There is considerable concern over the behaviour of some Austria-Hungarian internees now working on Island farms. Just under 100 men are present, brought through a labour scheme championed by the Lieutenant Governor. Yet as the growing season ends, there are not just questions over these men’s value, but also about the attention being shown to local girls.
Britain has interned thousands of Enemy Alien men since the war started. Yet locking them in camps at a time of great labour shortage has seemed a waste of resources. As a result, many have now been released on trust to undertake work, including the group brought to Jersey.
With liberty comes firm terms and conditions however. The men have to remain near their places of work and be inside by eight o’clock each evening. But not all are following the rules. A number have reportedly been roaming the island and staying out after curfew. Most troubling are reports that some have been seen arm-in-arm with local girls, liaisons that the authorities have anxiously sought to avoid.
And the blame does not just lie with the Austrians. ‘Some women have no sense of what is decent’, opined one newspaper editor.
D/Z/H2/8 contains extensive correspondence on the subject of internee labourers, including concerns over their liaisons with local girls.