Thurrock News: July 1914-Trouble in the Balkans…..

AS you may know, YT is reporting on the news from March 1914 to November 1918. We want to reflect on life in Thurrock as it goes along.

The news comes from the Tilbury and Grays Gazette. This month, we look at the editor’s column. He has quite a lot to say and for the first time, events in Sarajevo are reflected in his column.

Extracts from the Editor’s column titled “By The Way”

1. The bathing of children

Mr Shield has persuaded his colleagues on the Grays School Managers to ignore the local District Sub-Committee and go straight to the Board of Education with respect to the baths question; the County Education Committee simply being notified of the appeal. Frankly I expect little from the petition. It is a matter almost wholly within the cognisance of the spending authority, which is the County Committee, and they will not be disposed to alter their policy when it is sought to coerce them. The better way would have been for the Managers to have gone to the District Sub-Committee and urged them, in view of the alleged failure of the compromise limiting the baths to verminous and medically unclean children, that they should approach the County body with a view to a wider use of the baths than was at present contemplated. [the Grays School Managers wanted the baths to be available for all children]. It is an arguable case, and it seems to me that the County would have to hear it out. If they refused to do that then extreme steps could be taken. An effort to persuade is much more likely to be successful than an attempt to coerce.


2. Corporal Punishment

An Essex elementary school- teacher who is leaving the profession with a view to ordination made separation an excuse for a protest against the County rule of corporal punishment only by the head-teacher, and asserted that thereby the assistant teacher was deprived of a legal right. I do not appreciate that attitude of mind- at such a period in a man who feels his proper vocation to be that of the Christian ministry. In addition there is no legal right in a teacher of any degree to administer corporal punishment. Everywhere and always it is an assault and the only aspect the law leaves open for consideration after the assault is that of justification. In feature it may be different, but in fact there is nothing which separates the teacher who has assaulted a school child by what is called punishment from the man who has repelled vituperation by a blow. Everywhere and always the question runs; was there justification, and if justification, sufficient of it to warrant the assault? So in school life, the question to be determined by investigation before a Court is that of justification; in this instance, bringing into review all that is implied by school discipline – and for that reason alone, the Essex rule runs for a second opinion when and where it can be obtained before the infliction of punishment by a process of assault. In other words, “If you cane in class immediately on cause, or upset, there may be lacking justification for assault or assault carried too far.”


When the Third Battle Squadron paid a visit to the Thames Estuary early in July there appeared to be no likely interruption of European peace and the monster ironclads seemed rather to be potentialities for mischief than actual perpetrators of red ruin. But the scene has changed. The First Battle Fleet, of which they form part, lies armed, provisioned and manned for the dread alternative should it occur. Austrian troops are in march for the Danube and Servia, and Russia, Germany and France is each uncertain what will happen next, with England ever on the alert. If Austria occupies Serbian territory will Russia help brother Serb, and if Russia helps the Serb will Germany menace her frontier, France go tit-for-tat to Germany and will any disturbance of power bring this country into the welter? Thus it is that our Battle Fleet prepared in Portland Bay for the last word.

As I write the position looks black and suggests all the possibilities of widespread international conflict, but the cost of modern war in life and in money sobers the most reckless of statesmen, and the sheer responsibility of decision may keep the peace.

Let us hope that Sir Edward Grey will be able to provide a way out of the possible complications. Austria seeks to destroy the Serbian kingdom there is certain to be a determined effort to prevent it. How fortune changes! A few months ago Serbia stood triumphant over Bulgaria, the real victor of Balkan war. With Rumania and Greece, she plucked the fruits of victory from that country. Now she is in sore straits herself. How she must rue the rupture of the Balkan confederation! With Bulgaria, Servia and Greece standing firmly together Austria would not have launched her brutal ultimatum consequent on a brutal crime

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