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TOPIC: Reservists' grievances, October 1902

Reservists' grievances, October 1902 3 months 1 week ago #62422

  • BereniceUK
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Several demonstrations and meetings were held by out-of-work Army reservists in Central London, throughout October 1902. I did come across one report that said that 500 men were at one demonstration, but haven't been able to re-find that particular one.

RESERVISTS' DEMONSTRATION.
A demonstration, attended by a large gathering of reservists and time-expired men who have served in South Africa, was held yesterday in Hyde Park, London. Mr. G. E. Bartholomew, late 4th Hussars, presided. The first resolution passed demanded that all discharges be issued at once, and that the money due to the men be given in a lump sum as soon as possible afterwards.
The next resolution requested the authorities to open all parts of the civil service to reservists and time-expired men, and to give them a prior claim on all Government contract work. The remedy suggested for a third grievance was that the Government should grant small loans, free of interest, to those men who had had businesses of their own, and who had sacrificed them to rejoin the colours.
The Government were also called upon to take immediate steps to supply temporary help until the men were able to get employment, and to grant pensions to all men who had had their health impaired through the campaign, so as to enable them to support their wives and families.
The last resolution was a general demand that the wives and families of all men who had died as the result of the campaign should be provided for. Copies of the resolutions were ordered to be sent to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of War.

Nottingham Evening Post, Wednesday 8th October 1902
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THE GRIEVANCES OF RESERVISTS.

MEETING IN HYDE PARK.
A number of reservists and time-expired men held a meeting in Hyde Park on Sunday afternoon for the purpose of calling "attention to the hardships reservists and time-expired men are now suffering through the Government's treatment," and demanding "that the Government should take immediate steps to remove the same." The demonstrators assembled at Cleopatra's Needle, on the Victoria Embankment, and, headed by a band, marched in procession to the Park.
Mr. J. E. Bartholomew (late 4th Hussars) presided, and, in opening the proceedings, said that they were not met as common loafers, agitators, or political men, nor as men out of work who did not want to work, but as men who had been fighting to uphold the honour of their country, and who believed they had just grievances against the Government, of which the public ought to know. (Hear, hear.) He believed that when the people knew of their sufferings they would insist upon the Government redressing their grievances. (Hear, hear.) He went on to complain of the War Office withholding for an unreasonable length of time discharges of reservists and time-expired men, who could not find employment unless they were armed with these documents. There were hundreds of men who had not got their discharges, although many of them had been home several weeks. Another grievance was the withholding of the payment of considerable sums of money due to these men. If they were able to go and fight their country's battles they were equally able to look after their own money. (Hear, hear.) He denied the statement by Mr Brodrick [ Secretary of State for War St John Brodrick ] that reservists were better off to-day than when they were called up. They willingly left their homes to rejoin their colours when the necessity arose, and they would do the same to-morrow if needs be despite their grievances. (Cries of "No, no," "Question," and "Speak for yourself.") Another grievance was the treatment of the widows and orphans of the men who had lost their lives in South Africa, and that of the men who had been disabled while serving at the front. They did not begrudge the help which had been given to the enemy, but they asked for as good treatment to be meted out to those who had won South Africa for the Empire. In conclusion he moved a resolution demanding that all discharges should be issued at once, that the money due to the men should be given in a lump sum as soon as possible, that all parts of the Civil Service should be open to reservists and time-expired men, and that they should have a prior claim on all Government contract work; that the Government should grant small loans, free of interest, to those men who had had businesses of their own, and who had sacrificed them to rejoin the colours; that Government should take immediate steps to supply temporary help until the men were able to get employment; that pensions should be granted to all men who had had their health impaired through the campaign, so as to enable them to support their wives and families of all men who had died as the result of the campaign should be provided for.
This was seconded by Mr Wheeler, formerly a submarine diver in the navy, and who served in South Africa with the Yeomanry. He said all they asked for was simple justice. Speaking of the red-tapeism of the War Office, he said there was a case in which a man drew his pension in February, April, and May, and was then called upon to produce a certificate to show that he was alive in March.
Mr Lee, an Australian trooper, supported the resolution, which was carried without dissent.

Dundee Evening Telegraph, Tuesday 14th October 1902
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RESERVISTS' GRIEVANCES.
MEN MARCH THROUGH LONDON.
To enlist public sympathy in their grievances a large number of out-of-work army reservists, back from the war, and practically destitute, marched through the main streets of London yesterday afternoon. Headed by a band, the men marched four abreast, and were well received everywhere. Spruce, upright, and bronzed cavalrymen chummed with infantrymen, and with excellent formation, they swung through Fleet Street, the Strand, and Pall Mall, past the War Office to Hyde Park, where a meeting, asking that the Government should settle up back pay, so as to enable them to keep away from the workhouse, was held.

Edinburgh Evening News, Thursday 16th October 1902
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RESERVISTS IN HYDE PARK.
Cleopatra's Needle was the rendezvous on Sunday afternoon of a number of Reservists and time-expired men. From there they marched to Hyde Park, headed by a band and a banner inscribed with the words, "Honour the brave and help the men who fought to extend the Empire."
Mr. J. Bartholomew (late 4th Hussars) said that since their last meeting he had had an interview with Sir Edward Ward [ Permanent Under-secretary at the War Office ], who recognised that they had legitimate grievances, and acknowledged that although he had issued orders with regard to their "covering sheets," they had not been carried out.
Mr Wheeler, the secretary of the men's executive committee, stated that they had decided to form an employment bureau of their own. The committee would meet again on Tuesday and decide what form the next meeting would take.
It will probably again be held in Hyde Park, processions starting from different parts of London.

Derby Daily Telegraph, Monday 20th October 1902
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