Women Patrols overseeing the morals of the Manchester Pals

The rejection of these Women Patrols was reported in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser 18 December 1914.  The editor angrily described the proposals as nonsensical and unpleasant, supporting the decision of the Manchester Watch Committee

Women Patrols 1 Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser 18 December 1914

Women Patrols 1 Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser 18 December 1914

If “…these inquisitive and … prying women had been granted authorisation… it would be and an insult to the men of the Manchester battalions…with unpleasant results to the women who…appoint themselves as judges of character of men and women…and apparently intended to accost –and by so doing insult-which they chose to be about with immoral intentions.”

The proposed women patrols were described.

“We say nothing about the qualifications which these objectionable prudes plume themselves…thought reading abilities, and so on…”.

“Who are they to constitute themselves the judges of characters-by instinct we suppose?  The young men who…do not require nurses or guardians and can protect themselves.”

“The probably have sweethearts , some may have wives.  The old Women Patrols 2 Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser 18 December 1914maids who want to be placement should not let their envy lead them to extremes.  Tommy would not love “them” much if they insulted his sweetheart, and insult it would have been had these duennas addressed a couple without an introduction”

The Prude Prowlers clearly hit back – to no avail.

More than a century later, the prospect of women overseeing the men at Heaton Park seems obnoxious.  These men were not angels, but they had come from white collar jobs, answering the call to duty, so there seems no justifacation for civilians to interfere with their moral, lifestyle, or relationship with sweethearts.  19 months later, the men were fighting in the Battle of the Somme.  If individual morals needed policing, it was not the men who went over the top.  Well done Mr Editor.

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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