Appeal to Patriotism – Colliery Prosecution Withdrawn – Slackers at Home

July 1915

Mexborough and Swinton Times, July 17, 1915

An Appeal to Patriotism
Cadeby Colliery Prosecution Withdrawn
Married Men who have Enlisted
Compared with Slackers at Home

“From the Cadeby colliery there had been between 856 and 900 men enlisted since the commencement of war. All honour in credit to then the majority of them. Though married men who clearly recognise the seriousness of the situation, and who are prepared to make the sacrifices now rather than afterwards. One would think that be sufficient incentive to the other men to make sacrifices, and put full-time in at their work at their colony. Unfortunately, this is not been the case.”

These were the words of Mr W. M. Gichard at the Doncaster West Riding police Court in withdrawing six summonses taking out by the Denaby and Cadeby Main Colliery Company against workmen under the Employer and Workmen Act.

He asked for their cases to be withdrawn. Summonses had been issued, he said, during the last few months against workmen for their continued absence from work, and they would see when he told them that the average attendance of the six men at the colliery, going back to the last eight weeks, was only 3 ½ days per week – and in some instances as low as two days per week – to what an extent the absenting themselves from work on the part of the workmen had got to. In one instance, to go back a little further, in 26 weeks one man had worked only 21 shifts. Instead of working harder or even as well as they did before the war, the men were working less. The output men for men had gone down considerably. He hoped that the reason of that was that the men had not fully realise their responsibilities and obligations, and he was making this statement by arrangement with the representatives of the men. He hoped that further proceedings of this character against men for absenting themselves from work would not be necessary, and he hoped that the men’s attention to the serious responsibilities resting upon them would make it unnecessary for any further publicity.

These men should reflect that it was not merely for the masters benefit that they should keep up the output at that present. The need of the country demanded it. If the needs of the country were not sufficient to make them realise, he thought there was one other of which would suffice. And that was that their fellow workmen were making their sacrifice at the front and in the training camps in the country, and needed their assistance, and then could not hope for success in their arms with how the assistance of the men at home. With that assistance, then they had great hopes for the success that would mean the safety of those who remained behind. If those men would only look at it in that light the unpleasant duty of coming before the court would be avoided.

The representatives of the men had stated that they had done all they could to persuade the men to work regularly and consistently, so as to assist the country through the present terrible crisis, and he (the speaker) was proud to be able to say, on the express instructions of the colliery company, that this was perfectly true, and that the leaders had assisted the management to get them into work. The management were assured that the representatives of the men would supplement the Company, and still further, and endeavour to assure regular attendance.

Mr Gichard went on to say that a meeting was shortly to be held in London to lay before the owners and the men the necessity of a good supply of coal during the present crisis. The meeting will be addressed by Mr Lloyd George and Sir John Simon. It was purely due to this forthcoming meeting that they desired to withdraw those proceedings.

The chairman of the Bench (Brigadier General Bewicke Copley) asked what methods had been adopted to let the public know about the case, and Mr Gichard replied that the only opportunity was at the present time.

The chairman: You mean through the court and the press.

Mr Gichard: yes.

The cases were accordingly withdrawn.