who took over the management of the Department of Finance and Supply,
 and successfully expanded it to meet the ever-increasing demands, and
 Miss Keightley, who was in charge of an important department of the
 administration throughout.

Others who gave valuable service were:—

 The late Mrs. Carfrae, Mrs. Barton, the Lady Acton, the late Hon. Anne
 Dalby Acton, Mrs. Wyndham, Mrs. Sawyer, Mrs. Skipworth, Mme. de Muralt,
 Mrs. Clarke, Miss Mary Clarke, Mrs. d'Hauteville, Mme. de
 Watteville-Pourtalés, Mr. Guy Louymer, Mme. Louymer, Mme. Courvoisier,
 Mlle. Courvoisier, Colonel Courvoisier, Mme. de Segesser, Mme. Spoerry,
 Mme. Raoul de Wurstemberger, Mlle. Claire de Wurstemberger, Mrs.
 Broderick de Pitard, Miss Binney, the young ladies of Miss Gray's
 School at Berne, Mr. and Mrs. Esdaile, Miss Dalgairns, Miss Grace
 Phillips, the late Miss Alice Hanford Flood, whose end was hastened by
 over-strain, Mr. and Mrs. Todhunter, Mr. Horridge, Mrs. Bradley, Miss
 Chaplyn, Mrs. Macey, and Miss Swainston.

I have naturally written at length of that period of the early life and
development of the "Bureau" which is best known to me, but I think I
have shown that progress was steady and continuous. Between September,
1916, and November, 1918, the numbers of prisoners of war supplied from
Berne rose from 30,000 to 100,000, and as early as 1917 the business had
become of such importance that the "B.R.C.S.," London, found it
desirable to appoint a Commissioner to direct the operations of the
"Bureau," the successive occupants of the post being, Mr. A. Mayne,
Major-General Sir Richard Ewart, K.C.M.G., and Major H. R. Charley
(Assistant Commissioner).

Viewed from afar, and looking back on the undertaking as a whole, it
appears to me very remarkable that a handful of people, few of whom had
any previous business experience, should have initiated and elaborated
with so much success a scheme of such great significance. It demanded
both courage and imagination, and happily in Lady Grant Duff a leader
was found who possessed these qualities in a high degree, and
furthermore united with them a faculty for organization and a tact which
were never at fault. It is not to be wondered at that she was so ably
seconded by her many friends, whose unselfishness, enthusiasm, and
untiring labours, had my unbounded admiration. Lady Rumbold, who
succeeded her as President in September, 1916, identified herself with
the work in a whole-hearted manner, and devoted to it a large part of
her time and energy. It was during her Presidency that the affiliation
with the "C.P. of W.C." took place, carrying with it an immense increase
of work.

These ladies have their reward in the affectionate regard of that large
army of prisoners who were fed and comforted by them during the many
months and years of their wearisome captivity. Theirs was a good work
nobly done.



The first contingent of British prisoners of war was timed to arrive
across the German frontier into Switzerland, at Constance, on May 28,
1916. The transport arrangements, as in the case of all movements
connected with Repatriation or Internment in Switzerland, were, in the
case of these officers and men, controlled by Colonel Dr. Bohny, Chief
of the Swiss Military Red Cross Department, who, together with his able
and noble-minded wife, frequently journeyed on the trains and gave
personal supervision to the more serious cases.

Aware of the great interest in Great Britain in the question of the
Internment, and in order to ensure the fullest and most reliable reports
of the condition of the men and their reception in Switzerland reaching
the British public without delay, I suggested to Colonel Hauser the
advisability of issuing permits to the special correspondents of _The
Times_ and _Morning Post_ (who had made representations to me on the
subject), to enable them to board the train at Zürich, or at some place
near the frontier, if they so desired, and accompany it to its
destination. Colonel Hauser at first demurred to the proposal on the
plea that he had hitherto refused all permits to the Press, fearing the
introduction of a new precedent, but on my representing to him my hopes
and anticipations of a warm reception for our men on the part of the
population, and that it seemed eminently desirable to give the outside
public the benefit of reports by properly qualified press correspondents,
more especially as German Switzerland had been somewhat prejudiced in
the minds of that public by being credited with very pronounced
pro-German proclivities, he saw the point, and, withdrawing all
objections, agreed to the issue of the permits. Shortly afterwards
Colonel Bohny laughingly mentioned to me that his life had been made a
burden to him by applications from the Bernese for passes of admittance
to the railway station. "Special arrangements would," he said, "have to
be made at the station to prevent confusion." Never in his experience
had so many applications been made to meet a troop train; the good
Bernese seemed to have entirely lost their heads over the British!

On the morning of the 28th of May I left Berne for Zürich, where at 8
p.m. on the same day I went to the station to meet the troop train
arriving at 8.30 from Constance. The sight which presented itself to my
astonished gaze was an extraordinary one, and I believe unique in the
whole history of the transport of prisoners of war to Switzerland. The
approaches to the station were alive with a struggling mass of
townspeople, all anxious to find standing-room on the platform, which
was ringed round by a compact line of Swiss troops. It was with the
greatest difficulty that I and my party forced our way through this
seething mass to the line of soldiers, and thus gained admittance to the
platform, and it was entirely due to the forbearance of the townspeople,
who recognized my uniform, that we were enabled to do so. There we met
Sir Cecil Hertslet, H.M.'s Consul-General, the members of his Staff, and
the whole of the British community of Zürich.

The arrival of the train was heralded by distant cheers, which were
taken up by the assembled crowd, and, finally, there came the answering
cheers of our men, whose lungs, whatever otherwise was their bodily
condition, did not appear to have suffered from their long captivity in
Germany. Thus was removed all question as to the feelings of the
German-speaking Swiss towards British soldiers. Never for a moment had I
had any doubt of their being well received, but that the reception
should have attained such proportions and fervour was quite another
matter, and went far beyond anything which I could have possibly

There is no doubt that the achievements of the first hundred thousand of
our men in France and Belgium had made a strong appeal to a people whose
history is a long story of heroic struggle against great odds. It is
true that the prestige of the British had suffered in Swiss eyes in the
past. The suffrage of the whole population during the South African War
declared itself in favour of the Boers, who were thought to be the
victims of the ambition of the stronger Power. Like themselves, the
Boers were a small people in contact with more powerful and autocratic
neighbours, and instinctively Swiss sympathies went out to them. But we
had redeemed ourselves in their eyes since the war, and, as I read the
meaning of the manner in which they met our men, these same Swiss wished
to offer a tribute to the British people, as represented by the
survivors of that first heroic army.

Both officers and men were full of appreciation of the goodwill shown to
them from the moment of reaching the Swiss frontier. The fact that they
had at last left Germany seemed to them almost too good to be true. They
had refrained from giving way to any signs of demonstration on leaving
Constance, for fear of being turned back, and as they had no means of
knowing when they had quitted German territory, perfect silence was
maintained until they saw men waving to them and cheering from the
fields, by which they realized they were amongst friends, and had cast
off the dust of captivity. Then, at last, they felt able to give rein to
their pent-up feelings. So it had been all the way to Zürich, every
village along the route turning out to greet them as they passed by. I
could see that this outburst of emotion after the suppression and
antagonism of the years of captivity was having a very trying effect,
for all ranks looked dazed, and appeared only half conscious of what was
taking place around them. I mentally registered the fact that, to all
outward appearance, there could be but little difference between shell
shock and the emotional shock of pleasurable impressions so suddenly

Similar scenes were enacted at Berne, though the hour was past midnight,
where again thousands of the townspeople had assembled. The Commandant
of the station had, fortunately, applied for a body of Swiss troops to
maintain order, and it was as well he had done so, for without them we
should have had trouble in getting the men to the refreshment rooms,
where a supper had been prepared through the thoughtful care of the
"B.L.R.C.O." Here they were met, in the absence of the Minister and Lady
Grant Duff, who had gone on to await their arrival at Château d'Oex, by
Lord and Lady Acton and the other members of our Legation, the Chiefs of
the Allied Missions with their Staffs, Colonel Hauser, Colonel Bohny,
and many Swiss officers. After supper and a rest, the weary-looking, but
refreshed and happy party, loaded with gifts, was re-entrained at about
3 a.m.

At this juncture I commenced to have misgivings as to how the men would
stand the long night journey still in front of them, and orders were
given for all blinds to be drawn, but sleep, as it proved, was out of
the question. At Fribourg (one hour's run) thousands had collected, who
were in a very enthusiastic mood, and made the most of the few minutes
at their disposal. During the longer run to Lausanne silence prevailed
in the carriages, but outside every station we could hear the cheers of
hundreds who had been waiting during the night just to see the train as
it ran past.

Some hope was expressed of a quiet time at Lausanne, where we were timed
to remain a quarter of an hour; but the Lausannois, and the large
British colony there, had no such thought in their minds, and a crowd of
some 8,000 testified to the feelings awakened. The presents with which
every one had provided themselves had to be passed over the heads of the
closely packed crowd to those fortunate enough to be nearest to the
carriages, for it was impossible for any except those near the train to
reach the men. Mr. Galland, H.M.'s Consul, met the train here, and
accompanied it to Château d'Oex.

At Montreux, which was reached at 7 a.m., the British and Swiss
communities had made admirable arrangements for the entertainment of
officers and men at the Hôtel Suisse, adjoining the railway station. We
were met on the platform by large numbers of Red Cross bearers and boy
scouts, who carried or assisted the cot cases from the train to the
hotel, while those able to walk marched through serried ranks of
sightseers, who broke through the cordon of gendarmes to load them with
flowers and gifts, rejoicing when allowed to give a hand or help the
men. The scene which presented itself was one likely to make a life-long
impression, for the terrace where the tables were spread bordered the
lake, disclosing the beautiful stretch of water from the Dent-du-Midi
along the mountains of Savoy towards Geneva—a view perhaps unparalleled
in Europe.

An eloquent and stirring address in French was given by the Prefect, the
sincerity of whose words, if not their meaning, went home to the men,
who cheered him to the echo. Mr. Cuenod, H.M.'s Consul, in a few and
simple words, made it clear to all that, in a country where every
able-bodied man had the privilege of bearing arms, the inhabitants would
know how to express, and to make felt, that sympathy which every brave
man should feel for another.

During the journey officers and men had asked me repeatedly whether
there was any truth in a report which had reached them, that as soon as
they were restored to health, they would be returned to Germany as
prisoners of war. When replying to the speech of the Prefect, I made it
quite clear to our men that they had seen the last of Germany. The next
move, when the time came, would be homewards, and all they had to do or
think about meanwhile was of getting well again, towards which end they
would be assisted by the advice and treatment of a skilled Swiss Medical
Staff. The painful attention with which all concerned listened to my
words, and the immense relief to which they gave rise, brought home to
me the heaviness which had been weighing on their spirits owing to the
uncertainty of their future. How the malicious rumour arose no one at
the time appeared to know, but it came out later that, in some of the
camps in Germany, the men had been informed by their guards that they
would return again to captivity as soon as they were fit. Some of the
men had argued that as Switzerland could only take a limited number of
prisoners of war, their places would be required by their other sick
comrades in Germany as soon as they themselves were well enough to
return. This they thought only fair, but the fact, nevertheless, weighed
heavily upon them.

Immediately after breakfast, the men for Leysin, all of whom were
supposed to be tuberculous, and amongst whom were some serious cases,
were despatched to that destination in charge of Swiss doctors; the
rest, for Château d'Oex, were divided into groups, and sent up in a
succession of trains by the mountain railway.

The hills were covered by mist during the first part of the run, but
this gradually cleared as the train mounted higher and higher, and the
last stage was made in an atmosphere of light and sun, which showed up
the springlike aspect of the valleys in all their beauty. The men were
now in the best of spirits at nearing their destination, and
vociferously returned the greetings of the peasants and others who had
collected at the small stations _en route_, amongst whom were many
French officers and soldiers quartered at Les Avants and elsewhere in
the valley. I was particularly pleased at seeing the latter, as rumours
had spread about Switzerland that French and British Ps. of W., owing to
ill-feeling, would have to be kept at a distance from each other. These
rumours emanated from a German source, and were evidently circulated
with the intention of creating friction. The story may be ranked as one
of the usual fabrications set rolling by our enemies, with a view to
discrediting the Allies in the eyes of the Swiss. In the sequel it was
entirely falsified, as French and British soldiers were often quartered
together to the entire satisfaction of both, whilst the relations of the
officers towards each other were often of a very intimate character.

A sound of great cheering, accompanied by the strains of "God save the
King," arose as the train steamed into the station at Château d'Oex,
which was profusely decorated with branches of fir and flowers. Grouped
on the platform were H.M.'s Minister and Lady Grant Duff, my wife and
daughter, the Swiss Municipal Council, the Rev. E. Dudley Lampen, and
the leading members of the British and Swiss community. A delightful
touch of old-world life and colour was imparted to the scene by hundreds
of school-children who, dressed in their national costumes, lined the
road near by, and distributed bunches of wild flowers to their new
friends. The removal of many battered remnants of humanity, as they were
lifted from the carriages, struck a pathetic note in the midst of much
that was otherwise joyous and exhilarating.

During the collation that followed, Sir Evelyn Grant Duff addressed the
men in very happily chosen words, and read a message from His Majesty,
which was received with cheers, and appreciated by both officers and
men. Tired out, though contented, the men were finally led off by Swiss
boy and girl scouts, and the sick were carried on stretchers or conveyed
by carriages to their hotels and châlets, where most of them turned in
to a well-earned sleep, to awake later to the life of routine and rest
they were to live for the next eighteen months.



In determining the system of administration and discipline for Ps. of W.
interned in Switzerland, the Swiss authorities had no precedent to
follow beyond the experience gained in 1871, when a French army under
General Bourbaki, in seeking an asylum on Swiss territory, was disarmed
and interned on crossing the frontier. The conditions under which the
internment was effected during the Great War of 1914-1918 were, however,
wholly different; for whereas in 1871 the internment was imposed on
Switzerland as a neutral State, in accordance with the rulings of
international law, in 1915 it was voluntarily offered by the Swiss
Government, and was accepted by the belligerent States in accordance
with the terms of a Convention to which Switzerland, France, England,
and Germany had given their adherence. There was also a further and
important difference, viz., whereas in 1871 the Swiss Government was
called upon to exercise authority over an armed body of fit men, in 1916
they were given the guardianship of Ps. of W., composed exclusively of
the sick and wounded.

For the regulation of the system of internment, two alternatives
presented themselves, both of which had their ardent partisans. In the
one case, it was proposed that the interned Ps. of W. should be dealt
with in the same way as any ordinary unit of the Swiss Army, i.e., they
should be administered and controlled by the General Headquarter Staff
at Berne; in the other, that they should be placed under the control of
the Sanitary Service of the Army, a branch of that Service being
specially created for that purpose. Those in favour of the former
procedure pointed out that discipline would be difficult of maintenance,
if left to the medical officer alone, and that the adoption of an
entirely novel procedure, for which there was no precedent, would give
rise to trouble; the argument adduced in favour of the latter method
was, that as the Interned were either sick, wounded, or convalescent,
they could only be dealt with satisfactorily by the Swiss Sanitary

After much deliberation, the Swiss Government declared itself in favour
of the creation of a special branch of the Sanitary Service, to which
should be delegated the administrative, medical, and disciplinary
control of the Interned, and orders to give effect to this decision were
issued. This special branch was made independent of the G.H.Q. Staff,
and was placed under the ægis of the Political Department of the
Government, with Colonel Hauser as Chief Medical Officer of the Army
(Médecin d'Armée), in control.

The organization of the new Service took the following form: a central
administrative office, under Colonel Hauser, at Berne, divided into
three sections to correspond to the three branches of the Interned—the
Franco-Belgian, British, and German. Each section had its personnel,
with a senior medical officer in charge, who was responsible for the
administration and direction of his branch of Interned. The accounts
were dealt with by officers detached from the Quartermaster-General's
Department of the Army. Directly emanating from, and subordinate to,
Colonel Hauser's Headquarters Service at Berne came the regional service
of the Interned, with a "Directing Medical Officer," who was responsible
for all the camps located within his region. The camps were staffed by
medical officers, with the senior in command. As a rule, all these
medical officers were of army rank; in some few cases civilian doctors
were also employed, though in exceptional circumstances only.

Discipline in the camps was entrusted to the senior Swiss Medical
Officer, the senior interned officer being made responsible to him for
all officers, and the senior interned N.C.O. for all N.C.Os. and men. As
regards discipline in general, the Interned were placed under the same
rules and regulations as soldiers of the Swiss Army.

The system, as elaborated for Ps. of W., was calculated to maintain a
complete severance between interned officers and men, the former being
given no responsibility whatever in a disciplinary sense as regards the
latter, i.e., they were not entrusted with any executive authority or
any power of punishment. This system had many drawbacks, though possibly
it might have proved workable if the officers had been quartered, as in
Germany, quite apart from the men. In Switzerland this was not the case,
for not only were all ranks located in the same place, but in many
instances they were even quartered in the same hotels. Expedience, it
might be thought, would have dictated the employment of the interned
officer and the delegation to him of a modicum of authority, in order
that he might collaborate with the responsible Swiss authorities. Yet,
at the outset, nothing of the kind was contemplated, the Swiss
preferring to deal with officers and men as distinct and separate
entities, without connection one with the other. The motive underlying
this policy may, I believe, be found in the fear entertained in Swiss
military circles of the delegation of powers to interned officers of
certain nationalities, whose arrogance had become a bye-word in Europe,
and of whom these circles entertained lively misgivings. Any display of
arrogance or harshness would have been extremely repugnant and
particularly misplaced when applied to sick men, all of whom were either
weakened by suffering or broken in body and nerve. Whatever
disadvantages had been envisaged by the practical elimination of the
interned officer as a coadjutor of the local Swiss Staff, compensation,
it was believed, would be found in the freedom given to the Swiss
Medical Officer in his dealings with the men, whose state of health
formed so decisive a factor, whether regarded from the medical or the
disciplinary point of view.

This system had already been applied to the French and Belgian Interned,
of whom a considerable number were already in the country when the first
contingent of British arrived in May, 1916. I had not had time to
ascertain whether it was working well or otherwise, but I quickly
realized that, whatever the result may have been as regards our Allies,
it would never have any success with our officers or men, neither of
whom would willingly accept a divorce in their relations, now that they
had once again been happily reunited after the long interval of
separation as Ps. of W. in Germany.

Moreover, there were difficulties inherent to the situation, which no
amount of goodwill on the part of the Swiss would enable them to
overcome unaided. The mentality of the British soldier, who, in the
absence of his own officers, would probably prove refractory to the
enforcement of a discipline to which he was unaccustomed, was a factor
to which the Swiss had not given enough consideration. The language
difficulty, too, although not insuperable—for the Staff were fairly well
conversant with English—was still an obstacle to understanding, and
there were many matters connected with the daily life of the British
soldier, his customs and habits, which were outside the ken of the
Swiss, and for which light and leading could only come from their own

The preliminary experience gained in the treatment of our Allied
comrades, the French and Belgians, would doubtless prove of value, but
that value had to be discounted, for in their case the language
difficulty was entirely eliminated, French being the language both of
themselves and of their hosts. In thought, customs and habits, likewise,
there was no marked difference between our Allies and the inhabitants of
that part of Switzerland in which they were located. The same applies to
the Germans, for they also were located amongst a population speaking
their own language.

I seized the earliest opportunity of talking over these matters with
Major Dr. Mercanton, the Directing Medical Officer of the region in
which Château d'Oex was situated, and pointed out that a strict
adherence to the letter of the regulations affecting the position of the
British officer in his relations to the men would inevitably add to the
perplexities of his Swiss colleagues. Further, that the men would not
readily give their adherence to a system which subordinated them
entirely to the Swiss, and prevented them from addressing themselves to
their own officers when in difficulty.

I suggested that the junior British officers should be given specific
duties in the camp in connection with its interior economy, and that the
senior British officer should be given a position more befitting his
rank and standing. He gave his assent to the former proposition, but the
actual application of this concession was made in a very cautious
manner, the position and duties of these officers remaining very vague
and undefined, whilst those of the "S.B.O." were not immediately changed
in any material fashion. The thin edge of the wedge had, however, been
inserted, which I felt would finally open the doors to a fuller

On returning from Château d'Oex to my headquarters at Berne, I called on
Colonel Hauser, and urged upon him the necessity of amplifying, if
possible, the concession made in favour of the junior officers, which I
characterized as much too vague to be of permanent value, though useful
as a basis for future developments. He seemed at first to regard with
some dismay the line I had taken, and demurred to the creation of a
precedent which might have far-reaching consequences. He pointed out
that any change in the status of British officers would inevitably lead
to a change in that of all interned officers, whether French, Belgian,
or German, and he was not prepared to proceed far along that line. He
added that he had every confidence in the good sense of the British
officer, and was persuaded he would not abuse any privilege conceded to
him, but he had to regard the internment as a whole, and not as
affecting one special section. Finally, he asked me to be satisfied for
the present, and to await results.

To this I assented with the best possible grace, realizing that radical
changes could only be effected in the light of experience, and that time
alone would show whether my views as regards the necessity for closer
co-operation between Swiss and British officers in the camps was
essential or otherwise.

In August, 1916, a second large contingent of British Ps. of W. arrived
in Switzerland, the well-known mountain resort of Mürren being assigned
to them as an interned centre. Mürren lies in the Bernese Oberland, and
is situated in one of the German-speaking cantons. The conditions
regulating the internment at this spot were in many respects more
favourable than at Château d'Oex, for the whole camp was very compact,
with a front of about one kilometre in length as against the ten
kilometres of Château d'Oex. The officers had the further advantage of
being housed in a first-class hotel, the accommodation of which could
hardly have been bettered, and the fact of their all being lodged under
one roof under the direct supervision of the "S.B.O." proved of
inestimable value to all concerned.

Lt.-Colonel F. H. Neish, Gordon Highlanders, and Captain Dr. Llopart,
the directing Swiss Medical Officer, quickly reached an understanding by
which all such details as clothing, pay, institutes, workshops, Red
Cross and Y.M.C.A. work, religious instruction, etc., were to be dealt
with as purely British matters by the "S.B.O." and his officers, without
interference on the part of the Swiss authorities, whilst the
administration and discipline of the camp were to be reserved, as of
right, to Captain Llopart and his Staff. This arrangement also admitted
of some co-operation between the Swiss and British officers for
disciplinary purposes. This sub-division of duties gave scope to the
long dormant energies of our officers, and proved of incalculable
benefit in reviving in them a feeling of responsibility, which the
conditions of their captivity in Germany had partially atrophied.

As soon as the camp had had sufficient time to settle down, Colonel
Hauser paid it a visit of inspection, and I was much gratified on his
return to Berne when he expressed to me his keen satisfaction at the
spirit prevailing, and his astonishment at the rapidity with which all
ranks had adapted themselves to the novel conditions of their
internment. Mürren, to use his own words, "showed signs of becoming the
model camp of Switzerland."

I now pointed out to him that we should, in all probability, obtain
equally good results at other centres where progress had not been so
marked, if the system evolved at Mürren, which, of course, was in no
small degree the result of the experience gained elsewhere during the
preceding three months, was made applicable to all British camps
throughout Switzerland. I was not unmindful, in doing so, of our
previous conversation on the subject of Château d'Oex, when he had asked
me not to attempt to proceed too fast at that place, and to await the
results of the small concessions I had obtained for the improvement of
the position of the "S.B.O." and other officers, in so far as their
relation to the men and to his own Medical Staff was in question.

The Colonel met me more than half-way, and it was evident that his
inspection had convinced him of the necessity for that closer
co-operation between Swiss and British which I had urged upon him
previously. He now, at my request, sent out orders convening a meeting
at Berne of the "D.M.Os." and the "S.B.Os." of Château d'Oex, Mürren,
and Leysin, with a view to the co-ordination of the diverse systems in
operation in these camps. This meeting, at which I was present, took
place under the presidency of Major de la Harpe, Staff Officer of the
British Section at Headquarters, and resulted in the elaboration of the
procedure evolved at Mürren, and the subsequent promulgation of orders
to all British camps alike, whereby the delicate questions of the
position and duties of our officers were, at last, finally set at rest.

The principles laid down at this meeting had far-reaching consequences,
for they were made applicable at a much later date, and in a modified
form, to the Franco-Belgian and German sections of the Interned. I was
always led to understand, however, that the relations between our
officers and the Swiss Camp Staff, as also between the former and their
men, were of a more intimate nature than those of our Allies or of the
Germans in a corresponding sense.

Another reform was effected by the appointment of an officer of the
Swiss Army as Camp Commandant, assistant to the "D.M.O.," who relieved
the latter of the greater part of the purely disciplinary work. The
title of "Commandant" was somewhat of a misnomer, as this officer was
subordinate to the "D.M.O."; but the change proved of a beneficent
nature, as it enabled the medical officers to devote themselves more
particularly to the medical and administrative side of their task, and
transferred the matter of discipline to officers accustomed to the
handling of men. Most of these Commandants had had experience of
business life abroad, and were, therefore, qualified by their linguistic
and cosmopolitan education to understand the outlook of the British
soldier. They found no difficulty in adapting themselves to the
mentality of the Interned, and became useful members of the camps'

These reforms did not connote any change in the status or duties of the
"D.M.O.," who remained, as before, the administrator and disciplinary
chief of the region. Under the new conditions, the Commandant was
assisted by orderly officers chosen from the junior ranks of the
Interned, who were allocated duties in connection with the interior
economy of the camp, and with the maintenance of discipline. The right
of punishment for military offences was reserved to the Commandant
alone, but in all cases the preliminary investigation was made by the
orderly officer, who carried on the case to the Commandant for
punishment or otherwise. This procedure gave great satisfaction to the
men, who were thereby assured of a careful hearing by their own officers
before the final hearing by the Swiss Commandant.

Minor offences were dealt with by the Commandant or the "D.M.O.," their
respective powers being limited to ten and twenty days' cells. More
serious offences were referred to the consideration of the "Médecin
d'Armée" at Berne, whose powers extended to thirty days' cells. Cases
for court martial were reported to the Judge Advocate-General for
decision. If orders for trial by court martial ensued, the matter was
dealt with by an "Itinerant Court Martial," composed of Swiss officers,
the defence of the accused being delegated to an officer of the Swiss
Bar possessing a knowledge of the language of the accused. The
composition of the court martial was in every way satisfactory, great
regard being shown to the interests of the accused with the aid of
Counsel. The area covered, however, was so great, extending, as it did,
from one end of Switzerland to the other, that it was impossible for the
Itinerant Court to keep abreast of the work. Accused were, in
consequence, not infrequently incarcerated for considerable periods
whilst awaiting trial. It would sometimes happen that at the end of this
delay the accused would be declared "not guilty," and be released after
a detention lasting from four to twelve weeks. If declared "guilty," the
period of detention was deducted from the award; if "not guilty," a
compensation in money might or might not be paid, as the circumstances
of the case dictated. The fact of this prolonged detention before trial
was the only unsatisfactory feature of the system, but as the procedure
was common to both Interned and the Swiss Army alike, and was, moreover,
in accordance with the tenets of Swiss Military Law, protests were

Taken as a whole, the severity of punishments for military offences was
no greater than in the British Army, though the difference was marked as
regards the offence and its antidote. It was at first a matter of much
amusement to our men to be sent to bed for three days for a minor
offence which would have been awarded three days' "C.B." (confinement to
barracks) by a British officer. This form of punishment is quite common
to the Swiss soldier, and is evidently much disliked by him; but to our
men it appeared more in the light of a joke. Here we have one small
instance of the divergence in custom and mentality between the Swiss and



As already stated in a previous chapter, in the first stages of the
negotiations of 1915 for the internment of Ps. of W. attention had been
directed solely to the hospitalization in Switzerland of one category of
prisoners, viz., that of the tuberculous; but very shortly, under the
pressure of public opinion, further attention had been drawn to the
advisability of extending the principle to other categories, with a view
to the inclusion of disabilities of a very varying nature. The
discussions were continued during 1915, with a view to the realization
of an enlarged programme, and in January, 1916, a first list, comprising
twelve categories of disabilities or wounds, had been prepared and
agreed upon, including that of tuberculosis, and the first essays of
internment were made on the 26th of January, 1916, commencing with 200
tuberculous cases. By the 14th of February 1,247 French and German Ps.
of W. had been interned in the regions of Montana, Montreux, Leysin, the
Bernese Oberland, the Quatre Cantons, and Davos, comprised of men of the
aforesaid categories.

By the 16th of February the list had been increased to twenty
categories, to be afterwards reduced in June and July, 1916, to
eighteen. These lists formed the basis of the work done by the so-called
"Itinerant Commissions of Swiss Medical officers," who were authorized
to proceed to Germany, France, and England for the examination and
selection for internment in Switzerland of all those prisoners found to
be suffering from the diseases or wounds mentioned in the aforesaid
eighteen categories.

The "Médecin d'Armée" was thus suddenly faced with the problem of the
internment and treatment of a number of Ps. of W. largely in excess of
those originally in view, and the whole of his programme had to be
re-cast to meet the needs of a body of Interned, not less than the
strength of an Army Corps. The serious nature of the demands made on the
medical organization of the country may be realized from the fact that
every one of the 30,000 men about to reach Switzerland was suffering
from one or other form of disability, requiring medical attention at the
hands of a Sanitary Service manned and equipped for the ordinary
requirements of the small Swiss Army.

To meet the additional requirements of the medical personnel, medical
officers in civil employ, liable for further service, were mobilized,
and many civilian doctors, not so liable, were called upon for a term of

As regards the housing of those prisoners whose treatment was not of a
pressing nature, and who formed the majority of the Interned,
accommodation was found in the hotels and châlets with which Switzerland
is so richly endowed. In this respect no difficulty was experienced; but
for those requiring that care and treatment which could only be given in
a hospital, the solution was not so easy, as the necessary accommodation
for the large numbers of sick, with which the country was being flooded,
was lacking.

It is true that many of the private clinics which form so marked a
feature of the modern life of Switzerland had been vacated by their
foreign clients on the outbreak of war; but, as an off-set to this
relief, the mobilization of the Swiss Army threw a strain on the
Sanitary Service and the available accommodation which, perhaps, more
than counter-balanced the relief afforded by the withdrawal of the
foreign element. The "Médecin d'Armée" did not, at the outset,
therefore, find much relief from the release of the private clinics, and
a good deal of improvization had to take place before the difficulty was
satisfactorily overcome.

Military and civil hospitals, already in being in the different regions,
were set apart or partially utilized for the Interned, whilst other
suitable buildings were commandeered, and were installed as hospitals or
convalescent homes.

As to the treatment in the camps, the methods adopted were of a varying
nature. At Château d'Oex, the men were, in the first instance,
distributed amongst the hotels and châlets, without much regard to the
nature of their physical condition, but as soon as the doctors could get
to work, the worst cases were weeded out and sent to the local hospital,
the "Soldanelle." Less serious cases, and those awaiting their time and
turn for surgical treatment, were dealt with in their own establishments.
The "Soldanelle" contained about eighty beds, and had in pre-war days
been equipped solely for the use of visitors requiring rest cures, or
electric or light treatments. The equipment included electric and X-ray
installations, but was deficient on the surgical side. This defect was
made good by the "B.L.R.C.O." at Berne, who presented the hospital with
the complete equipment for an operating theatre.

A question in connection with this operating theatre was raised at the
time by the "Médecin d'Armée," which is of some interest as illustrating
the point of view of the Swiss Medical Staff in respect to the surgical
treatment of serious cases. When I first suggested to Colonel Hauser the
desirability of bringing this hospital up to date by the addition of an
operating theatre, he threw cold water on the scheme, on the ground that
Château d'Oex had never been intended as an operating centre, and its
equipment as such might and would, probably, lead to the performance of
operations by local surgeons, when such operations had best be left to
the specialist. There was no gainsaying this argument, and for a time
the matter was left in abeyance; but when an immediate operation had to
be conducted at Château d'Oex, in a hastily improvised room, as the only
means of saving the life of an officer suffering from acute
appendicitis, the need for a suitable operating theatre again came
prominently to notice, and Colonel Hauser gave his consent for its

In the course of the first twelve months some 400 minor operations were
carried out in this theatre by Dr. Brüstlein, who fully justified his
reputation as a rising young surgeon. Occasionally operations of a
serious character were also performed there, with the assistance of
specialists who were called in for the occasion, Dr. Arndt, of Berne,
amongst others. The hospital thus served an excellent purpose in
relieving the specialized institutions of minor cases, for which the
accommodation would have proved insufficient.

The nursing personnel consisted of orderlies, both Swiss and British.
The latter were untrained, but acquired in the course of time a certain
skill and readiness in their duties. As regards women nurses, the
doctors at Château d'Oex were firmly opposed to their employment, as
being contrary to the usual custom of Swiss military hospitals, and it
was only at my repeated instance, after considerable opposition, that an
offer to supply Swiss nursing sisters at the expense of the "B.L.R.C.O."
was accepted.

Another difficulty, and one for which no immediate remedy could be
found, was experienced in the lack of properly qualified masseurs. In
this respect the Sanitary Service was faced with a very real difficulty.
Most of the trained masseurs of the Swedish type had left the country on
the outbreak of war, and the number available from all sources for the
use of the Interned was totally inadequate. Training schools were at
once opened, but it was not until the end of 1916 that the deficiency
was made good.

Meanwhile the Sanitary Service was subjected to much severe and
exaggerated criticism, owing to the refusal of the authorities to accept
assistance from outside. The attitude of the "Médecin d'Armée"
_vis-à-vis_ of the aid offered by the Red Cross organizations of the
Allies with regard to the supply of nurses, masseurs, etc., was
influenced in no small measure by the decisive stand taken by Swiss
Trade Unions, who were jealously opposed to the employment of foreign
labour to the detriment of the Swiss worker. He was obliged to give due
consideration to popular opinion on the subject, and to follow the lead
of his Government, so that in many cases the acceptance or
non-acceptance of the assistance offered was determined _for_ him, and
not _by_ him. I may safely assert that his decisions were never inspired
by personal prejudice, or based on a narrow or jealous view.

As regards Mürren, no local hospital being available, cases requiring
any special treatment were sent to the District Hospital at Interlaken,
or to the hospitals at Berne, Lucerne, and Fribourg. Two small wards
were set aside in one of the hotels for patients suffering from ordinary
ailments, and a good deal of medical work was carried out in the hotels,
sun cures being much in favour for the treatment of open wounds, etc.
For massage and orthopædic exercises a gymnasium was installed, with
apparatus of a useful kind. We were indebted to the generosity of a
Swiss friend for certain of the more delicate and costly pieces for
vibratory exercises. The equipment consisted of twenty-five apparatuses
for "mécanothérapie," two for "faradization," and one for
"galvanization." During 1916 above 253 cases were treated, of which 96
were by massage, 45 by "électrothérapie," and 112 by "mécanothérapie";
180 men were subjected to sun cures.

A description of the District Hospital of Interlaken, where so much work
was done for us, will serve to illustrate the general type of civil
hospitals placed at the disposal of the general public all over
Switzerland. This hospital is divided into wards of five to ten beds,
affording accommodation for some 150 patients. The personnel consists of
a resident surgeon with a staff of doctors capable of dealing with all
the ordinary work of the district. The surgeon in charge had served his
novitiate under Professor Kocher, of Berne, and was well known
throughout the length and breadth of the Bernese Oberland as a very
skilful operator.

I may here call attention to a marked feature of the civil work in
Switzerland, in that many of the most promising young surgeons and
practitioners of the country, after their early years of study and
association with such masters of their art as Professors Kocher and
Roux, take up their life-work in the smaller towns, where they build up
a reputation in their turn, second only to that of their erstwhile
masters. The peasants and the general public have, therefore, at their
very doors, up and down the country side, specialists of a high order of
professional skill. Perhaps in no country in the world are there
specialists so widely distributed as in Switzerland, much to the
advantage and well-being of the people. These doctors live hard and
frugal lives, and give their services for fees which in our country
would be considered derisory; but they lend lustre to a Sanitary Service
which is held in high esteem by their countrymen, and which is the
admiration of the foreigner within their gates.

Before concluding this account of the sanitary organization of Mürren, I
must add a word regarding an important branch of that work inaugurated
at the "Manor Farm." This châlet, the property of an English lady, Miss
Simpkin, served in pre-war days as a pension for British and American
visitors. It was beautifully situated, two kilometres from Interlaken,
on the shore of the Lake of Thoune, and Miss Simpkin conceived the happy
thought of offering it to the medical authorities as a convalescent home
for soldiers suffering from neurasthenia, shell shock, heart, etc. The
offer was gladly accepted. Twenty officers and men were in constant
residence there, and it would be difficult to exaggerate the care and
kindness lavished on them by this devoted lady.

Apart from the treatment afforded by the ordinary camp organizations,
with their associated hospitals as already described, the principle was
adopted of utilizing, so far as practicable, the services of specialists
in such centres as Berne, Fribourg, Lausanne, Montreux, Geneva, etc. We
thus find many of the best-known professors and doctors of Switzerland,
some of whom have a world-wide reputation, actively engaged in their own
hospitals in the service of the Interned.

At Berne: Professors Kocher, Capt. Dr. Matti, Dr. Arndt, Dr. Kocher.

At Lausanne: Professor Roux, Dr. Dufour.

At Montreux: Dr. Chessex.

At Geneva: Dr. Julliard, Dr. Machard.

At Fribourg: Dr. Clement.

A special Sanitary Establishment was also created by the "Médecin
d'Armée" at Lucerne, in June, 1916, with 190 beds and a staff of eleven
doctors, known as the "Armée-Sanitäts-Anstalt," destined for the common
use of the Interned of all nations for operative work in connection with
bone-grafting, tendon-transplantation, brain and nerve surgery, and
complicated plastic movements. The beds were distributed as follows: 6
to officers, and 78 to French, 22 to British, and 84 to German N.C.Os.
and men, the different nationalities being accommodated in different
wards. This hospital was well equipped from a scientific point of view,
and was supplemented by annexes to which the convalescents were
transferred. The annexe set aside for the British was the congeries of
châlets at Seebourg, four kilometres from Lucerne, owned by the London
Polytechnic Society. This was kindly placed at my disposal by the
Society, and was further utilized for the accommodation of men attending
the classes for technical instruction established under the auspices of
the B.R.C.S., London. The "A.S.A.," however, proving unequal to the
ever-increasing strain, had to be supplemented on September 8, 1916, by
the addition at the "Clinique Générale," Geneva, under the direction of
Dr. Julliard, of a _service_ for the treatment of lesions of the jaw and
face. Another _service_ was also opened by Dr. Machard, at Geneva, and a
third by Dr. Matti, at the Salem Hospital, at Berne, also for lesions of
the face and jaw.

The specialization demanded was in this way gradually placed at the
service of the Interned, but its creation was not the outcome of a day.
The year 1916 was a transition period of trial and evolution, during
which many mistakes were made, but which ended in the development of an
efficient organization capable of meeting all demands. That the Swiss
Sanitary Service, both in its military and civil branches, should have
met so readily demands of so unprecedented a nature, shows a remarkable
spirit of originality and adaptability, which is deserving of record and

One other special establishment, set apart in 1917 for the use of the
Allies, was that of the Fribourg Hospital. Early in that year I received
a visit from the Comtesse de Zürich de Reynolds, informing me of a
scheme initiated by herself and the Baronne de Montenach, both residents
of Fribourg, for the equipment of a large hospital on the outskirts of
the town, built originally by the municipality as a Maternity Hospital,
but which for financial reasons had never been opened as such. The
municipal authorities had expressed their willingness to hand over the
building as a Military Hospital dedicated to the use of the Allies for
the period of the war, and funds were being collected with the intention
of transferring it, after equipment, to the "Médecin d'Armée." The
hospital was calculated to provide beds for about 120 officers and men,
at a cost originally estimated at frs. 100,000. Of this sum, frs. 75,000
had already been promised, by French Red Cross sources, to Mme. de
Montenach, who was devoting herself more especially to the
Franco-Belgian side of the question.

An examination of the building showed me that it was eminently suited
for the purpose, and a visit to Fribourg made it clear that the medical
faculty of the town, as well as the authorities, were deeply interested
in the scheme. The "Médecin d'Armée" also adopted it with warm approval,
but told me that the funds allocated to him by the Allies would not
admit of the capital expenditure involved. As we were at that time
awaiting the arrival of a fresh British contingent from Germany, for
whom further hospital accommodation was most desirable, the scheme made
a strong appeal to me, and I felt no hesitation in placing it before the
British Red Cross Society in London, with a request for a donation of
frs. 30,000. This sum was immediately placed at my disposal, and in a
very short time the ladies at Fribourg had the satisfaction of
transferring to the "Médecin d'Armée" a hospital equipped from top to
bottom, the total expenditure being about frs. 150,000 in all.

Here some forty of our soldiers lay side by side with the French and
Belgians, and benefited greatly by the highly skilled work of Captain
Dr. Clement and his able assistants. Mme. de Zürich de Reynolds was
untiring in her interest in and kindness to our men, as well as their
Allied comrades. I am happy to be able to cite this as one amongst the
many instances of kindness and practical sympathy of our Swiss friends.

It gives me pleasure to record the fact that the Swiss surgeons often
spoke to me of the cheeriness of our men whilst under treatment, their
quiet acceptance of operative work, and their powers of endurance. One
surgeon, when commenting on these temperamental qualities, accounted for
them by the love of the British for the open air life, their addiction
to sport, and the quality of their diet.

In preparing a comparative return of mortality in Switzerland during the
years 1916 and 1917, I found, to my surprise, that the percentage of
loss by death of Interned French and Belgians more than doubled that of
the British. I understood from my French colleague, Comte de Manneville,
that his figures by no means represented the total losses of his
countrymen, as so many of them had, on arrival in Switzerland, been
repatriated as "grands blessés." How many of them had died in France he
could not tell, but doubtless a considerable number, as the majority
were in the last stages of tuberculosis. That fell disease appears to
have been more common to the French than to the British whilst in
captivity in Germany.

The mortality amongst the British in Switzerland from all causes during
the years 1916 and 1917, out of an average of about 2,000 men, amounted
to fourteen only, most of whom died of tuberculosis, pneumonia, or
accident—a gratifying record as far as Swiss surgeons are concerned,
when the sum total of their surgical work is taken into account.

Many of the Leysin patients had been sent out of Germany by the
Itinerant Commissions on the mere suspicion of tuberculosis, and these
men failed to understand that their condition could be in any way
dangerous. The restrictions imposed as regards smoking, drinking, and
exercise, the lying out in the open in a recumbent attitude, exposed to
sun and air for six to eight hours per diem, and the general want of
freedom thereby involved, proved extremely trying to them, and they
were, I am afraid, often a thorn in the side of the medical officers. On
one occasion they persuaded the doctors to give them permission to play
a friendly game of football with other enthusiasts of the camp, with
results disastrous to certain of their number, who realized, perhaps for
the first time, that unusual strain could only lead to hemorrhage or
other evils of a cognate nature.

A large proportion of the sick were drafted to Château d'Oex, or Mürren,
as completely cured, after a residence at Leysin from six months to a
year. The percentage of incurables was small, and there is no doubt in
my mind that the treatment, as practised in the Swiss Sanatoria, is of
immense advantage to those not far advanced in the disease.

As regards an important branch of treatment, viz., that of dentistry,
provision was made by the "Médecin d'Armée" as part of the ordinary
medical work. This, however, owing to the strain imposed by the
mobilization of the Swiss Army, proved totally inadequate, and it was a
great relief to me when, in June, 1916, I received a letter from Mr.
Joseph A. Woods, M.D.S., L.D.S., offering me his personal service in
Switzerland. He wrote to me as follows:—

"My proposition would be to go to some suitable centre for, say, one
month. I would take all necessary instruments and supplies and would
attend to any Interned who would care and need to have such treatment.
The whole service would be entirely gratuitous, whether to officers or
men, and, as far as possible, I would, in addition to operative
treatment, fit artificial dentures or make splints or other appliances
in any cases of jaw injuries. I would be personally responsible for the
expenses. I should, of course, accept any regulations or conditions
which may be in force and would loyally fall in with them."

This generous proposition naturally commended itself to me, and with the
approval of the "Médecin d'Armée," and the sanction of the War Office,
Mr. Woods was appointed Head Dental Surgeon to the British Interned. He
immediately closed down his private practice at Liverpool, and exactly
three weeks later reached Berne, bringing with him a large stock of
instruments and general dental supplies. It was a good thing he did so,
for all such stocks had run very low in Switzerland, and the problem of
supply has since then become increasingly difficult. Mr. Woods, at my
request, made Mürren his centre, and within a few days most of the
officers and 200 men were on his register as prospective patients. His
original offer to remain one month was extended to three, and then as
the work increased, owing to fresh arrivals from Germany, he decided, on
my representations, to remain for a much longer period, and in fact only
left the country when the camps were closed down on the repatriation of
all Ps. of W. in the autumn of 1918, having thus completed two years and
four months voluntary service with British troops in Switzerland. The
camps at Interlaken (where he fitted up an additional surgery), Gunten,
Meiringen, Seebourg, Leysin and Château d'Oex, also came within his
purview at one time or another. Leysin and Château d'Oex were
subsequently, in August, 1917, placed in dental charge of Mr. W. I. Law,
L.D.S., where the work was almost as heavy as at Mürren. Mr. Law's
expenses were defrayed by the North-Midland Branch of the British Dental
Association, supplemented by a donation from the B.R.C.S., London. The
services of Mr. Woods were entirely honorary: all expenses, both
professional and personal, were met by him, and no fees or charges of
any sort were accepted under any circumstances.

The following summary will give some idea of the magnitude of his work:—

 Total number of patients treated      1,229
 Visits                                6,033
 Operations                            9,725
 Restorations (dentures), etc.           673

Mr. Woods laid himself out to give as full dental treatment as though he
were in his own private consulting-room at home, and to avoid the
suggestion or appearance of merely giving the bare essentials of dental
treatment. The fact that 99 per cent. of the officers, and about 80 per
cent. of the men, consulted him, shows how entirely he obtained the
confidence of all ranks, and how necessary a dental service was. He was
able, by a series of lectures and demonstrations, to impress upon all
his patients the extreme importance of dental hygiene.

Writing on the subject of his work, he mentions that, like all other
members of his profession, he had been anxious since the outbreak of the
war to be of service to his fellow-countrymen, and when he saw that Ps.
of W. were being transferred to Switzerland, he felt an overpowering
desire to offer a dental service to them. That this loving desire has
received a wonderful fulfilment, the foregoing record amply shows, a
fulfilment towards which he was so well assisted by Mrs. Woods, who gave
up all her time and strength in the furtherance of her husband's task.
It is a pleasure to add that Mr. Woods received the heartiest support of
Captain Dr. Llopart, the Directing Medical Officer at Mürren, and of the
Swiss Dental Service.

As regards the provision of artificial limbs, it is casting no slur on
the Swiss medical authorities and Swiss artisans to say that they were
unable to meet the demands of the Interned. In Switzerland, as in other
countries, trained artisans skilled in this class of work were lacking,
and the type of limb in use was in no wise suitable for the demands of
modern life; in short, good artificial limbs were unprocurable in the
country, and though some of the men were fitted out locally, the
majority preferred to wait in the hope that a more suitably-designed
limb would have been evolved before their return to England. A few
officers were supplied with artificial legs by a Lyons firm, with which
they were satisfied at the time, but whether these compared favourably
with the home product I have not heard. Lady Dorothy Dalrymple did
useful service at Château d'Oex in supplying peg-legs, which proved most

A few words here as to the expenses caused by the administration and the
medical care of the Interned will not be out of place. The foreign
Governments concerned engaged to pay to the Swiss Government, in
liquidation of these expenses, 50 centimes per diem for every officer
and man interned, with an additional sum of 50 centimes for those under
treatment for tuberculosis. This payment covered charges for the pay and
allowances of all Swiss officers and men engaged in the service of the
Interned; hospital expenses of every kind and nature except food; hire
of offices and expenses of installation; allowances to Interned men
working in the administrative offices of the Interned, or employed as
masseurs, etc.; also the laundry of officers and men.

It was only by the exercise of a careful economy that the expenditure
was maintained within the limits agreed upon, but I understand that, as
the Internment developed, the funds placed at the disposal of the Swiss
Government were found sufficient for the purpose.



Our men had not long been settled at Château d'Oex when they were
inspected by Colonel Hauser, who mentioned to me his surprise at finding
an unusually high percentage in need of surgical treatment, the
percentage being much higher than in the case of the French, Belgian, or
German Interned. He appeared to be satisfied at the time with the
adequacy of the medical and surgical arrangements at our disposal, but
expressed some concern at a feeling, common to both officers and men,
that their surgical treatment was being unduly delayed. He said that the
same feeling had prevailed amongst the French and Belgians at an earlier
date of the Internment, but that this was based upon a totally erroneous
impression. Patients, in their anxiety for an early restoration to
health and activity, often failed to realize the danger of premature
operative work, and he had been forced to direct his surgeons to
exercise due caution. Recrudescent purulent outbreaks had already
occurred amongst the French, with fatal consequences, as the result of
premature work, and he was determined that his surgeons should not in
the future be led away by any signs of impatience on the part of the
Interned. He begged me to believe that his officers were acting in the
interests of each individual officer and man, and that if operations
were deferred, there was good reason for the decision taken. He had
evidently warned Major Mercanton, the "Chef de Région," of the necessity
for caution in certain classes of surgical work, for, whilst
accompanying the first train conveying the men from Montreux to Château
d'Oex, I was present when a conversation on this subject took place
between the latter and Captain de la Chaux, the D.M.O. of the camp.
Major Mercanton warned his subordinates of the advisability of
proceeding slowly in the first instance. Apart from the necessity of
dealing with urgent cases as they might arise, he recommended a rest of
at least a month, in order that the effect of good food and change of
climate might be watched before any operative work was undertaken. He
also dwelt at length on the danger of blood-poisoning due to the foci of
bacteria. I felt at the time that whatever minor evils might result from
excessive caution, the greater evil of premature surgery would, within
the limits of human judgment, be avoided.

It was a matter of interest to me to learn from Colonel Hauser that, as
in the case of the French and Belgian Interned, his officers were
already being criticized as a result of this cautious attitude, and that
the criticism amounted to a suspicion of neglect. This suspicion may
have been aggravated to some extent by a feeling amongst certain of the
officers that reasonable facilities were not being granted them for
treatment by private Specialists. The regulations affecting this
question gave the officer the right of consultation with, and treatment
by, a Specialist, but with the proviso that the charges incurred should
be debited to the Sanitary Department only, when the necessity for
calling in the Specialist had been allowed by the responsible camp
doctor. In the case of his non-approval, the charge had to be met from
the private purse of the officer. The D.M.Os. took the point of view
that, in the majority of cases, treatment could be as well conducted in
the camp by the regular Medical Staff as by the Specialist, and as
trustees for the proper expenditure of the funds placed at their
disposal by our Government, they did not feel themselves justified in
employing the Specialist in other than exceptional cases. The charges
involved by this latter procedure would, of course, have proved heavier
than in the former, and though they did not attach undue importance to
the financial side of the question, they did not feel inclined to ignore
it altogether. On the one hand, the medical officers complained of the
capricious nature of the demands made by our officers for specialized
treatment, when the ordinary camp treatment would have amply sufficed,
and held the opinion that the latter had no regard whatever for the
financial interests of our Government. On the other hand, our officers
cast doubts on the quality of the professional skill available in the
camp, and criticized the cheese-paring policy of the medical officers.

The one view was directly opposed to the other, and it looked as though
it would be difficult to arrive at an understanding on the question. The
conclusion which, after conversations with both sides, I personally came
to was, that the camp doctors (I am only speaking of Château d'Oex, for
the same difficulty was not experienced elsewhere) were disposed to
adhere too closely to the letter of their instructions, and were not
sufficiently flexible in their dealings with either officers or men.
They were too inclined to treat our soldiers as they would their own
Swiss compatriots; a great mistake, as, in doing so, they made no
allowance for the weaknesses and suspicions of men who had been
subjected to hardships of a trying nature during a period of long
confinement, and whose nerves were vibrating and sensitive to a degree.
Moreover, the mentalities of the Swiss and British soldier were very
different, and to judge of one soldier by the other could only lead to
error and misunderstanding.

I discussed this question with Colonel Hauser, who spoke to me on the
subject with the utmost frankness. It was apparently all the more easy
for him to do so, as he had already been through the same phase of doubt
and dissatisfaction with the Interned of our Allies, and had succeeded
in proving to their satisfaction that all was well with their medical
treatment. He pointed out that the conditions under which our men were
being treated were, when compared with those of the Swiss soldier,
exceptionally favourable, and this I believe to have been the case. It
was true, he said, that in respect of food, nursing, etc., no comparison
could be drawn, as either the circumstances differed, or the system
adopted varied in our respective countries in a greater or less degree,
but we could not expect the Swiss Government to adapt itself to the
idiosyncracies of the soldiers of any one nationality; we must be
prepared to judge by results. He could only deplore the lack of
confidence displayed towards his Staff at Château d'Oex, and thought
that our officers were over critical.

I, in reply, stated that I was at a disadvantage in having no qualified
British doctor to assist me, and suggested that a visit of inspection by
a distinguished British surgeon would, in all probability, serve to
allay suspicion on the part of the Interned, and bring about a better
feeling between his Staff and our men. He met the suggestion with
enthusiasm, and said that both he and his Staff would welcome such a
visit. Any officer nominated by the War Office for the purpose would be
warmly received, and be given every facility to make himself acquainted
with the conditions which determine the care and treatment of our
Interned, and the attitude of the Swiss Sanitary Service towards them.
He would be more especially pleased to see a medical expert of
international reputation, as his doctors would have much to gain from an
expert of wide experience.

Thereupon, I lost no time in making the situation clear to the
Authorities at home, and asked that a surgeon of standing should be sent
to inspect and report on the medical treatment, and to advise me as to
the sufficiency or otherwise of the care bestowed upon our officers and
men. Some delay took place before the right man could be found, but at
last Lieut.-Colonel Robert Jones, R.A.M.C. (now Sir Robert Jones), the
distinguished inspector of Military Orthopædics in Great Britain, was
nominated for the purpose by Sir Alfred Keogh, K.C.B., Director-General
A.M.S., and arrived in Berne on December 22, 1916.

He commenced his inspection at once, and in due course visited the camps
at Mürren, Château d'Oex, Leysin, and the hospitals affiliated to these
camps at Interlaken, Berne, and Lucerne. Shortly before his arrival, a
contingent of Ps. of W. had reached Switzerland from Germany, and he
therefore had an opportunity in each of the camps of comparing the
conditions of these newly-arrived men with those who had been in
residence in Switzerland for some time, a matter, to my mind, of great
importance, as Colonel Hauser had contended that the true test of the
efficiency of his Sanitary Service could best be demonstrated by
results, the methods by which those results were achieved being of
secondary importance. In principle, I agreed with this view, and looked
upon it as a very happy circumstance that the arrival of this contingent
had coincided with that of Colonel Jones, who would be able to apply
this test when making his examinations.

As regards the medicine and surgery practised in the camps, Colonel
Jones found the doctors to be well-informed young practitioners, who had
undergone a sound modern training. Assisting at an emergency operation,
conducted by Captain Dr. Brüstlein, at Château d'Oex, he writes:

 The technique was good, and the theatre staff compared quite favourably
 with many more ambitious theatres at home. This experience gave me
 confidence with regard to the conduct of emergency operations in this
 camp. Neither at Mürren nor at Leysin is there an operating theatre in
 the camp. This is as it should be, as at neither place is there a
 surgeon qualified for serious surgical emergencies. Should such
 emergencies arise, an operating surgeon would be telephoned for from
 Interlaken or from Montreux. The character of the cases is very similar
 to those which we find in the ordinary British Military Hospital….

 I was much pleased to find that the Swiss doctors were conservative,
 and did not show an undue haste to operate. They were beginning to
 learn of the dangers of recrudescent purulent outbreaks in those
 instances where operations were performed too early. This delay, in one
 of the camps, has given rise to suspicion of neglect, a suspicion which
 I took pains to dissipate….

 The treatment of the Swiss doctors was quite equal to that which we
 find in a well-conducted auxiliary hospital at home, and the facilities
 offered the men to consult specialists were even greater than we often
 find to be the case at home.

 Our soldiers are very well situated in all the camps, from the point of
 view of access to specialists. Berne, Lucerne, Montreux, and Lausanne
 contain most distinguished surgeons—many of them of international
 reputation. Careful inquiry proved to my satisfaction that whenever
 really necessary a consultation was allowed. These consultations, as
 long as recommended by the Directing Medical Officer, were never
 charged to British officers or men. I questioned the medical officers
 as to the specialists recommended, and was satisfied they were
 well-known men. If officers desired to consult any special man other
 than the person recommended by the D.M.O. no objection is taken to it,
 and so long as the D.M.O. thinks the consultation necessary, no charge
 is made for it. Occasions sometimes arise when an officer visits a
 specialist without consulting the D.M.O. and in that case he pays his
 own expenses. It is always advisable that the officer should consult
 the D.M.O. before seeking the advice of the specialist, as it sometimes
 happens that the officer chooses a surgeon with a brilliant abdominal
 reputation, when he should have consulted a specialist versed in bones.
 I had a long talk with the officers on this subject, and explained to
 them that they were as well off in the matter of expert opinion as if
 they lived in London.

 The nursing was mostly of a comparatively unskilled type. Women nurses
 were not encouraged, and the duties were performed by orderlies who had
 undergone instruction. The disadvantage of this was largely
 counteracted by the fact that the surgeons themselves dressed their

 There are too few masseurs. I spoke of this, and I learn that the
 shortage is to be remedied. The Swiss authorities are to start a School
 of Massage, which several of our men will attend. This may easily prove
 to be a vocation of advantage to them after the war.

 I visited several of the hospitals where the more serious cases had
 been removed for operation. I found the surgeons keen and very
 interested in their patients, and the hospital accommodation quite
 good. The food was excellent, and I could hear no complaints. In these
 various hospitals every type of operative work is done, such as
 bone-grafting, tendon-transplantation, brain and nerve surgery, and
 complicated plastic operations. I had long conversations with the
 staffs, and am now well aware of their views and methods of procedure.
 They seemed thoughtful, conscientious and careful men, and I feel our
 wounded are safe in their hands.

 I found the British officers wanted encouragement, and I trust I was
 able to cheer many of them by truthfully assuring them of their
 recovery after the war. I endeavoured to instil into them a spirit of
 confidence in the doctors with whom they had to deal. In certain more
 complicated cases I suggested that the final operation should be
 performed upon them on their return. I think I examined every officer.

In respect of the general condition of the men, Colonel Jones writes:—

 The newly arrived seemed indifferently nourished, many of them dazed,
 and some apprehensive of those in authority. After a very short time,
 so I am informed, these conditions are overcome, and the men become
 cheerful and trustful. The condition of those who had been in camp in
 Switzerland for longer periods was very satisfactory. They looked well
 and felt happy, and I had opportunities of examining their charts, and
 noted that they soon began to fatten after arriving in camp. Indeed,
 they represented generally a well-conditioned body of men. Many spoke
 well of their treatment by the Swiss officials, and seemed to
 fraternize with the villagers, with whom they were in general accord.

 The three camps (Mürren, Château d'Oex, and Leysin) are admirably
 chosen … and the residential establishments for the men comprise most
 of the well-known hotels of the district. It would be difficult to
 conceive of more appropriate or delightful surroundings for men who
 have returned from German prisons.

Summarizing his experience of the camps, Colonel Jones stated that:—

 The sanitation and housing were excellent; the feeding good in quality
 and plentiful; the Swiss doctors in charge well trained and attentive,
 and quite competent; the specialists extremely good, and every
 reasonable facility afforded for consulting them; the General Hospitals
 for serious cases were staffed by competent and often distinguished

This visit of Colonel Jones, and the satisfactory nature of the report,
once and for all set my mind at rest as to the general efficiency of the
service and the skill of the medical officers, and certainly had a
tranquillizing effect on the majority of our own officers and men. The
contrast between the condition of the recent arrivals and those who had
been in residence for some time was most marked, and furnished a proof
of the almost miraculous change effected by the climate, the freedom
from anxiety, and the good work of the doctors. In every camp the two
classes of men were paraded for inspection side by side, and the
difference in their mental outlook and physical condition was of a
marked nature.

Further confirmation of the activities of the Swiss doctors reached me
about this time from another quarter. Having regard to the great mass of
Ps. of W. arriving in Switzerland, the majority of whom had received
insufficient treatment in Germany, the "Médecin d'Armée" found it
necessary to call for an objective and uniform examination of all
wounded men, with a view to obtaining detailed indications for the
treatment of their wounds, and in September, 1916, Dr. Matti, a
distinguished specialist of Berne, was charged with the duty of visiting
the "regions," and of examining every case where surgical and orthopædic
treatment was in question. In December this order was modified, the
"regions" being divided into four zones, for each of which a Specialist
was nominated. The result of these examinations was communicated to me
in due course, supplementing, and, I am glad to say, confirming, the
conclusions drawn, quite independently, by Colonel Jones.



The employment of the Interned became at an early date the object of
much solicitude on the part of the Swiss Government and the Swiss
public, and it was soon recognized that the best tonic for repairing the
ravages caused by sickness, wounds, and a long captivity, was to be
found in the restoration of the soldier to a state of activity
approximating to the normal, by bringing him into touch with the
ordinary conditions of civil life. For this purpose it was necessary to
find work, study, or occupation for all those whose physical and mental
conditions were still adapted for that purpose.

Instructions were issued by Colonel Hauser in April, 1916, by which the
D.M.O.s. were made responsible for the occupation of the Interned in a
manner appropriate to the state of their health, and it was laid down as
a principle that the work assigned was no longer to be treated as
voluntary, but was to be made obligatory. Any refusal to work was to be
severely punished. Nothing was said as to the method of procuring such
occupation or of its organization. These instructions, therefore, proved
of little practical value, beyond focussing the attention of the
responsible Swiss officers on the subject. It was soon realized that
many of the wounded and sick had been utterly and permanently broken
down by their sufferings, whilst others were quickly recovering their
physical, moral, and intellectual stamina.

To meet these varying conditions, an order was published on July 8,
1916, with the approval of the Political Department, classifying the
Interned into six categories:—

1. Those incapable of all work.

2. Those partially capable, and fit for employment in the residential
establishments as postal orderlies, waiters, etc.

3. Those partially capable, and fit for a few hours' work in the camps
and workshops.

4. Those capable of a full day's work, and employable as labourers or

5. Young apprentices who, owing to invalidity, are forced to learn a new

6. Students wishing to continue their studies at the universities or
schools of Switzerland.

The employment of categories 2, 3, and 5 was deputed to the D.M.O.s;
category 4 to special commissions set up in regional centres; category 6
to a University Committee. The "D.M.Os." were invited to place
themselves in touch with a Society known as "Pro Captivis," with a view
to the employment of men of category 3.

The "Pro Captivis" was originally founded at Berne at the commencement
of 1915 by Monsieur Jean Bernouilli, as a complement to the
International Committee of the Red Cross at Geneva, whose work under the
direction of Monsieur Ador is so well known. Later, it occupied itself
for a time as a "Bureau de Secours" for the despatch of parcels to
German and Austrian Ps. of W. It then changed its complexion by becoming
an exclusively Swiss neutral Society, under the direction of Mme. de
Sprecher (wife of the Chief of the General Staff), who offered its
assistance to the "Médecin d'Armée" for the organization of the work
entailed by the washing and repairs of the linen of the Interned. This
offer was accepted, and, in co-operation with Swiss women of all
classes, an efficient service was created for the purpose. It then
turned its attention to the employment of the Interned, and opened
workshops at Brunnen for the making of shoes, and at Meiringen for
tannery. It also organized classes for the instruction of apprentices.
These enterprises received official support, and were subsidized by the
Swiss Q.M.G. Department.

By the end of 1916, the "Pro Captivis" had in hand fifty workshops, of
which thirty were in German, and twenty in French, Switzerland, giving
occupation to about 1,140 men.

Other enterprises of a similar kind were created by private initiative.
Colonel Luthard, of the French Red Cross, for instance, founded several
ateliers at Leysin and elsewhere for the benefit of the French Interned.
Some of them joined up with the "Pro Captivis," others retained their
autonomy. A model institution of the latter class was that founded in
August, 1916, at Vevey, and known as "T.I.M." (Travail Internés
Militaires). It was installed in an unused building of Messrs. Peter
Cailler and Kohler. Here toys, furniture, and fancy articles were
manufactured. Commencing with ten workmen, work was finally found for

All these workshops were organized on the same principle, with an
interned officer or N.C.O. in charge. Raw materials were procured by the
Managing Committees, the output in finished articles being disposed of
in Switzerland by the Management for the benefit of their societies. The
men were employed, as a rule, for four to five hours per diem, at an
average remuneration of fr. 1 for the day's work.

In December, 1916, it was seen that the business of the "Pro Captivis"
was being run at a loss, and it was decided to detach this work from the
Society and transfer it to the Central Administration of the "Médecin
d'Armée" at Berne. This reform was duly effected, the existing deficit
being made good by the Q.M.G. Department, which was henceforth made
responsible for the administration of the numerous existing "Pro
Captivis" workshops, the services of Madame von Sprecher being still
retained as Lady Director. The aforementioned organization was intended
almost exclusively for the employment and instruction of categories 3
and 5.

Those coming under category 4 were not being neglected, and factories
were set up in January, 1917, for the manufacture of goods intended for
sale abroad. These factories were established under the patronage of the
officers in charge of the Interned, under the title of national
workshops ("ateliers nationaux"), those of the French being controlled
by Count de Manneville, who occupied the same position towards his
interned compatriots as I did towards the British. This enterprise more
especially affected French and German Ps. of W., as they alone had their
markets near at hand, and, consequently, were not faced with any special
difficulty either as regards the import of raw materials, or the export
of the manufactured product. The Political Department gave its consent
to the creation of these so-called national workshops for category 4
men, on the understanding that a market for their output should be found
abroad, in order that Swiss industry and Swiss workers should not suffer
from competition.

In due course factories for German Interned were installed for:—

(_a_) Carpentry and woodwork, at Saint-Gall.

(_b_) Leather goods and orthopædic apparatus, at Stansstad.

(_c_) Toys, at Vitznau.

(_d_) Metal work, at Rorschach.

Other developments followed.

Some of the French workshops were financed and directed as matters of
national concern, the French Red Cross taking a leading part in the
matter; others were set up by French industrials as a business
speculation, machinery and tools being imported from France. The
manufacture of furniture and huts received special encouragement from
the French Government, as these articles were required in large
quantities for the restoration of the provinces occupied by the enemy in
Northern France. Clogs and metal work also found a ready outlet,
facilities for import into France being accorded by the French
Government. The men employed in the factories were, as a rule, those who
had been employed in similar work in France and Belgium in pre-war days.

I am indebted to Dr. Garnett, my technical adviser, for some details of
the work done by the French, from which I extract the following:—

 It has to be borne in mind that the British Army of August, 1914,
 consisted almost exclusively of professional soldiers, while the French
 Army consisted largely of tradesmen.

 Wherever the French were located, nearly every available workshop,
 especially if provided with electric power, was secured by them, and
 turned to more or less profitable purposes. The most remarkable example
 was at Spiez, where the workshops used by the contractor for the
 electrification of the Lotschberg Railway had been equipped by a French
 firm. Fifty men were employed in two relays, working eight hours each,
 and they turned out 2,000 pairs of sabots daily, using about three tons
 of sawn birch timber every day. The sabots were sent at once to France.
 The men were paid 50 centimes an hour (about frs. 24 a week). I could
 not avoid the conclusion that the French employer was to some extent
 exploiting prisoners' labour. At the same time, it was much better that
 the men should be employed than that they should be idle.

 At Champéry the French had leased a sawmill and a joiner's shop with
 machine tools, and were making huts for re-housing the people in the
 devastated regions of northeast France. This work was under the
 auspices of the French Red Cross. The huts were built in panels 1¼
 metres square, and put together by bolts and nuts. For railway
 transport they packed solid. Associated with the hut building was the
 furniture manufacture, carried on in several of the French centres. The
 furniture was made in birch and pine, and, like the huts, packed solid.
 Another remarkable industry was the framing in birch wood of school
 slates for the French schools. The slates were quarried between
 Frutigen and Adelboden; they were cut to size at the quarries and
 finished at Adelboden.

 At Adelboden the Belgians had a weaving shed, with hand looms capable
 of turning out linen 2 metres in width.

 At Vevey a French Colonial officer, had established the "T.I.M." This
 appeared to be a purely commercial undertaking where unskilled labour
 made saleable goods, which comprised bags, wire rat-traps, wire for
 champagne corks, kitchen utensils, etc. In connection with the majority
 of this work it was hard to believe that the training would be of value
 to the men when they returned to France.

 At Leysin the French had secured an unfinished hotel, and as there were
 no windows the men had the advantage of working almost in the open air.
 Excellent work was done in small cabinet work and French polishing. A
 modeller with four or five assistants made models of the Kaiser and
 Crown Prince in plaster, which were painted by a specialist. The demand
 was so great I could not purchase one. Another man with four or five
 assistants was making paper-knives from wire nails about 20 c.m. long
 and 1 c.m. in diameter. This industry was learned, I understand, from
 Russian prisoners in Germany. At Meiringen the French had a workshop
 for light leather work and another for rope slippers.

 There was little about the work in general that could be regarded as
 systematically educational, though the assistants had the opportunity
 of learning as apprentices. With few exceptions, the educational
 element was entirely lacking.

Attention was also directed by our Allies to other fields of employment.
On the initiative of the French Embassy and the Belgian Legation at
Berne, an orchestra was formed at Montreux, and was assimilated from the
point of view of administration and finance to the system of national
workshops. This orchestra was composed of Interned professional
musicians, and was placed under the leadership of Monsieur Marc de
Ranse, a well-known French musician, who drifted into Switzerland as a
P. of W. after a long period of captivity in Germany. British musicians
were asked to join this orchestra, though few availed themselves of the
privilege, as most of our bandsmen preferred service in the camp
orchestras at Château d'Oex, Mürren, and Leysin. Monsieur de Ranse made
many tours in the Cantons of Vaud, Geneva, and the Bernese Oberland,
where his orchestra met with a well-merited success.

Arrangements were also made for the employment of category 4 (full-day
workers) in the workshops, factories, and farms of the country, and for
this purpose Labour Commissions were set up at Berne, Lausanne, Lucerne,
and Zürich. These regional Commissions, on receipt of a demand by an
employer for the services of an Interned, were called upon to satisfy
themselves that—(1) The employer was in a position to carry out his
engagements, and (2) The employment proposed was not detrimental to the
interests of the Swiss workmen. If the investigation proved
satisfactory, the demand was referred to a Central Labour Commission at
Berne, where it was again examined, and, if approved, was transmitted
through the "Médecin d'Armée" at Berne to the camp authorities, by whom
it was dealt with. The system gave rise to vexatious delay, but in the
end the employers' demand was, as a rule, satisfied. Men so employed
were paid the same rates as Swiss labourers or artisans of the same
class, and were obliged to provide their own board and lodging. During
the period of their contract they ceased to receive the frs. 4-5 per
diem allocated by the Swiss Government for the entertainment of Ps. of
W. in Switzerland, an exception, however, being made for men working in
the open air, such as labourers, masons, or wood-cutters, for whom such
daily grant continued to be paid on Sundays and other non-working days.

It is of interest, in connection with the French, to record the fact
that the Swiss Federal Department of the Interior was much pre-occupied
with the question of the preservation of walnut-trees. As a means to
that end, grafting (_greffage_) as practised in France, but the method
of which was unknown to the Swiss, was considered of great importance.
Instructors were accordingly recruited from amongst the French Interned,
and in January, 1917, as many as twenty men were engaged in imparting
their knowledge to Swiss gardeners in different parts of the country.

By December 31, 1916, out of a total of 28,081 Ps. of W., consisting of
1,879 British, 15,574 French, 1,893 Belgians, 8,504 Germans, and 231
Austrians, only 818 men of category 4 had found employment through the
intermediary of the Labour Commissions, and even this limited number was
distributed amongst as many as 741 different Swiss masters.

As regards general and technical education, schools ("écoles
nationales") were formed under the auspices of the officers in charge of
the Interned. I am writing now only of the French, Belgians, and
Germans. With the French and Belgians, attention was directed to
_general_ education in elementary subjects, languages, literature,
commerce and accounts, and to _technical_ instruction in agriculture,
aviculture, designing, and telegraphy.

The Germans appear to have interested themselves in languages, English
and Spanish being specially favoured. Other subjects were shorthand,
accounts, geography, and commerce, whilst technical instruction was also
given in fruit and vegetable culture, forestry, chemistry, and mining.
The aforesaid subjects cover a wide field, but only a limited number of
students were able to avail themselves of the facilities offered.

Funds for the above purposes were provided, directly by the Governments
concerned, and indirectly by private individuals and public societies.

To make provision for the needs of category 6, i.e. of officers and men
wishing to continue their studies at the universities or schools of
Switzerland, "L'Œuvre Universitaire Suisse" was founded in June, 1915,
with a central office at Lausanne. This body assumed responsibility for
the intellectual patronage of the Interned. In September, 1915, a
decision was taken authorizing the Interned to follow university or
college courses in the principal intellectual centres of the country,
and local Committees of the "Œuvre" were formed for the purpose of
assisting the students at the Universities of Bâle, Berne, Fribourg,
Geneva, Lausanne, Neuchâtel, and Zürich.

A special sub-division of the Interned, too, comprising all these
centres, was instituted under the general direction of Colonel George de
Montmollin, of Neuchâtel, and at each centre a "Commandant de Place" was
appointed for the organization, discipline, and lodging of the students.
Commissions were also nominated in each region, who pronounced on the
eligibility of the students for inscription at the universities.

In January, 1917, a total of 1,364 students had inscribed themselves on
the rolls of the universities, of whom 13 were British, 195 Belgians,
749 French, and 407 Germans. For their administration and discipline, 16
Swiss officers and 18 N.C.Os. had been designated. "L'Œuvre
Universitaire" arranged that these students should be exempt from all
university charges, a gracious concession which caused some comment, as
a distinction was thus drawn unfavourable to the Swiss student, who, in
many cases, was financially less well endowed than his foreign comrade.
The question of language was a stumbling-block to the generality of
British officers and soldiers, and no amount of goodwill or zeal could
compensate for a want of French, more particularly as this language was
the medium used by the professors in the universities open to the



The facilities afforded by the Swiss to the French, Belgian, and German
Interned, as explained in the foregoing chapter, could not, it will be
readily understood, be made applicable in the same degree to the British
Interned, who, unlike their Allies and enemies, were strangers in a
foreign land, ignorant of the languages spoken by the people, and,
further, apart in race and habits. There was, moreover, this essential
difference: whereas the French and Germans were largely drawn from the
industrial classes, and had received a training in civil life, our men,
and especially those who first arrived in Switzerland, in May, 1916,
were professional soldiers, enlisted young, and therefore unskilled, and
without technical equipment. Very few could hope to find work in the
factories of Switzerland, and those classified in category 4, as
"capable of a full day's work," were to all intents and purposes
eliminated in so far as the Swiss field of labour was concerned. Some
sort of educational and technical instruction was, therefore, in my
opinion (I return to this question later), essential, if these
professional soldiers were to be fitted to take their place in civil
life, sooner or later, on leaving the Army. Even with regard to the New
Army men with technical experience, the language difficulty was a bar to
their employment by the Swiss.

As a preliminary measure for immediate practical purposes, shops, such
as bootmakers', carpenters', tailors', barbers', etc., were opened at
Château d'Oex, but beyond giving employment and remuneration to a
limited number of men with some slight experience in these trades, they
served no ulterior purpose.

Very shortly after, however, training on a more pronounced scale came
prominently into question with the arrival at Mürren of the second
contingent from Germany in August, 1916. The officers and men of this
contingent were in a better state of health than their comrades who had
preceded them at Château d'Oex in May, 1916, and Lieut.-Colonel F. H.
Neish, Gordon Highlanders (S.B.O. at Mürren), found himself supported by
a capable staff of young officers, keenly anxious to get to work after
their long period of inactivity in Germany. Colonel Neish, accordingly,
at once turned his attention to the formation of schools, classes,
workshops, etc., thus laying the foundation for a scheme of technical
training which, with the financial support of the "B.L.R.C.O.," and, at
a later period, the "B.R.C.S.," London, received a considerable and
satisfactory development.

Elementary classes were started for Telegraphy, Electricity, Shorthand,
Typewriting, and Motor Engineering. Bookbinding of a simple nature was
taught at both camps in connection with the circulating libraries; and a
few men gave their attention to wood-carving, taking advantage of the
Swiss Schools of Art in the Bernese Oberland.

As regards the schools, it was soon found necessary to add to the staff
of teachers, and army schoolmasters were, at my request, sent out from
England to meet the increasing demand.

The most important of the classes, however, were those of motor
engineering, opened by Lieut. C. E. Wallis, Loyal North Lancashires, at
Mürren, and by Captain Reynolds at Rossinières (Château d'Oex), whence
men were subsequently selected to attend a more advanced class
established later by Lieut. Wallis at Vevey. Of this I shall have more
to say later on.

In the spring of 1917 I was approached by Mrs. Cook Daniels and Miss
Martin, who had opened a hand-made carpet factory at Gunten, on the Lake
of Thoune, with the object of giving employment to French and Belgian
Interned quartered at that place. They had made a success of the
enterprise, and offered to give similar employment to forty or fifty
disabled British soldiers. This number of men was accordingly gradually
drafted to Gunten from Mürren, where they were continuously employed
until their repatriation in December, 1918. The Gunten carpets obtained
a high reputation in Switzerland, and found a ready sale in the country.
The profits were distributed to the men in salaries varying from frs. 3
to 6 per diem, frs. 1·20 being paid for every 1,000 stitches. These
ladies also opened at their own expense a Club House and Canteen, which
became a social centre for the men of the whole district. Gunten always
struck me as one of the happiest and best organized of the Allied
communities in the Bernese Oberland, and reflected great credit on the
two ladies who stood sponsors for its welfare.

With the above exception of the carpet workshop, all the classes and
workshops at the camps were financed by the "B.L.R.C.O.," sums being
advanced to the "S.B.Os." for the purpose. At Mürren the management was
so successful, that Colonel Neish was able to refund, out of profits,
the greater part of the advances made by the "B.L.R.C.O."

During this period of preliminary organization, the number of Interned
was constantly increasing, owing to the arrival of fresh contingents,
whilst the health of the men who had been in the country some months was
showing signs of marked improvement, thus adding to the sum total of
those for whom it was desirable to find work. For the reasons already
given, any outlet in the factories or workshops in Switzerland being
practically barred, the minds of our officers were turned to our own
schools and workshops, as offering the most likely and useful field for
the absorption of the surplus energies still available, and it was
calculated that by developing these so as to provide training for
another 350 men, the needs of the Interned would be fairly well met.
Further development at the camps was out of the question, as every inch
of roof space had already been utilized, and it was determined,
therefore, to look elsewhere for the necessary accommodation. A step in
this direction was taken by the formation by Lieut. Wallis of the
advanced class of motor engineering at Vevey, on the Lake of Geneva.

So far, the financial arrangements involved had been commensurate with
the funds at the disposal of the "B.L.R.C.O.," but as the developments
contemplated went far beyond the resources of that Organization, it was
realized that we should have to look farther afield to meet the
increased cost of additional technical training.

In framing any scheme of advanced technical training, some knowledge of
the probable demands of the home market for skilled labour under
after-war conditions was essential, so that, in order to prevent any
haphazard growth of the existing Institutes, I addressed myself in the
autumn of 1916 to the War Office, with the request that a qualified
official might be sent out as my "Technical Adviser" for educational
purposes. The matter was taken in hand, and in February, 1917, a
specialist in the person of Dr. Garnett was found. Dr. Garnett was
peculiarly well fitted for the part, as he had occupied the positions of
Secretary to the Technical Education Board, and Adviser to the London
County Council. From 1892 to 1904 he had been responsible for the
organization of the Polytechnics, and for the work carried out by the
London County Council under the Technical Instruction Act. From 1904 to
1915 he had been closely associated with their work as Educational
Adviser, and in that capacity had acquired an intimate knowledge of
trade requirements.

Dr. Garnett reached Switzerland in April, 1917, and, accompanied by
Major H. R. Charley, Royal Irish Rifles, made a tour of inspection of
all British and French Institutes. On the conclusion of this inspection
he framed a scheme of instruction based on the following principles:—

1. The preservation and development of the training already initiated in
the camps.

2. The erection of additional central schools removed from the
disturbing influence of camp life.

3. The utilization of the elementary camp classes for the selection of
men to attend the central schools.

4. The appointment of Interned officers to take charge of these schools.

To give effect to these recommendations, he proposed the erection of
Central Schools at Brienz, Meiringen, and Seebourg (Lucerne), where the
necessary accommodation and motive power could be obtained, and,
further, the enlargement of the Motor Engineering School at Vevey.
Brienz and Meiringen had the advantage of being in the vicinity of
Mürren and Interlaken; Vevey, in that of Château d'Oex; whilst Seebourg,
though farther away, had the unique advantage of affording residential
and workshop accommodation in one institution—the Polytechnic Châlets.

The subjects suggested for technical study were:—

1. Joinery and Cabinet-making.

2. Electric Wiring and the Care of Domestic Installations.

3. Light Leather Work.

4. Tailoring.

5. Automobile Engineering.

The teaching staff was to be sent out from England, with the exception
of that for No. 5. The expenditure for the above-mentioned scheme,
inclusive of the cost of new materials, was estimated at about £4,000
per annum.

The report of Dr. Garnett, transmitted by the War Office to the
"B.R.C.S.," London, was approved by the latter, who undertook to promote
and finance the undertaking. Interest in the question was also taken by
the Ministry of Pensions, to whom the training and education of wounded
men was naturally of great importance. The practical application of the
scheme was placed in the hands of Lord Sandwich and Major R. N.
Mitchell, the former representing the "B.R.C.S.," London, the latter the
Ministry of Pensions. Prior to the departure from London of these
gentlemen to inspect conditions in Switzerland, several British firms,
with whom Major Mitchell had been in consultation, offered to send out
managers and instructors to take charge of one or other of the classes
related to their interests, to provide all the raw material required, to
remunerate the men, and, further, to guarantee employment on
repatriation to all those men giving proof of efficiency whilst under
instruction. This guarantee appeared to me the solution of the whole
problem, and honour is due to the brain which first originated the idea.
Amongst firms taking part in this venture were: Messrs. Brinsmead and
Co., pianoforte makers; Messrs. Worral and Co., Birmingham, leather
work; and Mr. D. Davis, fancy leather bag manufacturer. The "Auto-Car"
Management, under the inspiration of Lieut. Wallis, also offered to bear
the whole cost of the Motor Engineering School at Vevey. The above
proposals practically ensured the success of the scheme laid down by Dr.
Garnett, and gave it a very attractive form in the eyes of the men,
whose future was thereby safeguarded.

On the occasion of the visit of Lord Sandwich and Major Mitchell to
Switzerland in August, 1917, they had the advantage of the advice and
assistance of Dr. Garnett. The chief problem consisted in finding
premises where the whole of the proposed technical training might be
centralized. Unfortunately, nothing of the kind was available, and it
was accordingly decided, with my approval and that of the Swiss
authorities, to establish the Central Schools as proposed by Dr.
Garnett, with the exception of Brienz, which was eliminated:—Meiringen,
for leather work and tailoring; Seebourg, for pianoforte making and
carpentry, electrical work, watch-making, etc.; Vevey, for motor
engineering. This would suffice, it was estimated, to exhaust the
available number of men seeking training, and, apart from the closure of
the elementary motor engineering classes at Mürren and Château d'Oex,
leave the Institutes of the regimental type, such as Army Classes, and
all the other classes, to continue their work as heretofore at the camps.

On Lord Sandwich's return to London, arrangements were made to give
effect to the amended scheme, and, at my request, Major Charley and
Lieut. Wallis were nominated by the War Office to take their place on my
Staff, the former as Officer in Charge of Technical Training, the latter
to resume charge of the Motor Engineering School at Vevey. These
officers, further, represented the interests which the "B.R.C.S.,"
London, had in the scheme.

In September, 1917, the repatriation of some of the British Interned
somewhat delayed arrangements, but at last, in October, expert managers
and instructors arrived from England, sent by the firms mentioned, and
work was seriously begun by November, 1917.

The men displayed considerable aptitude, and achieved a standard of
efficiency which should enable them to keep their situations on their
return to England. Remuneration was made to each apprentice in
proportion to his work, and was sufficient to give him a personal
interest in the output.

The Tailoring Class was conducted by a West-end tailor, late
Sergt.-Instructor in the Army. The workshop was located in an annexe of
the Hôtel Flora, at Meiringen, and was fitted with four machines
electrically driven. Attention was mainly directed to the making of
uniforms, the raw materials for which were supplied by the Army Clothing
Department. The garments, on completion, were taken over by that
Department, ordinary rates being paid for the work, the men receiving a
proportionate remuneration.

The Advanced School of Motor Engineering, opened at Vevey by Lieut.
Wallis in March, 1917, owed its origin to the success of the elementary
motor class founded by that officer at Mürren. It was, further, made
possible by the splendid generosity of the well-known firms of Peter
Cailler, Kohler and Co., Messrs. Nestlé and Co., and other Swiss firms
in the Jura, surplus machinery, moreover, being given or lent by Messrs.
Picard and Pictet, Geneva, and Messrs. Müller and Co., Lausanne, and

The expenses of the School, beyond the money gifts made to Lieut. Wallis
for that purpose, were met by the "B.L.R.C.O." and the Central P. of W.
Committee, until October, 1917. From that date, the expenses were
guaranteed by the management of the "Auto-Car," London, who further
provided material and machinery, and whose keen interest in the
enterprise was of inestimable value.

The training, which included electrical instruction in connection with
motor-car work, was of a thoroughly practical nature, and should be of
great value to the men later; as also the Metal Work Class, opened in
connection with the Vevey School at Château d'Oex, and instructed by a
skilled Interned, Chief Petty Officer Harpe. In this class, various
kinds of sheet metal work, welding, and brazing, were taught with great

All the Central Schools were well established and in thorough working
order when I left Switzerland in May, 1918. Both instructors and men
showed great interest in the work, and were ably supervised by Major
Charley and Lieut. Wallis—the latter since promoted to Captain—and I had
every reason to be satisfied with the results.

In August, 1918, it was decided to close down the Meiringen and Seebourg
Centres, and concentrate the classes at Vevey, in the workshops
previously occupied by French Interned. These premises were taken over
by the "B.R.C.S.," London, with their machines, tools, fittings, etc.,
and the transfer was made in September and October. These workshops,
known as "B.I.T.S." (British Interned Technical School), were closed on
November 25, in anticipation of the repatriation of December 6, 1918,
when British Interned in Switzerland left the country.

The following figures have lately reached me, giving in detail the final
results achieved under the scheme of technical training:—

 Average number of men in training from
   December, 1917, to December, 1918                   172

 Total number of men trained                           443

 Average period of training                              5·35 months.

 Total cost of undertaking                         173,534·87 francs.

 Average expenditure per man for 443 men               391·72 francs.

The total of frs. 173,534·87 includes the "B.R.C.S.," London, outlay,
the "Auto-Car" outlay, and running expenses of the Motor School at
Vevey, and the expenses of installation of "B.I.T.S." at Vevey (about
frs. 33,000). The average cost of training would have been considerably
higher had it not been for the valuable assistance rendered by Swiss
firms in the equipment of the workshops. The installation of the
"B.I.T.S.," for instance, was comparatively inexpensive, owing to the
generosity of Messrs. Nestlé and the Anglo-Swiss Milk Company, who put
in all the electric light and extra heating free of cost.

The figures given above appear to me somewhat disappointing, as they
fall short of our original intention, which was to provide technical
instruction for 300 men at a time. That figure was never reached, owing
to an impression, held in common by the men, that regular work might
militate against their chances of repatriation. Many of them were,
therefore, loth to engage themselves for continuous instruction, and
though the impression was entirely erroneous, it was none the less
difficult of eradication, and rendered the men shy of the schools.

There is no doubt, I believe, that many of the men were, temperamentally,
incapable of making the best of their opportunities. This was more
especially the case with soldiers of the Regular Army, who were not
immediately concerned as to their status in civil life after the war. I
cannot avoid the conclusion that the fault lies in no small degree in a
system which makes no provision for the technical instruction of the
soldier whilst still serving in the ranks, and in this connection an
incident of my cadet days at Sandhurst in 1874-75 comes to mind. We
cadets were asked to give our views regarding the training of the
soldier, and I hazarded the opinion that he should be taught a trade, in
order that he might be fitted to take his place in civil life on
discharge. This view met with no encouragement, and I was informed that
"financial considerations alone would prevent the realization of any
such quixotic ideal."

Under the stress of war, the Ministry of Pensions and the "B.R.C.S.,"
London, have, in initiating a system of training in Switzerland,
Holland, and at home, done much to remedy the faults of the past, and
have awakened in the public a sense of their obligation towards the man
who is ready to give some of the best years of his life to the service
of the country. I have little doubt that it will be found necessary in
the future to give every soldier a thorough technical training during
the years of his military service, in order that he may without delay
take his place in the economic life of the country when the term of his
military service expires.



Before mentioning the arrangements made for the British Interned, I
should like to give a short sketch of the steps taken by the Churches in
Switzerland, and of Swiss regard for the spiritual welfare of the Allied
and German Interned, before the advent of the British.

I take the Roman Catholics first, as most of the Allied Interned were of
that persuasion. The "Mission Catholique," founded by Mgr. Bovet to give
moral aid to Ps. of W., engaged itself from the very first to provide,
under the direction of the "Aumônier en Chef," for the religious
requirements of the Roman Catholics. Mgr. Colliard, Bishop of Lausanne,
was appointed President of the Mission, and the Abbé Savoy, one of its
members, was charged, in collaboration with both native and Interned
priests, and with the assistance of Mgr. Gariel, Professor at the
University of Fribourg, with the duty of organizing services in the
centres of Internment.

Apart from purely spiritual efforts, the Mission also organized a series
of Conferences dealing with the geography, history, industries, and
social life of Switzerland.

Early in 1916, the Abbé, now Captain Aumônier Herbert Savoy, was
nominated Chaplain-General to the Roman Catholics, Captain Aumônier
Spahn to the Protestants, and Dr. M. Erlanger, of the "Rote Mogen David
Society," to the Jews. These appointments affected the French, Belgian,
and German Interned, the British not having as yet made their appearance
in the country.

Each centre of Internment was as far as practicable considered as
forming part of local parish organizations, and Interned priests were
also appointed to assist the Swiss in their work. The services were held
in the parish churches or chapels and oratories improvised for the
occasion. Protestants being in a minority, it was not found possible to
arrange in an adequate manner for their worship, and Captain Aumônier
Spahn could only hold a service for the men once a fortnight, the
dissemination of the Interned throughout the various cantons adding to
his difficulties. The Jews were ministered to by Grand Rabbi T.
Lewenstein at Zürich, and by Dr. M. W. Rappaport and Rabbi Jules Wolff.

The above arrangements met with little difficulty in their application,
as they simply portended an expansion of the existing religious
organizations of the country. Language offering no bar to common
worship, the addition of accommodation in church, chapel, or synagogue
was seldom necessary, and the Interned Frenchman, Belgian or German took
his place as a member of the ordinary Swiss congregation. The clergy,
too, understood the psychology of their flocks, and were not puzzled by
any new manifestations of racial characteristics.

In the case of the British, the conditions were of a different order.
Here, at once, the differences of race, religious observances, and
language became apparent, and it was evident that I should be thrown on
my own resources in providing for the spiritual welfare of our officers
and men. Château d'Oex was, I found, well served as to religious needs.
The importance of the place as a popular mountain resort for British
tourists had led to the maintenance there by the Colonial and
Continental Church Society of a resident Church of England Chaplain, the
Rev. E. Dudley Lampen, and there was also a resident Swiss Roman
Catholic priest, the Abbé Bullet. Both these gentlemen placed themselves
at my disposal for the service of the men. The Rev. A. M. Sutherland,
Minister of Trinity Presbyterian Church of Lausanne, likewise offered
himself for duty, and in due course established, at his own expense, a
chapel at Château d'Oex for the use of his military congregation.

In September, 1916, the C.C.C. Society further sent the Rev. Isaac
Hutchinson from England to assist Mr. Lampen, and these gentlemen
performed all the duties connected with the Anglican Church at Château
d'Oex, Rougemont and Rossinières, until their relief in 1917, when Army
Chaplains were appointed by the Chaplain-General for duty in Switzerland.

At Leysin Church of England services were conducted by the resident
Chaplain, the Rev. Mr. Tisdale, who also rendered valuable assistance in
his relations with the British Catholics, when as yet no English-speaking
priest visited the place.

As regards his military flock, the Abbé Bullet was much handicapped by
his imperfect knowledge of English, and I found it necessary, therefore,
to make other arrangements, and sought for assistance elsewhere. At this
juncture I was brought into touch with the Rev. Father D. V. Rowan,
Professor of Exegesis at the University of Fribourg. This town is well
known throughout the Catholic world as a seat of learning, and a centre
for theological study. For decades past British students have been
attracted to its schools, and British professors have long been engaged
there at the university and religious institutions. Father Rowan,
hearing of my difficulties, at once came forward with the suggestion
that he and his British confrères of Fribourg should take it in turn to
visit the camps, and thus supplement the work of the local priests. This
system was at once adopted and pursued until the winter of 1916-17, when
two Fribourg priests, Fathers W. J. Neville and D. Fahey, were allocated
duties at Château d'Oex and Mürren as resident Incumbents, a change
which gave much satisfaction to them, as they had found the weekly
journeys to and from Fribourg extremely trying during the winter months.
It was also equally pleasurable to the men to have their spiritual
advisers with them at all times.

The arrangements thus inaugurated continued without further adjustment
till early in 1917, when, owing to increased numbers of British
Interned, it was thought desirable to transfer part of the duties to
trained Army Chaplains. The Rev. A. H. Sewell, Army Chaplain 2nd Class,
of the Church of England, was appointed to Château d'Oex in January,
1917; and in the course of that year four additional Army Chaplains,—two
Church of England, two Presbyterian,—were sent out from England to the
various camps, but it was not till early in 1918 that a Roman Catholic
Army Chaplain, Dom Chapman, replaced the Rev. Father Neville at Château
d'Oex, on the latter receiving his commission and proceeding to France.
Apart from this change, the arrangements for the Roman Catholics
remained as before. With the arrival in Switzerland of the Rev. A. H.
Sewell, who was entrusted with the duty of co-ordinating spiritual
effort, the pastoral work gradually assumed the aspect to which the men
were accustomed, thereby greatly adding to the comfort of the camps.

I feel bound, however, to pay a tribute to the Rev. E. Dudley Lampen,
the Rev. A. Sutherland, the Rev. D. Matheson, M.A., and the Rev. Fathers
Rowan, Neville, and Fahey, who did valiant work, and filled the breach,
in the absence of the regular Army Chaplains, whose services were at the
time required in more important spheres of labour. That they had a
difficult task, and one that can only be appreciated by those who were
intimately concerned with the daily life of the camps, goes without
saying; but it was met in a hopeful spirit, and in some cases with
considerable success. They were called upon to deal with soldiers who
were sick at heart, and suffering from the harsh treatment of a long
captivity, and who had been starved in mind and body, as a result of
which they were physically and mentally debilitated, suspicious of their
fellow-men, and without much sense of proportion. Moreover, the system
adopted in the camps in Germany was calculated to weaken the influence
of the N.C.O., and with it had come a relaxation of discipline and a
levelling down all round.

The psychology of officers and men during the first year of their
internment is one very difficult to analyse. I say expressly the first
year, because at the end of that period the building-up process, as
affecting both the physical and mental conditions of all ranks, had made
headway, and new men were being evolved. After that period the problem
had changed, fairly normal conditions had been re-established, and the
British soldier of the type known to us all had emerged, differing no
doubt from, but approximating to, our previous conception of him.

One of our temporary Presbyterian Chaplains, who gave his services
entirely to the men during the critical period of the internment,—that
of 1916,—and whose success amongst them was of a high order, has
recently written to me of his experiences, which, from the point of view
of that difficult question, "the psychology of the men," appear to me of
special interest. I cannot do better than refer to his letters on the
subject. He writes:—

 I am not yet certain how to state the psychology of the life there (in
 the camp), nor how to justly analyze the why and wherefore of affairs
 as lived out by the men, but in case it may be a faint glimmer of the
 thing, may I say one or two things that impressed me.

 In the more moral and spiritual region of the men's psychology I found
 that, given your purpose in being kind to them was on the basis of
 their humanity, and not to exploit them for your religious or Church
 ends, but desire to give them a lift in every way, they had a great
 respect for your sympathy and appreciation, and looked on that which R.
 L. Stevenson had so much of as evidence of the "true blue piety." Yes,
 just kind deeds and words, hoping the best for them amid their failings
 and faults, and doing the best for them in spite of these, and speaking
 the very best things in spite of these.

 The work you gave me to do among the men in the form of religious
 services I came to feel could not compete in the influence over the men
 just like the human fellowship; for example, at the farewell one Tommy
 rose and said: "He was one we could go to in our joys and sorrows, and
 we found him give us his confidence and friendship, and some of us got
 it as much when we were bad boys in prison." That reveals a very
 striking side of the men, their estimate of the moral values of life.

 I don't know if I can trouble you with my own spiritual work when I say
 that I adopted with the men a quite new line for me, which came as a
 kind of inspiration when I saw them and their natures. Instead of the
 usual line in our Church life of putting pressure on the men to become
 religious, or fall in with our ideas of religion, I represented my work
 among them in its humblest forms of service as a divine power that was
 seeking to help them….

 How little we ministers reveal the true Master, and how much we
 camouflage Him, and also how much more religious the men are than we
 think. At Mürren, when Mr. Hobday was presiding with about 200 men on a
 Sunday night, I went over the last week of our Lord's life, and
 suddenly I realized that the events of conflict with unscrupulous
 enemies looked very like the experiences that the men passed through,
 and when I said, "Men, I feel as if I was describing the path you trod
 in Germany," there was a distinct approval…. I don't know if you have
 read the poem by Francis Thompson, called "The Hound of Heaven," well,
 it describes the pursuing of love, and I found _that_ the best way
 to win the men. You could woo them into doing anything if you cared for
 them and they knew it.

 I discovered also that the men have no real grievance against the
 Bible, but against the manner of its presentation, and if we would only
 be more human we would get them interested. I came to the conclusion
 that the men had more religion in them than I believed. They were so
 unselfish and considerate of each other, and they loved and idealized
 their homes and their children, and I also realized that though they
 had formed some bad habits, say, drinking too much, there was a great
 deal of it the result of their abnormal condition of mind, and perhaps
 we lay too much emphasis on these outward sins, and far too little on
 the inner faults of spirit.

 You will be pleased to hear that I never felt disturbed about their
 swearing, as I seldom heard it. They were a singularly high type, I
 thought. Low talk I never heard, and I mixed about with them and
 conversed with them in quite a human way, and I would have come across
 it if it existed.

 In the moral region of the men's psychology I must refer to the subject
 of swearing, of which a Chaplain at the front says: "He heard enough to
 keep his hair on end for the rest of his life." This is a strange
 experience, and I have no doubt he is not exaggerating, but I want to
 tell you a fact, that neither I nor … ever in all our experience heard
 even the mildest swearing, nor ever had to blush over low talk; and
 what … said is just my own experience that in their intercourse with
 us, at our own table, where some of them were every week, we found them
 behave like gentlemen. I am not inclined to explain this by the fact
 that having our confidences these men were loyal to our friendship. It
 may be in some measure the reason, but I think it is owing to the fact
 that those men came out of a terrible experience, an agony of soul,
 that left its impression; in fact, they had, in religious language,
 seen the face of God, and could never be the same again.

 When I had it said to me that my influence over the men had been
 accounted for by my sympathy with socialistic principles, I felt it
 keenly, for it was neither true of me nor of the men I met. I was very
 pleased to discover not the slightest inclination among the mass of the
 men of any revolt against law and order, or discipline, when justly
 administered, and the only instances of a spirit of revolt were when
 the discipline revealed, as it did only very rarely, I confess, a
 desire to hit the actor and not the act, or when it in fact seemed
 revenge or anger against a particular man. I found, indeed, a very
 general acquiescence in military orders, when the commands came from
 officers that the men loved and trusted and who treated them as men,
 with minds and feelings. That certainly could not be called socialistic
 principles. The "Beloved Colonel" or Captain in the British Army is a
 man the men continue to respect, and would follow to the death in the
 path of duty.

 What they (the men) want first of all is the human touch, the assurance
 of comradeship, and only when human friendship has done its work
 spiritual talk may follow—and perhaps not even then unless there is
 abundance of kindly actions to your credit. The soldier quickly detects
 if the dominant idea of the Padre is to bring glory to his Church, and
 is not passion for doing good to all irrespective of their communion.
 Among soldiers the religion without label is the most respected. It is
 a distinct advantage to value at a minimum the petty divisions of the
 ecclesiastical fold.

The psychology of Ps. of W. and of the Interned has also been the
special study of certain well-known Swiss doctors, amongst others, Dr.
Clement (Fribourg), Dr. A. L. Vischer (Bâle), and Professor Dr. Robert
Bing. Their views have been well summarized by Major Edouard Favre in
his work, "L'Internement en Suisse des Prisonniers de Guerre, Malades ou
Blessés, 1917," and may be briefly stated as follows:—

The fundamental causes acting on Prisoners of War are loss of liberty,
the herding together of large numbers, the unknown duration of
captivity. They suffer from want of space, the impossibility of
isolating themselves from their fellows, the constant expectation in
which they live whilst awaiting letters or parcels, and the ever
recurrent disappointments connected therewith; and all these sufferings
are accentuated by that important factor, ignorance of the duration of

At the outset the prisoners seek in febrile activity a release from all
these sufferings, which are aggravated by the memories of horrors lived
through, apprehensions regarding the future, and nostalgia for country
and relatives. Schools, theatrical performances, and concerts are
organized; but gradually the exterior world effaces itself and
disappears, and the prisoners live in a shadow land, without colour or
life. Sensations are blunted, and give place to apathy, and the events
of the war are followed with a mediocre interest.

Such is the _milieu_ in which neurasthenia develops, well marked in
some, less so in others, but common to all those who have passed six
months in captivity behind wire barriers, and reaching a special
intensity amongst, roughly speaking, 10 per cent. of the captives. First
of all, an exaggerated irritability manifests itself, and the least
opposition becomes insupportable. Quarrels are frequent. Then
intellectual concentration becomes difficult, and such as renders close
attention to a few pages of a book impossible. In such cases the
prisoner often deliberately gives up his promenades, and prefers to
remain quiescent.

A phenomenon of constant occurrence is the loss of memory, and inability
to recall names of persons or of localities, specially those connected
with memories anterior to the war. A Sergt.-Major, for instance, forgot
the name of the Colonel who commanded his regiment since 1913, and has
been unable to recall it up to the present. Several Interned cannot
remember the Christian names of their fathers, mothers, and other near
relatives. Another cannot recall the name of his village. Such cases are
numerous even amongst those who have been in Switzerland for eighteen

As a symptom of a secondary nature, insomnia may be mentioned, though
this varies. It may play a rôle in one camp, and not in another.

Some prisoners complain of a loss of sight, and many become extremely
suspicious and defiant. All have a marked tendency to regard the
ordinary events of their daily life from a distorted point of view. The
chief sufferers become silent for three or four days at a time, and are
plunged in a sort of torpor. Once this state is established, it becomes
in general stationary, and does not diminish as long as the captivity

The horrible monotony, combined with a succession of petty incidents,
tends to render the captives small in spirit and egoistic to a degree.
They are no longer capable of any deep feeling, and cannot vibrate to
the higher emotions. Suspicion is a marked characteristic. Some of the
Interned could only see in the disinterested services of one of the
greatest of Swiss surgeons the desire to experiment on interesting
material. They compared themselves to "lapins de laboratoire."

Outside these symptoms, the impression conveyed by many of the Interned
is that of personalities profoundly changed. Their relatives find them
altered out of recognition. A distinguished British General of forty
years' service who visited his compatriots in Switzerland made the
remark, "I thought I knew all there was to be known of British officers
and men. I must confess I no longer understand my Interned comrades
after their experience as 'Ps. of W.' in Germany."

Dr. Clement remarked that under the changed conditions due to internment
in Switzerland, psychical troubles would, it was hoped, rapidly cease to
exist, but this did not prove to be the case. This optimism was only
justified in a certain measure. Symptoms which persist for a long time,
and only gradually disappear, are, a mental instability and a want of
power of concentration. The British Interned designate this state by the
characteristic expression, "difficulty to settle down."

Troubles of memory are extremely frequent even amongst those who have
been a long time in Switzerland, and this symptom differentiates itself
from other neurasthenic manifestations by the fact that the sufferer is
conscious of his state.

Amongst the intellectuals, an excessive impressionability manifests
itself. Despite themselves, they misinterpret a gesture, a play of
feature, a tone of voice, a silence even. Sometimes a certain
misanthropy has been noticed amongst the Interned, which tends to a
desire for that solitude of which they have been so long deprived. One
of them explained this by saying: "It is not a dislike of our fellows,
but simply the absence of all pleasure, and perhaps a sentiment of
discomfort at finding oneself amongst people whose condition is other
than our own."

The happy influence exercised by the visits of relatives in bringing
back the realities of life to the Interned, and in re-establishing
contact with the family, is especially dwelt upon by Swiss medical



As soon as the first contingent of officers and men were installed at
Château d'Oex, there arose the need of some place where the men could
meet in their leisure hours instead of finding attraction in the local
cafés, and in July, 1916, the Rev. A. Sutherland, in association with a
lady interested in the scheme, succeeded in finding suitable quarters
where the men might foregather, much to my own and Colonel G.
Vansittart's ("S.B.O.") satisfaction. Within a few days, with the
assistance of the "World's Alliance of the Y.M.C.A." at Geneva, the
"B.L.R.C.O." at Berne, the "Patriotic League" at Lausanne, and private
friends, the necessary funds for installation, rent, etc., were
provided. In this Home, generally known as the "Foyer," the men were
able to write, read newspapers and books, listen to music, join in
debates, and smoke. It was, moreover, strictly non-sectarian, and
welcomed Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Presbyterians alike to join in
the comfort and enjoyment offered. In the long run the very popularity
of the Home was its undoing, the accommodation being unequal to the
strain put upon it. When, therefore, in October, 1916, Sir Starr
Jameson, on behalf of the "B.R.C.S.," London, offered to establish a
large hut in the camp, to be staffed by a section of V.A.Ds., I gladly
accepted the offer. I afterwards learned that we were indebted for the
gift to Mr. (now Sir William) Cresswell Gray, of West Hartlepool.

The "Gray" Hut was built during the winter 1916-17 under the supervision
of Mr. Middleton Jameson (brother of Sir Starr), who came out to
Switzerland expressly for the purpose, and was opened by Lady Rumbold in
January, 1917.

In the opening speech by Lady Rumbold there occurred the following
words: "Now that this Red Cross Hut has been built, it will replace the
Foyer which has been found too small for the needs of the increasing
numbers of British Interned at Château d'Oex. I cannot let this occasion
pass without paying a tribute to the initiative of Mr. Sutherland and
his friends who inaugurated the Foyer and carried it on for the benefit
of the men. Now that the Foyer has ceased to exist as such, Mr.
Sutherland is resuming his work at Lausanne. I am convinced that his
departure will be greatly regretted by many."

With the closure of the Foyer, and the imminent arrival of Military
Chaplains to take up duty at the camps, Mr. Sutherland decided to return
to his congregation at Lausanne, carrying with him the warm regard and
affection of large numbers of the men.

The "Gray" Hut had a prosperous and useful career; and as canteen, club,
and social centre, fulfilled, I would fain believe, the intentions of
its generous donor. On the termination of the Internment, in December,
1918, the hut, I understand, was formally presented by the Commandant,
Miss Murray, to the "Conseil Communal"—a brass tablet recording the fact
that it was handed over by the "B.R.C.S.," London, in accordance with
the wishes of the donor. It is to be used by the Swiss for their
"Colonie des Vacances."

We were indebted to two English ladies, Miss Annan and Miss Metcalfe,
for the establishment of Homes for the men at Rougemont and Rossinières.
These ladies provided for the initial outlay, rent, and running
expenses, and must have drawn largely on their own financial resources,
besides carrying out all executive work connected with the Homes, and,
to use an Eastern hyperbole, they both "fathered and mothered" the men.
Miss Annan organized basket-making and fancy work classes, which, _pro
tem._, gave the men occupation, and put money into their pockets. I
cannot lay too much stress on the practical and idealistic nature of the
work accomplished by these two ladies and their friends.

At the same time the National Council of the "Y.M.C.A.," realizing that
the benefits they could provide would be particularly acceptable to
British soldiers arriving from Germany, made proposals to me for the
establishment of their work at Mürren, and so it came to pass that, when
the second contingent of Interned arrived at that mountain resort, in
August, 1916, they were greeted by two representatives of the "Y.M.C.A."
National Council, in the persons of Mr. Alfred Brauen and Mr. R. I.
Whitwell, who had already secured and opened comfortable quarters in the
Hôtel Jungfrau for the use of the men. Here the usual refreshments and
pastimes were provided, and made available to all.

These gentlemen now made a tour of the camps, and, at my request, turned
their attention to Leysin, where the need of a social centre for the men
had made itself greatly felt. As a result of this tour and the
recommendations made by Mr. Whitwell, Lord Tavistock very generously
offered to build a hut to meet requirements there. The hut was
constructed on Mr. Whitwell's designs, and was opened by him in
February, 1917. It was well equipped with workshop, billiard table,
library, etc., and under the leadership of Mr. J. G. Griffiths, and
later of Mr. S. K. Morrison, proved most successful. The influence,
disciplinary and moral, of the "Y.M.C.A." work at Leysin was a
revelation to me, and was beyond praise.

A lady to whom the British at Leysin owe a debt of gratitude was Mrs.
Anderton, of Vevey. All schemes for the welfare of the Interned received
her support, but the sick at Leysin were the object of her predilection,
and her generosity was unbounded. In recognition of her numerous
charities the Holy See conferred on her in April, 1919, the Pontifical
Cross, _pro Ecclesia et Pontifice_, which was transmitted to her by Mgr.
Maglione, the successor of Mgr. Marchetti at Berne.

Mr. Whitwell subsequently laid plans for work on a more comprehensive
scale at Mürren, to give effect to which the National Council of the
"Y.M.C.A." erected a splendid hut, the finest of the kind ever seen in
Switzerland, and the highest in the world, it being at an altitude of
1,630 metres.

The inauguration ceremony occasioned considerable interest in the
Bernese Oberland, and attracted visitors from all parts of the country.
Lady Rumbold, in opening the hut, mentioned it as having been erected
for the British Interned as a mark of gratitude for their services, and
I had the pleasure of thanking the "Y.M.C.A." for their warm-hearted
regard for our soldiers.

This "Y.M.C.A." hut, equipped with canteen, cinema, billiard and
bagatelle tables, stage, library, "quiet" room, lantern for lectures,
etc., was of the most up-to-date kind, and round it revolved the social
life of Mürren. An Entertainment Committee was organized, and weekly
concerts were held. The theatrical company, composed of officers and
men, had a successful career both at Mürren and Interlaken, and drew
large houses, in which figured many visitors from Berne and elsewhere.
Popular lectures, mock trials, and a General Election, roused great
interest; and various classes for fretwork, basket-making, embroidery,
and languages, were established. Agriculture was not forgotten, a large
piece of land being leased for market gardening. Here scores of men
found agreeable occupation, and produce was raised which assisted in
supplying the garrison during the winter months.

In January, 1917, Mr. J. W. Hobday was appointed Secretary of the
"Y.M.C.A." in Switzerland, and co-operated with Mr. Whitwell, whose
place he filled at a later date, when that gentleman returned to England.

When Interlaken was opened as a British Camp, Mr. Hobday installed a
canteen, under the direction of Mr. and Mrs. R. Hughes, in one of the
best hotels of the place, to which was adjoined a concert hall, with the
finest decorated interior within a large radius. Here, as elsewhere in
all "Y.M.C.A." centres, the daily arrival of British and Colonial
newspapers kept the men in touch with the outside world, and concerts,
sing-songs, lectures, tennis, and billiards, gave them plenty of
amusement and recreation.

At Meiringen the "Y.M.C.A." acquired the local "Casino," which was
admirably adapted for its purpose, and to it Mr. John Mahler, J.P., and
the Rev. D. Dowling devoted much of their time and energies. The winter
of 1917-18 was very severe, but the "Y.M.C.A." made a point of keeping
their quarters well warmed, thus adding to the comfort and health of the

By the courtesy of the "Châlet" authorities, and of Mrs. Mitchell of
Seebourg, near Lucerne, a large hall was placed at the service of the
men, where, likewise, the "Y.M.C.A." opened a "Home" under the
experienced leadership of Miss Leckie. Thanks to her sympathetic
efforts, and the assistance given by Mr. and Mrs. W. Cecil Stronge, the
local clergy, and Mrs. Hauser, of the Schweizerhof Hotel, a fine piece
of work was performed here.

Previous to the opening of this hall, Mrs. Hauser (English by birth, and
the wife of the proprietor of the Schweizerhof Hotel of Lucerne) had,
together with her husband, placed at the disposal of British Interned a
room in their hotel, which served all the purposes of a club. This lady
also acted as visitor to those in hospital, and supplied them with
hospital comforts, both on her own behalf and, later, on that of the
"B.L.R.C.O.," whose representative she became. Her generosity and
untiring service were of great value.

At Couvet in the Canton of Neuchâtel, our men were indebted to Monsieur
Pierre Dubied, a Swiss gentleman, for a fine hall, where the "Y.M.C.A."
were installed in the interests of a British working party who were
employed in cutting fuel during the summer of 1918. Mme Dubied and her
friends gave unstinted help, and endeared themselves to the men.

In connection with the Motor Classes at Vevey, Colonel A. K. Gillespie
founded the "Soldiers' Club," which, later on, was amalgamated with the
"Y.M.C.A.," who had taken up their quarters in the excellent premises of
the Swiss "Y.M.C.A." (Union Chrétienne des Jeunes Gens), on the
Boulevard St. Martin, and proved a happy meeting place for social
intercourse, concerts, and sports. I may mention that Colonel
Gillespie's name has become a household word to the British Interned in
Switzerland, owing to his association with the "B.L.R.C.O.," the
"Soldiers' Club," and the "Bureau de Secours aux Prisonniers de Guerre."

At Gunten, on the Lake of Thoune, and in connection with the Carpet
Workshops, Miss Martin and the late Mrs. Cooke Daniels opened a much
appreciated club for the use of the British, French, and Belgian
Interned; and Miss Simpkin, of Manor Farm, also established a tea-room
at Interlaken, which proved of great service to the men passing to and
from Mürren.

I think I have said enough to show how active was the part taken by the
"Y.M.C.A." and others in Switzerland, and how beneficent were their
labours. The Association appears to me more than well served by its
staff, and evidently has the happy faculty of choosing the right man for
the right place. Nothing could have been better, for instance, than
their choice of Mr. Whitwell and Mr. Hobday,—the former for his
large-heartedness, the latter for his administrative and executive

In anticipation of the arrival of the first contingent of "Ps. of W." in
May, 1916, the wives of several of the officers had found their way to
Switzerland, and many others followed as soon as they heard of the
arrival of their husbands at Château d'Oex. It struck me as eminently
desirable that N.C.Os. and men should also, if feasible, have an
opportunity of seeing their wives or members of their families, and I
accordingly addressed myself to the War Office, in the hope that
arrangements in this sense might be made. My hopes were realized later
through the kind initiative of Lord Northcliffe, who had seen the camp
at Mürren, and much approved of the idea. Thanks to his lively interest
in the question, Lord Northcliffe, by means of _The Times_, collected
sufficient funds, and caused steps to be taken for providing the
necessary machinery for the care of the women whilst in transit and
during their visit to Switzerland.

The arrangements in England were entrusted to Mr. Harold Wilkins, on
behalf of the "C.P. of W.C.," and after examination of local conditions
by Mr. (now Sir Ellis) Hume-Williams, preparations were made for the
despatch of parties of sixteen to twenty women under the guardianship of
"chaperones," for a fortnight's visit at the camps. The Young Women's
Christian Association very kindly cooperated with the "C.P. of W.C." by
leasing a house in Bedford Square as a hostel where the women were
assembled and lodged before departure. On arrival at the camps, they
were taken charge of by an Interned officer, by whom all arrangements
regarding finance, accommodation, and catering were made.

The first conducted party of women reached Château d'Oex in September,
1916, and their reception by the Swiss was as thoughtful and considerate
as in the case of the men themselves. It was a comfort to hear a wife,
when sympathized with for having only a fourteen days' visit, reply:
"Yes, but I would have come if only for an hour"; and another: "The
bairns think that I have gone to fetch their daddy home. I just let them
think it."

The arrival of the first party at Mürren was memorable as symbolizing a
return to home life, and the men, one and all, turned out to demonstrate
in honour of the event. An excited crowd of soldiers, armed with every
conceivable instrument of noise, amongst which figured numberless cattle
bells requisitioned from the peasants far and near, met the women at the
railway station, and escorted them by the light of torches to their
hotels. The visit must have passed like a dream, for Mürren remained _en
fête_ during the whole fortnight, and our countrywomen had the time of
their lives.

From time to time, and not infrequently, the movement to and from
Switzerland was interrupted owing to the exigencies of the military
situation in France, but in all not less than 600 wives and mothers were
privileged to visit their husbands and sons in Switzerland. I have often
been asked by people who evidently bore in mind the cost of the
operation, whether the visits were a success. The financial records of
the "B.R.C.S.," London, for the year ending October, 1917, show that
£12,187 were received from the public as donations to the fund for
"relatives' visits." The records for 1918 are not yet published, but I
am given to understand that the total expenditure will amount
approximately to £15,000, thus averaging £25 per visitor, a reasonable
figure when war-time conditions are envisaged.

I think we have only to place ourselves in the position of the Interned
to realize what such visits must have been to them. To my mind public
sentiment did not err in responding so graciously to the special appeal
made by Lord Northcliffe for funds to enable him to deal with this
question, and in doing so struck a note which vibrated in sympathy with
the hearts and souls of their Interned countrymen in Switzerland. Major
Edouard Favre, in his official publication, "L'Internement en Suisse,
1917," gives the Swiss view of these visits. He writes: "We cannot
sufficiently insist on the happy influence exercised by the visits of
relatives. By this means a living contact with the family, that basis of
social life, is re-established."

In the field of sport, the men soon realized that they were in the midst
of a sporting community, and football, lawn tennis, boxing, skating,
ski-ing, and ice-hockey, were freely indulged in according to the
season. Football was especially popular, many matches being played
against Swiss and Allied clubs. The former were generally too strong for
our men, who were never really fit enough to compete with the best Swiss
teams. Boxing also was popular, the Swiss sending some of their best
amateurs to take part in the tournaments held at Château d'Oex. The
spirit was willing—for our men were ever ready to meet the Swiss—but the
flesh was weak, and here again the condition of our men told against

As regards ice-hockey, the Canadians showed excellent form, and
practically carried everything before them. They appeared to me to be
the equal of the best teams the Swiss could put into the field. In the
realm of lawn tennis, some of the best players were handicapped by
wounds and other disabilities, and therefore unable to make a mark in
the championship games. It is of interest to record, however, that one
of the members of the British Legation at Berne (not an Interned
officer), who played under the name of "Marcel," won the International
Swiss Championship for the third year in succession, and in so doing
became entitled to a handsome cup, which bore on the shield the names of
Wilding, Decugis, and others who had won the championship in previous

Some of our Interned gymnasts took part at a Swiss Military Tournament
at Neuchâtel, at which officers and men of the Swiss Army and our Allied
comrades competed. Our success was practically limited to the bayonet
competition, where we beat all comers in the team matches, and took the
first and many other prizes for individual fighting. Our Belgian and
French Allies distinguished themselves with foil and sabre, and, as some
of them had been fencing professors before the war, they held their own
with success against the best Swiss exponents of the art.

As regards subjects theatrical and musical, the men at Château d'Oex
formed a Variety Company to give concerts, with the laudable ambition of
building a châlet as an annexe to the Children's Convalescent Home of
the region, as a remembrance of the time spent there by British
soldiers. How far they were successful in their purpose I have not
heard, but I doubt whether they were able to achieve their full
intention. Château d'Oex also boasted an amateur theatrical company,
recruited from amongst officers and men. As a side show, they were able
to count on a foursome of Scottish dancers, whose services were in great
request for charity bazaars at Geneva, Montreux, Bâle, Lausanne, etc.
They invariably brought down the house, and made themselves the life and
soul of any entertainment at which they assisted. Their kilts, sporrans,
etc., and bearing, were a never-ending joy to the spectators.

A small orchestra, with brass and stringed instruments, and which played
twice a week, was started by Mr. Sutherland at the Foyer. This formed
the nucleus of a band afterwards organized by the "S.B.O."

Mürren developed on similar lines. In one respect, however, it was more
fortunate than Château d'Oex in having available a larger proportion of
musicians, and was able, therefore, to create a very useful band, which
added notably to the amenities of its social life. I remember well the
astonishment of Colonel Hauser and his Staff on the occasion of a visit
of inspection, when he was entertained by the officers, to find an
orchestra of stringed instruments discoursing music during dinner, the
procedure followed being identical with that of a Line Regiment at home.

I must not omit to mention that the Mürren foursome of Scottish dancers
met with the same success in the Bernese Oberland as that of Château
d'Oex in the Cantons of Vaud and Geneva. I recall with special pleasure
the furore they created amongst the Bernese public on the occasion of a
bazaar for the disposal of the work of the Interned (_vide_ Chapter XIV).

Under the heading of "Pastimes," I may mention the publication by the
Interned of a paper called the "B.I.M." (British Interned, Mürren).
Major Charley started this paper in June, 1917, in connection with a
printing press installed at Mürren, with the financial assistance of the
"B.L.R.C.O." The management and editorship was undertaken by Lieut.
Hubbs, 4th C.M.R., and later by Lieut. Evans. It concerned itself almost
entirely with the doings of the Mürren garrison until January, 1918,
when it was converted into a magazine for the Interned in general, and
was then printed at Vevey, under the supervision of Captain Button,
Oxford L.I. The paper appeared monthly until September, 1918, and
bi-monthly up to October 29, 1918—its last issue. Major Charley, writing
to me on the subject, states that, compared with the magazine published
by French Interned, "it was rather a poor effort." It was, however, of
interest to our men, and the effort was not wasted.

Thus were spent the leisure hours of the men in camp life in Switzerland.



The nucleus proper of Berne (the old mediæval town) is situate on a
promontory running between two arms of the River Aare, high above it,
however, and connected on three sides, by long-spanned bridges, to the
newer outlying portions of the town, where are to be found the more
modern residential quarters. Along the southern side of the promontory,
facing a splendid view of the Bernese Alps in the distance, with the
river running below in the immediate foreground, stretch the handsome
buildings of the Federal Palace and other Government offices, flanked on
either side by the two most modern hotels, the Bellevue Palace and the
Bernerhof, where, when not occupying private residences, members of the
Diplomatic Corps and Bernese society congregate. Further along the
promontory, beyond the Kirchenfeld Bridge, runs one of the most
interesting old streets of Berne, a relic of the Middle Ages, the Rue
des Gentilshommes, where many of the houses date back to the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries, and several, I believe, even to the
fifteenth. This street, in times gone by, was the residential quarter of
the old Bernese noblesse, and walking down now under the old arcades,
past the Cathedral Square and Terrace, one can still see the dates and
emblazoned arms indicating when such and such a house was occupied by
the d'Erlachs, the de Wattenwyls, or some other illustrious family.
Indeed, many delightful hours can be spent evoking, and peopling with
old world silhouettes, the now deserted street, where only stone and
beam remain to tell the tale. The very silence, perchance, induces one
to note the care evinced in the preservation of every old house, sign,
knocker, and quaint bell, evidence of the feeling in which the Bernese
hold their departed glories and traditions. The same families still
inhabit many of these old houses, but gradually the advantages offered
by the more open and modern residential quarters are drawing them
slowly, but surely, away.

In matters artistic, especially musical, Berne, though small in
comparison, offers many of the advantages of larger capitals. It
possesses a fine concert hall and a good theatre, visited, especially
during the war, by the best European as well as Swiss talent. Owing to
Switzerland having maintained her neutrality, and being situated
geographically at the very centre of the main belligerent countries, and
therefore easily accessible from these, she has become, par excellence,
the focus of artistic as well as other propaganda from all quarters.

To begin with the most popular form of artistic propaganda, the cinemas
presented films of the war in an ever increasing number, the Germans
making great use of this means of impressing the public, but sometimes
with a result the reverse of that which they had intended. In this
connection the _Moewe_ film, given all over Switzerland, and portraying
the exploits of that pirate ship in sinking numbers of British and
Allied vessels, may be mentioned. This was one long succession of views
of merchantment and beautiful sailing vessels riding the waves, to be
seen the next moment struck, and slowly disappearing beneath the
surface. The most revolting part, however, of an altogether revolting
film, was the brutality and delight evinced by the crew of the _Moewe_,
who continued their sports and dancing in sight of their drowning
victims. If the Germans hoped to impress the Swiss by their prowess and
merciless inhumanity, or by showing them how easy a thing it was to
accomplish the starvation of the Allies, and especially Great Britain,
they utterly failed in their aim, for the public in general, mostly
Swiss, was horrified at the sight of the destruction of so much
constructive human endeavour, and, above all, at the brutality and
disregard evinced towards the unfortunate crews of the doomed or sunken
vessels. All over Switzerland the impression conveyed in the main by
this film was one of disgust and horror, and comment bore more than all
else on the entire absence of anything to indicate so much as the
slightest endeavour to save human life. In a word, the Germans could not
have chosen a subject more unfavourable to themselves, or done better
propaganda work in favour of the Allies, than by exhibiting their
_Moewe_ film.

When, later, the British _Battle of the Somme_ film was given in Berne,
in 1916, in the huge Concert Hall of the Casino, the contrast in the
spirit of the whole performance was all the more noticeable when the
feelings of horror evoked by the _Moewe_ performance are recalled to
mind. Amongst other films, the remembrance of which stands out, the
_Champagne_, the Italian _Izonzo_, the _Tank_, and _England's Effort_,
all of which were very fine productions, may be noted.

As regards painting, not many exhibitions took place, owing mainly,
presumably, to the ever increasing difficulties of transport. During
1916, however, the Society of Belgian Artists sent a number of paintings
done at the Front; and the French held an exhibition of old engravings
and woodcuts. In 1917 the Musée du Luxembourg organized a magnificent
collection of about 200 pictures of the "chefs-d'œuvre" of the École de
Barbizon, which represented most of the leaders of this great school:
Corot, Cézanne, Daubigny, Degas, Monet, Manet, Millet, and many others.
This exhibition was opened at the Musée d'Art in Geneva, and created a
good deal of stir, and when I left Berne it was just about to be
transferred to that place. Another exhibition of interest was that of
the works of Franz Hodler, the great Swiss painter, one of whose
canvasses fetched in America, it is said, the enormous sum of frs.

It was, however, in matters musical that Berne offered the greatest
artistic enjoyment. Not only were a series of concerts given by the
"Liedertafel" and "Cäcilien Verein" and the Berne "Stadt Orchestra,"
which, in the winter of 1917, under the conductorship of M. Brun, gave
excellent interpretations of the complete nine Symphonies of Beethoven,
but we also had a visit from the famous "Orchestre du Conservatoire de
Paris," as well as recitals by Risler, Louis Vierne and others. With
reference to the visit of the "Orchestre du Conservatoire de Paris," a
rather amusing incident occurred, typical of the spirit of war that had
so insidiously, during forty years of military preparation, made its way
into the very heart of intellectual and artistic Germany, and even
Austria, prostituting these, also, to the ends of "Deutschland über
Alles." The French Orchestra had, for some time past, announced their
arrival for a certain date, together with their programme, when
suddenly, a few days before the event, which was creating a good deal of
interest, Weingärtner, with his Philharmonic Orchestra of Vienna,
advertised a concert to take place just three days prior to the French
performance, and with an almost identical programme. This naturally
created excitement, but, judging by the overflowing hall and tremendous
enthusiasm displayed at the French concert, left the palm of victory in
the hands of the French musicians. In a word, the Germano-Austrian
artistic tours in Switzerland were throughout marked by a competitive
spirit, and every detail of them was, I understand, arranged under the
ægis of high German officials.

Many were the artists of European renown who visited Berne during the
war: Mesdames Réjane, Leblanc Maeterlinck, the Russian dancer, Nijinski,
as well as those of the Central Empires, such as Moïssi (who gave
"Hamlet"), Nikish, and others.

Of all artistic enjoyments, however, two series of operatic and dramatic
performances remain pre-eminent: the Wagnerian series of operas given by
a Swiss company, and the series of classic and romantic drama presented
by members of the "Comédie Française" of Paris. The vocal rendering of
the Wagner operas could scarcely have been excelled. Herr Rudolph Jung,
a young Swiss tenor, interpreted in turn Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Tristan,
Hans Sachs, and Parsifal, and not only was his tone one of perfect
purity and beauty, but, what is rare, his physique lent itself to the
glamour of knightly armour as harmoniously as his interpretation was
satisfying mentally and emotionally. Unless I am much mistaken, this
young man is destined to become one of the world's greatest singers and
artists. He had made his the spirit of knighthood, the spirit evoked by
Wagner as opposed to the old German ideal of brute force, a fact which
appears to have entirely escaped the German public and critics. It is
always of knighthood that Wagner sings, of knights in conflict with
material forces; and if he rescued from oblivion the sagas of a dawn of
civilization, it was but as the forces against which his knights hurled
themselves in the true spirit of knightly honour and disinterested
service. Lohengrin rescues Elsa from false and deadly intrigue;
Tannhäuser, his soul from the snares of the Venusberg; and Parsifal,
proof against all false allurements, reaches the serene heights of
absolute command over himself and life.

Whether aware of it or not, Herr Jung ideally portrayed the knightly
spirit, to save which practically the whole world is fighting the
Central Empires in this terrible war. It is a trite saying: "No one is a
prophet in his own country." Assuredly Wagner was not in the way he
intended, as an apostle of World-Brotherhood; and perchance it was for
this reason that he was banned and exiled, and forced to spend most of
his life away from his native land. As to the life-work of Wagner and
the lessons it teaches—fully explained in his writings—Germany appears
merely to have extolled his evocations of the past, the nebulous
historical sagas, and to have deified these, the better, presumably, to
serve her one end and aim of conquest.

Another series of performances, well worthy of remembrance, was that
given by members of the "Comédie Française," with Madame Bartet and
Messieurs Paul Mounet and Lambert in the title rôles. These artists
scored great successes, Monsieur Lambert being recalled no less than
eight times in Berne, and sixteen in Zürich, the very centre of German
influence. With regard to these performances, it may be of interest to
note a passage in the Third Act of "Les Horaces et Curiaces." In Horace
Corneille typifies the Roman ideal, and in Curiace the Gallic. When, in
the Third Act, the two friends and brothers-in-law, chosen by their
respective States to fight each other to the death, meet in a last
farewell interview, Horace brutally says to Curiace: "Rome a besoin de
moi—je ne te connais plus." (Rome needs me—I know thee no more.) Curiace
answers with emotion: "Et moi—je te connais encore, et c'est cela qui me
tue." (And I—I know thee still, and it is that that is killing me.)
Could any words better portray the two fundamentally differing attitudes
of mind between the Roman and the Gaul, or better illustrate the brutal,
if heroic, insentience of the Roman, or the tender and no less heroic
(for the Gaul overthrows the Roman) humanity of the Gaul?

It is said that one nation, in the absence of means of contact, to a
great extent estimates other nations by what it sees of these on the
stage; and doubtless a good deal of truth lies hidden in this saying. To
those who understand both the English and French "théâtre pour rire,"
the realistic farce provides an evening's desultory laugh, the memory of
which dies with the last joke; but to foreign eyes and ears strained,
whether consciously or not, to catch traits of character, a farce may
give birth to very wrong impressions, and become a positive
international danger through false estimates of values. For this reason,
chiefly, it was with the keenest pleasure one welcomed the advent in
Switzerland of the "Comédie Française," the embodiment of all that is
best, highest, and most ideal in France.

During the first days of the war, and the ensuing unprecedented
situation, before the horror of it had become uppermost, many were the
incidents of awkwardness whispered from ear to ear. Berne being a small
capital, certain sets in it meet daily, and the Diplomatic Corps assumes
almost the aspect of a "vie de famille." Many of its members were on
intimate terms, friends often of years' standing, when the curtain
descended on the old order of things on those fateful August days of
1914. One night perchance the French were dining with their Austrian
colleagues, or the British with the Germans, and the next morning were
to meet as strangers. The situation seemed unreal and impossible, and
naturally led to much groping and questionings to find a new "modus
vivendi." In one case a Minister's wife meeting her Austrian colleague,
whom the day before she had called by her Christian name, would be at a
loss to know what to do, the result culminating on both sides in a
half-nod with averted eyes; or an Allied caller at a Swiss house would
unavoidably come face to face with a new enemy—an erstwhile familiar
friend. Such incidents were at first of daily occurrence. I remember one
especially, more humorously long drawn out. An Allied Military Attaché
was calling on Swiss friends, when the servant came in, and, with a
perplexed look, whispered something in the ear of the hostess. "Be
quick," said the latter to her Allied caller, "the servant has said I am
in; but if you go through my boudoir here to the left, you will escape
an awkward meeting." The caller, following directions, tiptoed through
the boudoir to a door leading to a passage, but only to find himself
confronted by the Austrian Military Attaché, who, conducted by the no
less tactful servant, had also made the same détour. The Allied caller,
quickly closing the door with the hope that he had not been recognized,
retraced his steps to fly by the usual entrance—only to meet his new
enemy again. This time escape was impossible, the Austrian ejaculating:
"Well, Colonel, bad luck this time!" at which both laughed and passed on.

In a very short time, however, events in Belgium and France made too
deep an impression for any room to be left to the lighter side of
things, and such incidents were avoided by more careful forethought and
organization. The Swiss and other Neutrals held separate reception days
for the Allies and their antagonists, and official receptions at the
Palais Fédéral were accurately scheduled as to time, so as to avoid any
untoward meetings of the representatives of the belligerent nations. The
severance became complete, though it required a little time to
accomplish. The Diplomatic Tennis Club, for instance—a favourite resort
for tennis in summer and skating in winter—had likewise to modify its
rules to meet the changed conditions. As a mode of partition between the
Allies and the Central Empires the even dates were allotted to one side,
the uneven to the other. How it came about no one exactly knew, but the
Central Empires secured the uneven, thus gaining the advantage of seven
extra days in the year, as the least calculating found out in the course
of time. Gradually the new "modus vivendi" became established; and,
indeed, the news reaching Berne of the urgent demands from many quarters
for help developing the instinctive desire to be of some service in the
struggle at hand, more and more restricted the purely social functions.

When the idea of the "B.L.R.C.O." was suggested by Lady Grant Duff, she,
together with Mme. Pageot, organized a "Thé-Tombola," the first social
function started in German Switzerland for charitable purposes in the
Allied cause. The success of this so far exceeded all calculations, that
arrangements for tea made for about 300 visitors were called upon to
provide for more than double that number, the net result in funds
amounting to the gratifying total of frs. 22,000 towards French and
British Red Cross work. Later, again, when the prisoners of war had
arrived and been interned some little time in Switzerland, and had
accumulated a good deal of work to be disposed of, a series of bazaars
was held in the large towns by the French and Swiss. In these the
British took part, their stall of carpets, arranged by Miss Martin,
making a handsome and very successful exhibit amongst others, such as
bookbinding, leather work, etc. It was a pleasure, too, to see some,
however few, lovely wooden box designs, one with figures and animals in
high relief. Wood-carving was a talent I had no idea our men possessed,
but which these samples conclusively proved they did.

It was at the bazaar of this series held in Berne that the Scottish
dancers carried off the palm of attraction. The long hall set aside for
the buffet had a stage at one end, and long before the afternoon
performance was to take place every tea-table was occupied. This in
itself meant 200 spectators, but by the time the dancing began, every
available inch of room was crammed, tremendous cheering greeting the
Scotsmen. The same thing occurred in the evening, when my wife, who was
in charge of the buffet arrangements, and had fortunately had the doors
closed until eight o'clock so as to allow holders of reserved tables to
reach their seats, was warned that some 400 people were massed outside.
On the doors being opened, the effect was like that of a river breaking
a dam and flooding the entire hall. The success of our Scotsmen was
phenomenal, and their services, always attended with the same results,
were never dispensed with at any bazaar later on.

Another scheme put in motion for the disposal of Allied Interned work
was that afterwards called the "Suisse-Amérique." This consisted in
disposing of some of the work in America, and received its practical
application through Mme. Grouitch, wife of the Serbian Minister to
Switzerland, and American by birth. Mme. Grouitch had just returned from
the United States, and suggested organizing a Pavilion of Allied
Interned "Ps. of W." work at the great war bazaars taking place yearly
in some of the large towns in the States, such as New York, Washington,
St. Louis, Chicago, and Philadelphia. A Committee was at once formed
called the "Suisse-Amérique," under the ægis of Mme. Schulthess, wife of
the President of the Swiss Confederation, as President. Mrs. Stovall,
wife of the American Minister to Switzerland, and Mme. de Sprecher, wife
of the Swiss Chief of Staff. Some 300,000 and more articles were
despatched to the States, Mme. Grouitch graciously volunteering to
return thither to act as delegate of the Committee. If, fortunately for
the Allied cause, America shortly after entered the war, it was not so
fortunate for the scheme in hand, as only one of these bazaars—that in
New York—was held during the winter of 1917, when, no doubt rightly, the
scheme, now that America had entered the struggle, was stopped by the
U.S. Government. At this one bazaar about $600,000 were taken in entry
fees alone, so that it was a blow to hear of the cancelling of the
others. Owing, however, to the splendid energy and spirit of Mme.
Grouitch, who at once took other measures for the disposal of the
consignments, no loss occurred to the venture. To meet the initial
outlay required by the despatch of the Interned work to America, my wife
was asked to organize another "Thé-Tombola" at Berne, and was much
touched by the support and sympathy shown by the Allies and Neutrals,
more especially by Russians who had been hard hit by the revolution in
their country. This "Thé-Tombola" made a clear profit of frs. 8,000.

These activities, together with the daily office routine, occupied much
of our time, so that little was left for other social distractions,
which had diminished proportionately. Small dinners, teas, soirées and
bridge, with an occasional amateur dramatic performance for some war
need or other, filled to overflowing the remainder. One eventful
evening, however, I cannot pass without mention—that of the arrival of
General Leman, the heroic defender of Liége, who, it will be remembered,
when unable to offer further resistance to the Germans, had had the
fortress mined, and ordered it to be blown up, himself remaining in it,
preferring death to surrender. That he was still alive when rescued from
the debris is one of the marvels of the war. What the Allies owe General
Leman for that heroic resistance to the first German onrush will
probably be only generally known and valued when history has made the
facts clear, but on the night of his arrival, the sight of his small and
compact figure, very like Lord Roberts in build, was well-nigh
overwhelming. The enthusiasm of his reception at the station and _en
route_ to the Hôtel Bernerhof could be gauged by the echoes of the
cheers reaching us in the Central Hall, where we had congregated. Many
Germans, mostly members of the Diplomatic Corps, were present at the
time, and were sitting at various tables over after-dinner coffee, when
the General appeared, surrounded by compatriots: members of his own and
Allied Legations. Every one rose as at some magic signal—even all the
Germans, men and women alike, their faces reflecting curiosity and
wonder, quite different from their usual supercilious expression. Deep
was the general emotion. Of all present, however, General Leman was
probably the only one unaware of the depth of the feeling he evoked.

Especially agreeable and sympathetic is the remembrance of the charming
hospitality of Swiss friends, whose salons have an old world atmosphere
peculiarly their own. One is tempted to believe that, owing to their
forming more or less a society, removed from the excitements and stress
of larger capitals, they have been able to maintain an atmosphere of
quiet conducive to thought and sentiment regarding the more abstract
interests of life.

Looking back from this distance, the first months of the Great War
appear to have passed in a strange semi-hypnotic state of mind, made up
of surprise, anxiety, and horror. Mentally unprepared for the inhuman
catastrophe—a "lèse-humanité" in its truest sense—one felt as must a
tree at blows levelling its growth and blossom to the ground. At the
same time, a deep sense of indignation little by little restored the
mental balance, which was soon to enable one to return to a sense of the
immediate and growing necessities of the situation, and endeavour to
meet these as they arose; and one cannot but feel a great thankfulness
at having been privileged to find work in the many war activities in
Switzerland, herein detailed, towards the relief of our suffering

As I mentioned at the opening of these chapters, I little thought when
taking up our residence in Berne that it would be for four consecutive
years. Yet, looking back, these long years appear to have passed as a
flash, so great was the anxiety, so full the daily task, so steady the
conviction of an ultimate successful issue to the horrible drama of the
World War.


Ador, Monsieur Gustave, President of the Swiss Confederation, 1918;
  President of the International Red Cross Society of Geneva, 27, 133

Allied Military Attachés in Switzerland, 1914, 14

Annan, Miss, 176, 177

Arago, Monsieur, French Deputy, 52

Armée-Sanitäts-Anstalt (A.S.A.) (Lucerne), 108

Arndt, Dr. (Berne), 103, 107

Artificial limbs, 116

Austin-Lee, Sir Henry, Hon. Attaché British Embassy, Paris, 42

Bohny, Colonel Dr., Chief of Swiss Military Red Cross Department, 72,
  73, 77

British Hospitals, Boulogne, Calais, etc., 42

British Interned, Mürren (Magazine) "B.I.M.," 189, 190

British Legation Red Cross Organization in Switzerland (B.L.R.C.O.),
  34, 40-46, 49, 77, 101, 103, 146-148, 155, 174, 181, 182, 189, 203

British Red Cross Society, London (B.R.C.S.), 45, 46, 70, 108, 110, 115,
  146, 151, 153, 156, 158, 175, 176, 185

"British Section" of the Bureau de Secours aux Prisonniers de Guerre,
  57-61, 63, 64, 67, 68, 70, 182

Brüstlein, Captain Dr., 102, 126

Bureau de Secours aux Prisonniers de Guerre, 54, 56, 68

Central Prisoners of War Committee, 45, 63, 64, 71, 153, 183, 184

Charley, Major H. R., Assistant B.R.C.S. Commissioner, 70, 150, 153,
  155, 189, 190

Chaux, Captain Dr. de la (Swiss Army), 35, 120

Civilian Refugees, French and Belgian, 51

Clement, Captain Dr. (Fribourg), 107, 111, 169, 172

Comité Bernois, 54, 56

Conference between British Navigation Interests, Bagdad Railway Company,
  and Deutsche Bank, 3

Cook-Daniels, Mrs. C., Founder of Carpet Workshop Gunten, 43, 146,
  147, 182

Egli, Colonel C. H., État-Major Général (Swiss), 16-18

Favre, Major Edouard, Swiss Medical Staff, 169, 186

Foreign Office, London, 3, 5, 57

Garnett, Dr., Advisor for Technical Instruction of Interned, 40,
  137-139, 149-153

Gillespie, Lieut.-Colonel A. K., 43, 181, 182

Grand Blessés, 27, 47-49, 112

Grand d'Hauteville, Mr. Paul, Hon. Sec. British Section Bureau
  de Secours aux Prisonniers de Guerre, 56, 68, 69

Grant-Duff, Sir Evelyn, K.C.M.G., H.M.'s Minister to Switzerland 1913-1916,
  9-13, 54, 59, 60, 82

Grant-Duff, Lady, 34, 39-42, 44, 54-58, 60, 62, 63, 66, 68, 71, 77,
  82, 203

"Gray" Hut Château d'Oex, 175

Group Presidents of the B.L.R.C.O., names of, 42, 43

Harpe, Major de la, Swiss Staff Officer for British Interned, 93

Hauser, Colonel, "Médecin d'Armée," principal medical officer
  of Swiss Army, 30, 32, 36, 72, 73, 77, 85, 90, 92, 93, 99, 100,
  102, 104, 107, 110, 111, 113, 114, 119, 121, 123, 125, 130, 131,
  133, 135, 140, 188

Hobday, Mr., Secretary Y.M.C.A. in Switzerland, 167, 179, 180, 182

Hoffmann, Monsieur, President of the Swiss Confederation (1914), 30

Holy See, 27-29, 178

Hôpitaux Militaires, 41

Imperial Conference, Potsdam, July 5, 1914, 4, 5

International Red Cross Society of Geneva, 27, 39, 133

Itinerant Commission of Swiss Doctors, 31-33, 99, 112

Itinerant Court Martial (Swiss), 96

Jameson, Sir Starr, B.R.C.S., London, 175

Jones, Lieut.-Colonel, Sir Robert, R.A.M.C., 125-130

Julliard, Dr. (Geneva), 107, 108

Kitchener of Khartoum, Field Marshal, Viscount, O.M., etc., 24, 25

Kocher, Professor (Berne), 105-107

Kühlmann, Herr von, 3-5

"La Croix Rouge Suisse," 38, 47, 49, 54

"La Ligue Pro Captivis," 38, 133-135

"La Société du Mogen David Rouge," 38, 160

"La Société Suisse des Aumôniers," 38

"La Société Suisse le Bien du Soldat," 38

"Les Unions Chrétiennes des Jeunes Gens de la Suisse" (Swiss Y.M.C.A.),
  38, 182

"L'Œuvre Universitaire Suisse," 142, 143

Law, Mr. W. I., L.D.S., 115

Lawley, Sir Arthur, Report on British Section, Bureau de Secours
  aux Prisonniers de Guerre, 67

Leman, Général (Belgian), 206, 207

Llopart, Captain Dr., Swiss Medical Officer, 91, 92, 116

London Polytechnic Society, 108

Machard, Dr. (Geneva), 107, 108

Manneville, Comte de, in charge French Interned, 111, 135

Marchetti, Mgr., Delegate of the Holy See, 29, 178

Martin, Miss, Founder Carpet Workshop, Gunten, 147, 182, 203

Matti, Dr. (Berne), 107, 109, 130

Mercanton, Major Dr., Directing Medical Officer
  Château d'Oex Region, 89, 120

Metcalfe, Miss, 170

Millerand, Monsieur, French Minister of War, 27

Ministers of Religion to the Interned, names of, 159-164

Mitchell, Major, Representative of the Ministry of Pensions, 151, 152

Montmollin, Colonel George, 142

Morgenthau, Mr., American Ambassador Constantinople, 4

Neish, Lieut.-Colonel F. H., S.B.O., Mürren, 91, 145-147

Northcliffe, Lord, 45, 183, 185

"Œuvre des Éclopés" (Paris), 41

Pageot, Madame, Founder of the Bureau de Secours
  aux Prisonniers de Guerre, 54, 65, 203

Patriotic League (Lausanne), 174

Picot, Mrs. M. D., 8, 10, 43, 49, 63, 82

Picot, Miss R., 1, 10, 44, 49, 69, 82

Poinsard, Monsieur, Founder of the Bureau de Secours
  aux Prisonniers de Guerre, 54, 56, 65

Prisoners of War Help Committee, 57, 62

Propaganda in Switzerland, 22, 193-200

Proposals for Internment of Prisoners of War, 20, 24-30

Roux, Dr. (Lausanne), 106, 107

Rowan, The Rev. Father D.V., Professor University at Fribourg, 162, 163

Rumbold, Sir Horace, Bart., H.M.'s Minister in Switzerland 1916-1919, 49

Rumbold, Lady, 42, 43, 49, 71, 175, 179

Sandwich, The Earl of, K.C.V.O., Central Prisoners of War
  Committee, 151-153

Santucci, Comte Charles, Envoy of the Holy See, 28

Savoy, Captain Aumônier Herbert, Chaplain-General to R.C. Interned,
  159, 160

Sawyer, Miss Nesta, 69

Sewell, The Rev. A. H, Army Chaplain C. of E., 163, 164

Simpkin, Miss, Manor Farm, Interlaken, 106, 107

"Special Branch" for Interned of B.L.R.C.O., 44, 45

Sprecher von Bernegg, Colonel, Chief of Staff of the Swiss Army, 14

Sprecher von Bernegg, Madame, 133, 135, 205

State of men arriving from Germany, 33, 34

"Suisse Amérique" (Committee for sale of Interned work), 204, 205

Sutherland, the Rev. A. M., Presbyterian Church, 162, 164, 174-176, 188

Swiss Army, 13-18, 35, 36, 38, 84, 94, 97, 100, 113, 187

Swiss Doctors in service of Interned, 107

Swiss Economics, 19, 20, 22, 23, 104, 136, 140, 141, 145

Swiss Sanitary Service (for Interned), 84-89, 100, 102-104, 109,
  117, 118, 124

Trench, Colonel, late British Military Attaché in Berlin, 6-8

Tscharner, Monsieur Louis de, 26

Urgency Case Hospital, 41

Valentin, Madame, Founder of the Comité Bernois, 54

Voluntary workers of the British Section Bureau de Secours
  aux Prisonniers de Guerre, names of, 69, 70

Wallis, Lieut. C. E., Founder Motor Workshop, Vevey, 146, 148, 152-156

Wangenheim, Baron von, German Ambassador in Constantinople, 4

Whitwell, Mr., Representative of Y.M.C.A. in Switzerland, 177, 178,
  180, 182

Wille, Général Ulrich, Commander-in-Chief of the Swiss Army, 13, 14

Woods, Mr. Joseph A., M.D.S., L.D.S., 113, 114, 116

Wyndham, Colonel, British Military Attaché in Switzerland (1916-1918),

Y.M.C.A., 45, 174, 177-182

Y.W.C.A., 184

 _Printed in Great Britain by_

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