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ADMIRAL STURDEE SPEAKS., Issue 15688, 30 December 1914
ADMIRAL STURDEE SPEAKS.
TO THE KDITOR.
Sir,—Admiral Sturdee uttered forcible words when he said " British business men, forgetting their true interests, employed Germans lor reasons of economy. tie" hoped that traders and British shippine: companies had (earned a lesson." It is only too true that British shipowners, for years past, have for reasons of economy discouraged British seamen, -while training in British ships German recruits for the German navy. Admiral £turdee might have slated the position thns : " The policy of British shipowners for years past has been profits before patriotism." Perhaps the same indictment might, apply to Britishers living outside of Britain. Is it not a fact th;>t German stokers for the German navy we re trained until this war broke out on oversea, steamers carrying dairy produce from New Zealand to London at contract rates?
It seems a shocking thing to say that any Britisher put his profits before his patriotism, but if such is the case, •why should it not be referred to as Admiral Stunlee. has referred to it. .Might one
ask whether there is any connection between it and the alleged paucity of war recruits from Otago? One could not help noticing that many of those who condemned our young men for not offering more freely for the war did not themselves rush the opportunity to do military service at Samoa. It is so easy to denounce the badness of the other fellow. Just one more reference to Admiral Sturdee's burning words and tho estimated shortness of Otago recruits. What is the attitude of some of tho local
"powers that be?" Is the clement of profits at all involved? One was much struck with the attitude of certain " powers" in respect to tho case of the sailors who recently volunteered for the front from an oversea steamer at Dimedin. Some of those volunteer sailors were trained men, and they would have been valuahlo in the ranks. It will be remembered that after those men had volunteered and been accepted for active srrvico they were brought before the Court and "sent back aboard their ship, their patriotism costing them from their meagre wages the court costs involved in preventing them from fighting for their country in time of need. Was this not at bottom a case of profits before patriotism? Who was at the bottom of it? The whole difficulty seems to have lain in the fact that had these men gone to the front the ship would have had to pay tho difference between the Heme and the New Zealand rates of seamen's wages for those w-ho took the places of tho recruits. Was this not a question of profits. The captain, it is true, offered to
lot the men go if they put other men in, their places on the ship. That offer looked magnanimous on the surface, but the canker was at the root of it. In fact, it looked mean when one understood that thoso members of the (row who offered to go and fight for the flap did not possess the means to pay the difference between London and Now Zealand rates of wages tn those who took their places. The peoplo who should have paid that difference, and who were well able to pay it, were the owners of the ship. Out of the many thousands of pounds accruing in profits from that voyage surely the shipowners could have paid the difference in rate.-; of watrcs. To the shipowners it would have been a mere trifle, v.hib- to the uatriotic sailors it was siniplv :iit impossibility, for they • Ji■ J not have the inoii"v to do it. The argument w.-is ;<!s'i used against the finhtiii'-; sailors that it was more urgent to get the ship's e:ir.no c> t" nroducp to Eiu;l.'nnl than it was to have the sailors in the ranks. That was plausible, but .'il-c without bottom. It was merely another phase of the matter of paying the difference between the London and the Xew Zealand rates of wanes to a few seamen for a period of about two months. Admiral Sturdee puts patriotism hefore profits, ami so do all true British seamen.— I am. etc Kx-Shixlhack
ADMIRAL STURDEE SPEAKS., Issue 15688, 30 December 1914
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