Jockey A German Prisoner: Cuthbert Hamshaw, an English Boy, Tells a Moving Story.; Brutal Treatment the Rule in an Immense Camp at Ruhleben Race Course., Daily Racing Form, 1918-11-09


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JOCKEY A GERMAN PRISONER Cuthbert Hamshaw an English Boy Tells a Moving Story Brutal Treatment the Rule in an Immense Camp atvHuhle ben Race Course TAttheVinoinent when theKenemies of mankind an whining for mercy it may be appropriate to put on record the feeling and experiences of a Briton who after three and a half years as a prisoner in Germany has just returned to this i country A more inoffensive cheery highspirited little fellow than C Hamshaw the jockey never left tliee shores when in March 1914 he accepted a retainer to ride lightweights for Baron Alfred Opponlieim in Germany this being the second biggest stable in that country The Imperial Stud at Graditz has always l een the biggest not be ¬ cause the horses on their merits have been the best but for the excellent reason that by the kaisers decree the condition of all the leading weightfor ¬ age races haVe been so framed that the imperial horses have had an overwhelming advantage It would no have looked well in the twentieth cen ¬ tury the kaiser seemed to think to chop off the head of any owner whose horse had had the inso ¬ lence to 1 eat a hore belonging to the Imperial Stud so on the principle that there are more ways of killing a pip than choking him with butter the simple method pf controlling tie conditions of the races was employed employedllamshaiv llamshaiv was originally apprenticed to IV Peck and rode many good winners for Lord Durham before his indentures were transferred to the late 4 F Hallick and he continued t be successful Among oilier owners for whom he rode winners were l r l Vniiersj now Jersey Subsequently IImiiaw became attached to ItandaUs Stable when the latter trmiMirarily relinquished his riding license to take up training and it was at the age of twentyone when his weight was ninetyfour IHiunds and with a brilliant riding career before him that in an illfated moment he accepted this retainer to ride in Germany After this preface Hamshaw shall speak in his own words wordsFIEST FIEST EXPERIENCES WERE ROSY ROSYVI VI reached Germany in March 1914 Things went satisfactorily and I was happy 1 got on well with Baron Oppeiihcim and would have trusted him as I would trust my own brother I was living with his trainer McCrcery an America and got on will with him too Most of the horses were at the lop of the handicaps because they had done well and had carried the weight so then was not much chtiHc for me as I was onl3 the second jockey and Archibald the American rode the heavyweights Bill I rode some winners and as the spring passed by August was coming on when twoyearolds can run anil we had a band of useful youngsters which I WMS to ride so I was looking forward to a fine I Inn Then at the end of July war was declared between Germany and liussii Therewils a certain amount of excitement in Germany but we jockeys thought nothing of it We never dreamed it would affect us On July 23 while I was riding morning exercise at Hoppegarten I heard that Jack Watts had left He was training for the Graditz Stud I thought Tiiillo and it made me doubtful 1 de ¬ cided if it was good enough for Watts to go I would go too I did not say anything to anybody but went back to the stables changed my clothes packed a suitcase and got together the things 1 wanted to take to Kngland leaving my trunk and the big things then went down to lunch McCreery said What have you changed for Arent you going to ride out in th second hand I said I was going away for a few days At the finish I said I had Inard Watts had left for Kngland and I was going back to Kngland too They said there was no fear of Kngland coming into the war that Watts had jiot gone to Kngland but only to BadenBaden for the races which were coming on and that in any case if the worst came to the worst all Kiiglishmcii would be given twentyfour hours notice and if they wished to leave special trains would lMplnc d sit their disposal They talked ine over mid I did not go I took my suitcase up to my bed ¬ room again If I had gone that day without sitting down to lunch I should have caught the last train for civilians which left Berlin for Holland but iiiMf dI Imd three and a half years of what no iMidr can iossibly describe FOUND PRUSSIANS WERE FIENDISH FIENDISHXever Xever as long as I have breath in my body will I ever speak to a German again If a German was lying in Hades asking for a drink of water and it was in my ower to give it to liim I would not lift a finger Xo more would ahybody else who has been a prisoner of war in Germany People call them Huns and Bodies and names like that There is onij one thing to call them and that is Prussians The wonl implies everything that is most loath ¬ some most filthy most degrading most vile most revolting Let these brutes l c known as Prussians throughout the ages Dont try to find any other word A Prussian stands for a liar a whining cnr n drunkard It stands for all that is cruel When armed and their prisoner is helpless they are brave enough but they are skulking cowards when their own skin is in danger dangerThe The horses for the next three montlrs continued to do work and I used to ride out with them I also went into Berlin sometimes The people were much up against the English but not against the Ameri ¬ cans and the jockeys going into Berlin used to keep to the places where they were known Jockeys perhaps had a letter time than other English siKaking people beeau they had made friends and sometimes had IHHJII able to do others a good turn Anyway I myself kept to the recognized jockeys haunts I went to get shaved one day and the barber when he was half way through asked me if I was a German I said nein An Austrian Cein An Italian Xein Ach an American Xeui Then what nationality are yoii I am Knglish I was not going to deny it He finished shaving me but did not ask any more questions and when I left was as polite as anybody could be I went there again to be shaved shavedARCHIBALD ARCHIBALD POPULAR IN GERMANY GERMANYIn In the stables there was a German negro who tried to murder me and nearly did it He did not offer to fight like an Englishman would though he weighed 153 pounds and I was 94 pounds heavy but waylaid me and came up behind and threw me down and got his fingers round my throat with his thumbs sticking in and I would have been throttled in another few seconds but JHmie of the other lads happened t come nlong and pulled him off I was bl dinc from the ears and nose and eye arid wiis in t d f r a week McCreery tried diKharge itliis iifgrn hut it appeared here WHS a rlausn In his agreement that nobody but Baron H ppcnhcinr could discharge hiin Tlie night before Archibald left for America he gave a dinner to the jockeys at the Hotel Bristol There were fifteen of us and it was a cheery eve ning The table was decorated witti American flags and at the next table one of the jug German princes was also giving a party America at that time was in high favor in Germany and as a mat ter of fact Archibald was well known to all the officers who were habitues at the Bristol BristolWhen When Archibald lef Germany 1 decided to write to Baron Oppenheim asking if he woultl use his In ¬ fluence to obtain a passport for me4 to return to Kngland pointing out lhat my weight was 94 pounds and I should not be eligible for the British army He had always been so kind to me that I thought he would do ill is lie wits not only an iuj influential luau n financial affairs but helil high rank as an offjcer in the arniy so lie only had to sign his name tq able nic to leave the country Also he knew that it was solely through him that I was in Germany ajtalK What do jbu think hap ¬ pened Baron Oppenheim did not reply to me at his stables apparently knowing what I had no notion of inyj Jfthat 1 was to be interned He addressed his reply to me at the camp at Ruh leben It was on a yostcard anil was in German though he had always written to me and spoken before in Knglitdi as he knew I did not know Ger ¬ man very well BARON OPPENHElkS HUMANITY HUMANITYThis This is what Karoir Oppcnheim the groat finan ¬ cier the soldier the sportsman the man who had taken me to Germany wrote Jockey Hamshaw I can do nothing to assist you Why should I All the Knglish jockeys are interned Why should you be an exception My advice to you is to write to Sir Edward Grey for aid since it is he who has placed you in your present position OPPKXHKIM OPPKXHKIMHe He did not say a word about the money he owed me and which herowes jue to this day I got that postcard when I arrived at Uuhleben but I am going on too fast so I must try back a hit and describe my arrest Then I will try to tell you something of the three and a half years I spent as a prisoner qf wat in the internment camp campOn On November C 1U4 I was upstairs changing my clothes after ritijiig exercise when McCreerys daughter caileitout that there was someone wanting to see me I answered that I would be down in a few minutes She said I must come immediately because it was a police iiiiin I put on a dressing gown and went down He was a big fellow He said Ton are Hamshaw Yes Cnthbert Hamshaw Vfs You must come with me t0 tlie srlioolhonse I asked why I must go with him to the schoolhouse He replied it was a matter of formality shguldybe back jn an hour I went upstairs and finished dressing and went with him I saw hundreds of people making from all roads to the schoolhouse each one separately escorted by a big German policeman Kverybody was carrying a bag or a nig or homething of that sort 1 myself had nothings It had never entered into my mind to bring anything asked vhy these people were carrying bags ault rugsi My policeman repeated that the taking iif the Knglish civilians to the schoolhouse was a formality that we would all be dismissed when our names hart tyceu verified Di ¬ rectly we got insjile the doors he laughed and said Vve ferc under arrostuand would be uiiablp to leave The Germans anv hypocrite and deceitful and liars all the way through Whe i I found this was trilc that we were tojbe sent toan internment camp I got Hold1 of one of the German soldiers and asked him to telephone to my rooms for some blankets and other thing and these arrived We remained jii the schoolroom till six oclock that evening and were then sent to Uuhleben and I was at Ituhlcbun for three years aitda half PRISONERS AT RUHLEBEN COURSE COURSEUuhleben Uuhleben is the Berlin trotting track It is pronounced Kulayben with the accent oi thc second syllable It must not be confused vrith the two Berlin race courses Hoppegarten and Karllijlipstt The journey to Uiihleben showed more than any ¬ thing else could the loathsomeness ot the German people We were civilians never had fotigh1 arid never conld fight ami I myself was only a feather ¬ weight but they were spitting in our faces ail the way and only a nation of degenerates could have known the meaning of the language they used These were not soldiers but the German peoplt themselves t The sleeping quarters of the camp at Ruhlfben were the horse boxes surrounding the trotting track They were a big range of stabling because they had not only been used by the trotters during the race meetings but by them permanently Six prisoners were allocated to each box We were put in indiscriminately professors jockeys bootr blacks musicians actors shopkeepers schoolmas ¬ ters tradesmen the scum of the streets and the most intellectual men in Berlin This was at the commencement Later things settled down The first thing we were ordered to do was to clean put the boxes This was nothing to a jockey but I found myself working side by side with a professor of languages We slept in rows on the ground One blanket each Was gi Veil us The food consisted for breakfast of black coffee very bitter made of acorns with no milk or sugar For dinner on five days of the week there was either fish soup or barley soup On the other two days there were potatoes It was called soup but it was uneatable in the evening there was more black coffee We used to read in the papers about how the German prisoners in Kngland were fed Yes we got the papers but I will tell you about that later We only wished the British government who were making sucli a fuss over the German prisoners could themselves have come and spent i couple of days as Knglish prisoners of war at Uuhlebeu If it had not been for the parcels jje got not a soul would have come out alive These came through regularly arid though we used to think some were stolen I think this could only apply to few We were certainly grateful for this And it also applies to the letters Nearly all reached us though chunks and chunks were cut out by the censors The German sentries and guards to the camp had plenty of food during the first eighteen months nul food of good quality but afterward they were treated shamefully by their own government and were kept almost starving the German government seeming to think they could live by what they begged from the prisoners parcels They made no Ixtnes about begging and the poor hungry devils used to fight among themselves over the swill tubs of the prisoners and any bit of moldy crust they would seize and devour REGULATIONS OF PRISON CAMP It was the first year and half which was the worst After that we gradually seemed to settle down and lobked upon the life as a permanency and ettoworkjtoprganjze thjugs Naturally Irom the first we had games cricket football golf and boxing There were at that time 4000 prisoners In rthe ramp There are iiow I believe aborit 500 We had already elected among oiirselvts a captain of the camp the man chosen being Mr Powell the manager of a cinema theater in Berlin for riiany years before the War who knew most of the Ber ¬ lin people and spoke German as well as he spoke Knglish He was afraidof nobody He was popular in the camp and did an immense amount of good If there was any general grievance it Vas taken to him and he would interview the German1 com ¬ mander of the camp and though the commander would probably say it cbuid not be altered we saw a difference in a day or two Each box appointed its own captain too and aiiy trouble in the box was referred to the captain captainThe The area of the camp was just the area of the trotting track with the stabling around it never set foot outside this area for three years and a half The monotony was terrible It all seemed so hopeless so neverending Then you nsed to sec people going insane 4 That was awful They did not go suddenly mad but gradually became ec eentric and nsed daily to get worse F ° r Instance we noticed one fellow running about six times round the track every morning We thought nothing Of that we thought he was trying to keep fit Then he begjiri putting sweaters on and run till he ran bJmself to astandstill Then a few days later he would bring out blankets and rugs and everything he could la hands on and wrap himself up and go on running round the track They soon had to take him to an asylum 1 It was chiefly though tlie prisoners who did not take outdoor exercise or play games who became insane the students and men who used to spend their time readiujJ had not bfwn foe thegames I am eertain not a single jockey would have come put alive ixmdon Sports

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