Monday, 6 April 2015

Do Your Bit!

1909 Commer Bus (Wikimedia)

Tuesday 6th April 1915:  The industrial unrest which affected Britain before the outbreak of war has continued despite the state of emergency. There has been talk that the government will try to outlaw strikes but no action has so far been taken. A former employee of Commercial Cars Ltd. in Luton who is now fighting with the 1st Bedfords has written to his brother, who still works for the company, expressing his concern that strikes will damage the war effort:
Just a line in answer to your letter. I was sorry to hear of the trouble you are having in England with labour. I know as well as you that the skilled working man in England is paid none too well at ordinary times, and now the prices of food have gone up it makes it harder for him to make both ends meet. But, believe me, Fred, you are playing in the enemies’ hands by strking. Nothing would suit Germany better than to see England in a labour war. My sympathies are with you in your endeavour to get more money, but if you can get enough to pay your way, for God’s sake, DO YOUR BIT.
Don’t take notice of agitators. Remember that by keeping the ball rolling you are helping us out here one way or another. I am working out here for a pittance that I have earned in half a week. I drew 29s since I left England. I don’t mind. I am doing it for one end. When we come home victorious then people can agitate. But, Fred, from me, DO YOUR BIT. Stick to your work. I see in the paper that up North they can’t get the men to work. I know what it means to continually stick at work night and day, but I think they are lucky to get the work to do.
Remember, it is our little boys out here that is giving them that privilege. If the Germans could only get Calais there would be some trouble for England. We have lost thousands of good men in keeping them back. We know what it means if they beat us here. But they won’t. We know what we are fighting for. It has been a terrific struggle. You in England don’t know. Our Navy is doing their utmost to keep the seas open, and we are doing our best to keep England out of danger.
If you only realised what a close one it has been … You never will. You have got to be here to see. This is funny talk, Fred, but I feel deeply on this point. Those men who have not enlisted, it’s up to them to keep the flag flying – not to squabble over a paltry shilling or two, while men are dying every day so that they should have the privilege to work at home.
 Source: Luton News 1st April 1915

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