What Happened in England.
On leaving Berlin our squadron was
part of the force that had to return to England.
I had hoped to break the journey at Brussels, to meet
Helen Goche, but Fate stepped in. To my disappointment
the troop-trains passed on to Ostend along a line
to the south of Brussels.
On arrival in England, the Flying
Corps were not disbanded, but were attached to the
Nap, however, desired to return to
the United States, and as we shook hands in “good-bye,”
I felt I was losing a friend to whom adventurous days
had linked me by heart-grips.
“I’m going along through
to that country of yours,” he said to me as he
swung into the train. “From what you tell
me, it must be ‘some place.’ We’ll
grip again there, sure.” And the train pulled
out and tore him out of my life for many days.
The months succeeding the Declaration
of Peace were troublesome times for England.
Troops were pouring back from the Continent and being
dismissed to return to jobs they found had disappeared.
During the war a fine spirit of “cheer
up” generally prevailed. People tried to
put vim into themselves by tacking the motto over their
shops: “Business as Usual.”
They knew full well that business was nearly dead;
but they were like the boy who whistled going through
the graveyard in order to keep up his courage.
Apart from the trades making munitions
of war, few factories maintained their full output.
Recruiting lessened the number of employees, and those
who stayed behind fought for shorter hours and higher
wages. Investors generally eased off, as money
was too high in value to risk in new concerns in such
uncertain times. Even the highly boosted scheme
to bring back to England from Germany the Aniline
dye industry failed for the want of the necessary
Then a great movement was inaugurated
throughout the British Empire. “Trade only
with the Allies.” It seemed a fine idea
in theory, but when Russia, in desiring to place an
order for L1,400,000 worth of railway plant, found
English prices inflated by labor demands and placed
the order with America, the “Trade-only-with-the-Allies”
movement began to wobble.
Then the troops began to pour back
into England in thousands. Manufacturers and
investors kept off of any new enterprises as they saw
the Asquith Government, always rather radical, lending
a sympathetic ear to the workers’ demand that
the State should control all industries.
Cities and towns now began to fill
with unemployed and riots broke out everywhere.
Then the Government took action.
All steel and woollen industries were placed under
military control with “preference to returned
The outcries of the owners were pacified
by the promise of 10 per cent. of all profits on work
done, with proportional profits according to the value
of the plant and enterprise. But under the military
control, as increased wages were given and shorter
hours worked in order to absorb all unemployed, profits
The General Elections in February,
1916, divided the country into two parties. The
Humanist party, headed by Lloyd-George and Blatchford,
aiming at Government control of all production, and
the Individualist party, in which Winston Churchill
was prominent, standing for “private enterprise.”
Though the latter had behind it the full force of British
capitalists, the Humanist party, elected on a general
franchise, swept the poll. Thus England became
Socialistic. Heavy land and income taxes followed
with high wages ruling for the working classes.
It was a bloodless revolution!