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[Page 29]

March 8 1918 II

"Are we I.W.W. Members?"
Evidence of Threats

The action against the seven interned Germans, commenced yesterday, was continued this morning before the Military Court at Victoria Barracks. Lieutenant-Colonel Y. le Gay Brereton presided, and his associates were Major Murray and Captain Spain. Lieutenant Lloyd prosecuted.

The accused Germans were: O Kussicke, F Schimming, M Vorber, C Berenson R Muller, A Krist, and Goller. The complaint was that on February 18, while interned at Holdsworthy, and to the prejudice of the safe custody and control of prisoners of war, they left their platoon sheds after "lights out" and created a tumult close to the fence round the compound in which they were confined, continuing this although ordered by Lieutenant Morton to return to their shed.

Corporal William Henry Poole, of the Military Police, was cross-examined by Krist: Did any of the officers give you orders to especially blacken me and Jack Goller? - Certainly not. Are you aware that we are supposed to be members of the I.W.W.? - I have heard so. - I have seen placards you have in the compound.

Were we pointed out and mentioned, so as we looked like the leaders of the strike?  €“ No, I know that there are I.W.W. prisoners in the compound. I only know what I have seen.

Sergeant Lever said that the accused were making a row together. Krist was walking up and down, using filthy language. Kussicke said: "We won't always be in this compound; and when we get out the German Governors will give you ten years."

To Kussicke: Witness had been on duty at the camp for two years. He had never known Kussicke misbehave previously, and it was possible that he heard only the last of Kussicke's remarks, while approaching the compound.

To Schimming: Witness had been for 10 months at "Sing Sing". Neither then nor on any occasion previous to the date in question had he heard Schimming make insulting remarks.

When questioned by Muller the witness stated: "If you hadn't started a row we wouldn't have had so much trouble with any of the others." Corporal J.T. Anscombe, who was in charge of No 2 Company Guard on the night of February 18, said that about 8.20p.m., at what was known as No 1 Catwalk at the camp, he heard someone within the compound sawing wood, and on notifying the field officer he was ordered, with a file of the guard to the compound On their reaching the entrance one of the seven Germans gave the alarm to the others, who lined up and prevented a passageway for the inspecting officer. The Germans obeyed their officer's order to stand back, but Goller said: "Don't talk to us like dogs  €“ we are gentlemen" The guard left the compound, whither witness, at 10.30 p.m. was attracted by further disturbance, and where he saw a prisoner with a axe striking the fourth upright pile holding the partition of the platoon shed. It was too dark to discern who the axeman was.


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