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structures have been built out of materials furnished by the owner
of the property. Heating has cost only the labor required for cutting
out the woods on the place. The cost of food is reduced to a mini-
mum by having the vegetables raised by the agriculturists, the bread
baked by the bakers, and the animals killed and cut up by the butch-
ers. Tools and machinery have cost between 180,000 and 200,000
francs, but it is expected that after the war the Government can
resell all the equipment to fit out factories pillaged by the enemy.

The Government allots to the school for the maintenance of the
men 1 franc 97 centimes per man per day, of which 43 centimes goes

11 De Paeuw, L6on : La lggducatlon professloneUe des soldats mutilfis et estroptes.
Paris, 19-17, pp. 149-164.

12 Ibid., pp. 40-ia.


to the soldier as his pay. This is the regular cost of maintenance of
a Belgian soldier, whether he is fighting at the front or attending
a reeducational school. No pensions or allowances are paid to the
inmates of Port Villez, but men in the shops receive wages of from
50 centimes to 1 franc a day, which are paid out of the proceeds of
articles made in the shops. These proceeds also help to defray the
general expenses of the school. 13


The Depot des Invalides at Sainte-Adresse, near Havre, as has been
said, was founded by M. Schollaert, the president of the Belgian
House of Representatives. Like many of the French schools organ-
ized by private persons, it receives financial support from the Gov-
ernment, but the control of its policy remains in the hands of M.

The school was organized in the early days of the war, when Bel-
gian war cripples were wandering through the country asking for
charity. Two of them knocked at the door of M. Schollaert, who
was so shocked by their condition that he asked leave of the minister
of war to provide a home and medical care for them and similar
destitute men. The home was rapidly filled, an organization was
formed, and arrangements were made for providing both functional
and vocational reeducation.

The workshops were started on an extremely modest scale, wherever
a place could be found for them in the vicinity of the manor house
which housed the patients. The brush makers were installed in a
stable, the turners in a kitchen, the carpenters in a hired shed, and
the shoemakers in the parlor of a villa. Equipment was of the most
elementary sort and instruction was given by philanthropic artisans
of Havre. Later, as the work grew in importance, all the shops and
dormitories were gathered together in a cantonment in portable
wooden barracks. At the present time the school teaches the trades
of carpentry, toy making, brush making, wood turning and pattern
making, sabot making, cooperage, mechanics, metal turning, electrical
work, plumbing, upholstering, shoemaking, tailoring, paper binding,
printing, making of plaster casts, manufacture of orthopedic ap-
pliances and artificial limbs, and the manufacture of envelopes.

The organization of the school is practically the same as at Port-
Villez, with a medical department, an academic department, and a
technical department. Nominally the physician in chief is the di-
rector of the school, but actually M. Schollaert controls its activities
and program. As at Port- Villez, all pupils must study school sub-
jects in addition to the work they do in the shops.

is De Paeuw, Leon : La reeducation professionelle des soldats mutiles et estroplea.
Paris, 1917, pp. 182-190.


Since December, 1914, through agreement with the minister of war,
the depot admits all disabled or invalided soldiers sent to it by the
army. It receives from the Government 2 francs 50 centimes a day
for each man, out of which' it pays 25 centimes to the man. The
quartermaster furnishes clothing and the medical corps beds and bed-
ding. Men of the oldest classes unfit for further active service and
nurses and stretcher bearers, have been detached from the army to
serve as instructors and to maintain discipline. While inmates of
the home are classed as apprentices, they receive wages of from 50
centimes to 1 franc a day, but later when they have acquired the skill
of normal workmen they receive an average of 2 francs 50 centimes
a day or 60 francs a month. Ten francs of this is given to them for
pocket money and the rest deposited in their savings account. Each
workman possesses a complete set of tools which he pays for gradu-

At the end of 1916, 699 men were present in the school. 14


The " home university " of Paris completes the system of vocational
instruction organized by the Belgian Government for its disabled
soldiers. When the school of clerks was at Mortain it offered op-
portunities for higher education to young men whose studies had
been interrupted by the mobilization summons, but after the school
was moved to Port-Villez, the minister of war thought it advisable
to discontinue these courses and in their stead to provide opportuni-
ties for study in Paris. To this end he organized in Paris what is
called a " home university," an institution where disabled soldiers are
boarded and lodged at the expense of the Government while they
pursue their studies in the great Paris schools. At the end of Novem-
ber, 1916, six young war cripples were in the "home university"
studying law ; two, medicine ; one, natural sciences ; one was enrolled
with the faculty of philosophy and studying to become a higher
teacher; three were in a commercial college; four in an electrical
college ; two were in the Lycee Saint-Louis, and one was in a Catholic
college. Their books and instruments are furnished them by the
ministry of arts and sciences. 15

u De Paeuw, Leon : La reeducation professionelle des soldats mutiles et estropies.
Paris, 1917, pp. 190-200.
*Ibid., pp. 178-182.



The English system of caring for the disabled soldier is the out-
come of leaving the care of the ex-service man in the past largely to
voluntary philanthropic organizations. To be sure, England had a
system of pensions, based largely upon length of service and meri-
torious conduct. How inadequate these were may be judged from
the fact that up to the present war the scale of pensions had not been
changed in 50 years, notwithstanding the rising standard of comfort
and the increased cost of living. The enlisted man and his depend-
ents fared particularly badly because the regular army and navy
were recruited from the unmarried and the encumbrance of marital
ties was frowned upon by the war office and admiralty. The profes-
sional soldier who might see service in Aden or Singapore or Jamaica
was not thought the proper person to assume the apostolic preroga-
tive to "lead about a wife." When his survivors and dependents
fell upon troublous times after a campaign in the Crimea, or the
Sepoy mutiny or a naval disaster, an appeal was made to the public
for funds to supplement the inadequate provisions of the State. So
numerous were these various special funds that Parliament desig-
nated a custodian for them which, after functioning for some years,
came to be known finally, in 1903, as the Koyal Patriotic Fund Cor-
poration, 2 to whom new responsibilities of care and oversight were
assigned at the outbreak of the present war, as we shall see later.

The English had become so accustomed to the spectacle of philan-
thropic organizations supplementing the inadequate provisions of
the Government for its ex-service men that they had come to doubt
that it was possible for the State to formulate rules that would be
elastic enough to fit all cases. Certain minimum provisions readily
executed by the dry mechanics of a government bureau sufficed as
long as the human element was supplied by voluntary organizations
endowed with heart and conscience. The opinion of the Eight
Honorable W. Hayes Fisher, for many years chairman of the execu-
tive committee of the Eoyal Patriotic Fund Corporation, expressed

1 Material for this chapter prepared by John Culbert Farles, Ph. D.
» First report of the Royal Patriotic Fund Corporation, 1904,



at a hearing before the Select Committee on Naval and Military
Services, late in 1914, illustrates this feeling. He said :

"I want to emphasize my own opinion, drawn from long experience, an
opinion I believe shared by all my colleagues, that unless the Government fix
a flat rate of pensions on an extravagant and wasteful scale, there will always
be need of some body ancillary to the Government departments to make supple-
mentary grants and give additional aid, and, above all, to introduce into its
administration the human element, if we are to avoid much unnecessary
suffering." *

The best comment upon that opinion is found in the subsequent
action of Parliament in establishing a uniform pension system on an
adequate basis and supplying the element of elasticity in a scheme of
alternative pensions, as we shall have occasion to see. It is a little
difficult to reconcile the opinion quoted above with another statement
made by the same gentleman before the same committee in reference
to the reconstruction of the royal patriotic fund in 1903. He said:

I have always regretted that the Government at that time did not take a
bolder line, and put an end to the present system of administering state pensions
and supplementary grants ; a system which was never created by one mind at
one time, but is the mere product of chronology, and is, in consequence, com-
plicated and chaotic. 4

The Government did take that bolder step in 1917.

One of the " ancillary " bodies, to use Mr. Fisher's term, which
came to the rescue of the ex-service man before the present war was
the Incorporated Soldiers' and Sailors' Help Society. It was estab-
lished under royal patronage at the close of the South African War
" to help soldiers and sailors by providing them with the name and
address of a ' friend ' in each parish or ward throughout the Empire,
to whom they may be commended on discharge from the army or
navy for aid in obtaining employment or other forms of help suited
to their needs." 5

The older Tommy Atkins presented a harder employment problem
than will the members of the new army. Army life in peace times
offers few attractions to the industrial effective who can provide a
home by the fruit of his labor. The man who is industrially unat-
tached, or is disinclined to assume the responsibilities of that home
making for which the English people are so noted, is the man who is
most likely to follow the soldier's trade with its dangers and vicissi-
tudes. And when he falls out of service through the expiration of
his enlistment, or through disablement, he is not the easiest man in
the world for whom to find employment. He is likely to be a man
without trade skill or acquired habits of industry. So it is not sur-

3 Special report and second report from the Select Committee .on Naval and Military
Services, Proceeding ot Committee and Minutes of Evidence, 1915 p 247
•Ibid., p. 248.


B The Incorporated Soldiers' and Sailors' Help Society. Regulations for officeholders,


prising that the Soldiers' and Sailors' Help Society met with indiffer-
ent success in its efforts to find employment for ex-service men. The
" friends " who were listed on its roster seem to have been the easy
marks for the professional tramps, according to the testimony of an
ex-service man who did some tramping on his own account armed
with perfectly good discharge papers. 6

However, the experiences of the society led it to undertake a valu-
able experiment in reconstruction. The difficulty it experienced in
finding work for disabled men led it to open workshops in London
for the employment of handicapped men and their dependents.
They anticipated by 10 years the methods adopted by the principal
belligerent countries in dealing with the problem of their disabled
soldiers, namely, by special training.

When the war came to enormously augment the task of the society,
a public appeal was made for funds with which to expand the work.
Lord Roberts, the nation's military idol, evinced a lively interest in
the work, and after his death the shops were called the Lord Roberts
Memorial Workshops. 7

The object of the society in conducting these shops is "to teach
useful trades to men discharged as medically unfit, who, by reason
of their disability, consequent on their service, are unable to take
ordinary employment, and to make such cases, as far as possible, self-
supporting, by disposing of the work they turn out." 8 They are
not, therefore, primarily vocational schools to train men by a short,
intensive course to reenter industry and maintain themselves in the
field of open competition. While some do leave the shops and take
positions elsewhere, it is expected that most of them will remain as
permanent employees under work conditions favorable to the handi-
capped man. The workshops must be conducted upon a commercial
basis, paying wages to its workmen and marketing the finished
product. This the shops have been able to do with an encouraging
degree of success.

The advantage of such an institution is that it can afford steady
jobs to substandard workers and can adapt machinery to the disa-
bilities of handicapped operatives. The central workshops in Lon-
don have operated at a profit and claim that the output of the fac-
tory has been largely absorbed by the wholesale trade entirely aside
from charitable motives. The men are paid an initial wage of 4
pence an hour for eight weeks, and after that a minimum wage of
£1 a week, according to a man's capabilities.

The need was seen of establishing branches in different parts of
the country, to afford opportunities for disabled men in other than

• W. G. Clifford : The ex-soldier, by himself. London, 1916.

' The national tribute to our permanently disabled soldiers and sailors

B The Incorporated Soldiers' and Sailors' Help Society. Annual report, 1915.


the London district, and now there are workshops at Plymouth,
Brighton, Colchester', Nottingham, Birmingham, Liverpool, Brad-
ford, Newcastle, Edinburgh, and Belfast. Toy making has been
found to be a profitable industry, and the various processes afford
work of many types for men with different disabilities. There is a
division of labor between the different branches, one doing the wood-
work, another the metal work, a third the printing, and so on. The
workshops have dealt with 850 men disabled in the present war,
and the society has plans for a further expansion of the work so that
4,000 or 5,000 disabled men can be employed at one time in the
various workshops. 6

While institutional care and specialized workshops will probably
be needed in the case of grievously handicapped men, the principle
is pretty clearly established that it will be better for the man and
for society, if he can be trained to meet the competition of the work-
aday world and maintain himself in the industries of his own
locality. The institution which will commend itself as meeting the
extraordinary requirements of war time and. after will be the one
which will be rather a vestibule, through which a large number of
men may pass as rapidly as possible into the normal industries of a
community, than a sheltering workshop of limited capacity with only
a small exit to the field of competitive enterprise.


The outbreak of the war found the British Government wholly
unprepared to cope either with the problem of caring for the de-
pendents of men called into service or for those who might be dis-
abled. Fortunately, there was an organization that had had long
experience in looking after the needs of enlisted men. This was
the Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association, which had rendered
valuable service in the South African War and after. Its forces
were quickly mobilized to meet the unprecedented demands for relief
for soldiers' families.

The chaotic condition of affairs may be judged from the fact that
at the outbreak of the war the army pay offices had only 1,500
soldiers' wives on the pay roll, owing to the policy of discouraging
men from marrying " on the strength." 10 Every inducement, includ-
ing the promise of the care of dependents, was offered to hasten the
recruiting of the new army. On August 10, 1914, the prime minister
proclaimed in Parliament that women "off the strength," that is,
those whose marriages were not recognized by the military authori-
ties, would be given the same allowances as women " on the strength."

• MaJ. AlgerDon Tudor Craig : Lord Roberts Memorial Workshops for Disabled Soldiers
and Sailors, Recalled to Life. London, 1917, 1, pp. 289-294.
10 Report on the Administration of the National Relief Fund up to Mar. 31, 1915, p. 4.



Within a fortnight the number of wives entitled to a separation
allowance had risen to 250,000. The difficulties were increased be-
cause the addresses of many- soldiers' wives were unknown, and in
some cases the men concealed the fact of their marriage. Many
women whose husbands had disappeared claimed that they had en-
listed and the facts had to be established. There was an inevitable
delay of weeks, and even months, in the payment of separation allow-
ances and certain hardships resulted.

The Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association was the only
organization with experience in dealing with the matter, and to
meet the urgent needs, local committees, composed largely of ladies
of leisure and clergymen, were appointed in all parts of the country.
These committees assisted in investigating the needs and claims of
dependents and in distributing relief. This system of local commit-
tees is now an important part of the State machinery for caring for
disabled soldiers and sailors. It was analogous to the plan for the
administration of the old age pensions act of 1908, which provided
for the appointment of a local committee in every borough and urban
district having a population of 20,000 or over.

When it became apparent that funds of large proportions would be
necessary to meet the distress that would inevitably arise through
war conditions the Prince of Wales issued an appeal on August 6,
1914, for a national fund of which he became the treasurer. Queen
Mary added an appeal to the women of the country to give their
services in the local administration of the fund which was known as
the national relief fund. The executive committee, composed of
leading members of Parliament, decided to entrust the distribution
of military grants to the Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association.
The association had long experience of work of this nature and had
satisfactorily undertaken the distribution of large sums during the
South African War, and the committee felt it desirable to secure the
cooperation of the only existing organization in close touch with the
war office and the army pay offices throughout the country and
possessing special experience in the intricacies of naval and military
scales of pay. 11

During the first two months of the war the money dispensed by the
association was mostly in the form of gifts, but later its work was
rather that of making advances on allowances and supplementing
inadequate grants. 12 The advances were largely recovered upon the
payment of allowances by the Government.

The inadequacy of the scale of separation allowances was so ap-
parent that the executive committee of the national relief fund

n Keport on the Administration of the National Belief Fund up to Mar. 31, 1915, p. 4.
» Conference on war relief and personal service. London, 1915, p. 12.

57710—18 6


authorized the Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association to increase
the allowances to a scale which was then adopted by the Government.
When the same committee extended allowances to dependents other
than wives and children, and finally to unmarried mothers who made
a real home for their children, the Government adopted the same
policy by an army order of October 27, 1914.

On November 18, 1914, Parliament appointed a select committee
to consider a scheme of pensions and grants for disabled officers and
men and their dependents. In their first report 13 presented to Par-
liament in January, 1915, they proposed an increase in the Govern-
ment scale of pensions and allowances and suggested that the national
relief fund and other local funds be invited to supplement the Gov-
ernment rates where it appeared to be desirable, having regard to all
the circumstances of the case. In its second special report to Par-
liament in April, the committee proposed that a statutory committee
of the royal patriotic fuitd (alluded to above), to be composed of 25
persons, should be appointed to decide questions of fact in regard
to pensions payable to dependents other than wives and children
and in proper cases to supplement out of voluntary funds of a
national character the separation allowances and pensions paid by
the State. 14

In the meantime, the local Government board appointed a com-
mittee in February, 1915, upon the provision of employment for
sailors and soldiers disabled in the war. The chairman of the com-
mittee was Sir George H. Murray, who was also chairman of the
executive committee of the national relief fund. The report to
Parliament of the Disabled Sailors' and Soldiers' Committee declared
that " the care of the sailors and soldiers, who have been disabled in
the war, is an obligation which should fall primarily upon the State ;
land that this liability can not be considered as having been extin-
guished by the award of a pension from public funds. We regard
it as the duty of the State to see tha,t the disabled man shall be, as
far as possible, restored to health, and that assistance shall be forth-
coming to enable him to earn his living in the occupation best suited
to his circumstances and physical condition." 15

The committee proposed that the after care of a man discharged
from military service because of disability should be intrusted to
a central committee acting under the direction of some Government
department. Such a committee should include representatives of
the Admiralty, of the war office, of the board of trade, of the local
Government board, of the board of education (in relation to tech-

™ Great Britain : Select committee on naval and military services, special report, 1915.
14 Grea L Britain : Select committee on naval and military services, second special
report, 1915.

» Great Britain : Report of Disabled Sailors' and Soldiers' Committee, p. 2.


nical training), of the board of agriculture and fisheries, of the
national health insurance joint committee, of employers of labor, of
trade-unions or other labor organizations, and of the existing volun-
tary agencies for obtaining employment for discharged soldiers
and sailors.' 6

The committee reported May 4, 1915. On November 10, 1915, the
naval and military war pensions, etc., act, 1915, was passed by
Parliament. 17 The purpose of the act was " to make better pro-
vision as to the pensions, grants, and allowances made in respect of
the present war to officers and men in the naval and military service
of His Majesty and their dependents, and the care of officers and
men disabled in consequence of the present war, and for purposes
connected therewith."

It provided for a statutory committee of the Royal Patriotic
Fund Corporation, to consist of 27 members, composed largely as
outlined by the committee on disabled sailors and soldiers. The
statutory committee was to be assisted by local committees in every
county, county borough, and urban district having a population of
not less than 50,000. The composition of the local committee was
left to the local council, but it was stipulated that it should include
some women, some representatives of labor, and members of the
Soldiers' and Sailors' Families Association and the Soldiers' and
Sailors' Help Society. The statutory committee, assisted by the
local committees, was, in general, to supplement, out of funds at
its disposal, allowances or pensions deemed to be inadequate, or to
make advances on delayed payments; to decide questions of fact

Online LibraryDouglas C. (Douglas Crawford) McMurtrieThe evolution of national systems of vocational reeducation for disabled soldiers and sailors → online text (page 9 of 38)