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RECRUITS WANTED

A DEPUTATION TO THE MAYOR,

SOME STRAIGHT TALK,

A deputation waited on the Mayor (Mr J. B. Jsimcklock) this morning to urge on him to call a public meeting or to take some othor measures to encourage enlistment for active service.

Mr A, Washer, alter remarking that the .National Reserve intended to call a meet* ing ou the subject early next week, said Ulttt men mutt tie found to fill up the gaps in the Expeditionary Force. It was now a question of who was to tako it in hand. Xho Defence authorities had done their best, but had not met with success. Ho said it was a tact that men had to be obtained from the .North Island to make up the Otago quotas. That was a slur ou. Utago in general and Dunedin in particular. The Defence authorities would tako any number of recruits, but how and where were they to be got? The country was looking to Dunedin for a, lead. There was plenty of money in hand for the purpose, but the real trouble was to raise the required men. He was satisfied that a large manner of young men wero shirking their duty, and the seriousness of the position would have to be brought home to them. He would like to see a committee set up to go into the matter. Lieutenant-colonel Jstoneham explained that the .National Reserve had been wait-

ing for some responsible organisation to taue charge of the recruiting of our young men. There were numbers of young man from 21 years of ago up to 55 lit to go to the front. They had sent a number under the age of Ml, and lie thought it was a disgrace to New Zealand that they had to call ou such young men when there were thousands of the age fit to go. Some effort must be made to get the latter to come lorward for service. They did not want to bring'in compulsion, but if these men did not come forward something would have to be done to compel them to do so. Mr J Roberts said he had received a letter that morning from a lady worker referring in the strongest terms to tho necessity of taking steps towards recruiting. Personally ho was of the opinion that the ladies would do trojans' work if they only got the opportunity. Dr .Marshall said it was possible that the people did not fully realise the seriousness of the crisis. It would therefore be well if something could be done to stimulate the imagination of the people. Iho Mayor replied that the members present indicated a desire on their part to do what they could to help tho Empire. But he trusted that the deputation had not been carried away by anonymous letter writers in the Press. Dunedin had done as much as any other eity in tho Dominion in her efforts to get recruits. This wna not a civic matter at aIL So fjU . Defence Department had asked the Mavors ot the various cities to do anything they wished them to do, and so far as lie knew the citizsns throughout New Zealand had come forward, and had nobly fulfilled any request made by the Defences Department. The Mayors had not yet been asked by the Defence Department to do anything in this relation. First of all, the Government should state what they were prepared to do for the dependents of those who might be maimed or lulled. Ho thought it was absolutely necessary that tho Government should state what thev were prepared to do in that direction", if they were only prepared to adhere to the terms of the Defence Act, then they werc not doing sufficient for the dependents. He felt sure that if the Government would say that by every steamer leaving New Zealand ports for England they would send so many men, and paid the passage money, they would soon get all the iccruits they required. The men largely were disgusted with the treatment they received at the hands of tho Defence Department. The troopships had cost the Dominion an enormous sum of money, and if the Government had adopted the plan he had suggested, at a very low estimate they could now havo had "5,000 men in Britain. At present they had not one. It was men in England that were required, not men training in camps in New Zealand. Ha noticed that some of the gentlemen present were inclined io differ from him, but tiiey were welcome to their own opinion. That was his opinion. The troops would have been equipped at Home with Imperial ideas, and at a much lesser ■cost. Tt seemed to him that big guns were move necessary in the war than horses.. Again, the Defence Department must assist applicants for enrolment to a greater extent than it had done in the past. He would give three cases out of many that had come under his notioa. One".applicant for enrolment went to the Defence" Office. H« was left sitting in a room for two hours. Then someone appeared, and told him io come the next day. Ho returned the following day, and then was sworn at. Another man, 6ft 3in, without an ounce of superfluous flesh, and a man who had lived in tli- country all his life, and was used to horses, was rejected because of fome trivial infirmity that had never bothered him in his life. A third man was rejected because one of his feet was slightly deformed. He never before knew of it, and his pe°P le never knew of it. Further, public bodies, from the Government downwards, must encourage enlistment. Ho did not think that the Government had done all they should have done to encourage enlistment. Even city corporations should encourace it. and 'he instanced a case- where he had instructed tho city engineer to give work to a man until he was called on to enter camp. What were the Government doing? He held in his hand a notice posted at one of the branches of the Government service, and it road : Those casuals, who desire to join an Expeditionary Force should tender their resignation, and on conclusion of tho war they will be considered for reemployment, provided they a.re not incapacitated, and vncanoies exist. It must he made quite dead' that no guarantee can be given that work will be available on their return to the Dominion. •Another notice read :

The areueroJ manager direct* that owing to the serious depletion of staff due to the number of applicants who have been granted leave to join the Expeditionary Force, the department lias been reluctantly compelled to decline all further applications for leave. Now. was that encouraging? In conclusion, he was quite willing to assist in anv movement that miglii be taken in hand. Public meetings had been suggested. Ho was inclined to think that the public were getting nauseated with public meetings. (Voices : " No.") Well, if they thought the people would turu up, well and good. The Patriotic Committee had decided to discuss this question at their next meeting, and it seemed to him that it would be sufficient, to leave it to them. If they thought it was a matter of more urgency, and a, meeting was necessary, he would not throw any obstacles in the way. Mr .7. A«. Park had not intended to have spoken, but for His Worship's remark that the public appeared to be nauseated with these patriotic meetings. He whollv disagreed with that. (Applause). These meetings had not really begun, and there had not been a proper patriotic meeting liko those Dunedin held m the davs of the Boer War, when they got from "£2,000 to £3,000 in a single night. Recruits were the need of the hour, and he was sorry to see that the Mavor did not look with favor thereon.

The Mayor: I did not say anything of the sortMr Park,: 2*"o one could take any other inference from your Worship's remarks. We want to get a move on, and we want a really patriotic leader. (Applause.) Your Worship talks about anonymous letters, but we take no notice of them. There is a delay in recruiting, and I say it is a disgrace to Otago and particularly Dunedin that it should bo so. It is not the fault of the people, but the want of organisation. I say that deliberately. If your Worship does not approve of the idea, then say so, and we can go ahead without offending you. We come hero out of courtesy to you. We must give a lead to recruiting, aud wc do not want to have to look back and say that the response was a diaorace to. our Cit^

The Mayor said ho was sorry that some people seemed to havo taken a wrong idea from his remarks. Ho had said distinctly that ho was hot opposed to recruiting. Ho wished that Mr Park would not come to meetings with the sole idea of finding fault.

Mr Park: I am not here to find fault. The Mayer: It is no use Mr Park (warmly) : I came here to do my duty as a citizen of Dunedin. I would point out that I hare been in public lifo for 20 or 30 yeans—long before you entered it.

The Mayor tetorted that Mr Park had only attended tiro meetings, and found fault with, something at both. Finally, Mr Washer moved that the executives of the National Reserve and the Patriotio Committed meet the deputation on Monday afternoon and discuss the positiosi, m order that something definite might bo done.

Mr A. S. Adams, in seconding, said they all regretted if there had been any misconception in connection with the Mayor's remarks. If a proper publio meeting was arranged there would be such a response that- would astonish the people. The motion was carried.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141121.2.37

Bibliographic details

RECRUITS WANTED, Issue 15656, 21 November 1914

Word Count
1,663

RECRUITS WANTED Issue 15656, 21 November 1914

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