Capt. Treffry Thompson (RAMC) has recovered from his wound and is now working on a Medical Board at the Cowley Barracks assessing those who are a little less enthusiastic about joining up, following the introduction of conscription earlier this year.
He has written with details of some of the cases with which he has been involved.
The following one concerns a time when two gypsies were presented to him:
“The entire room is suddenly disturbed by loud groans from No. 2 of the above pair who is in the hands of the 2nd Inquisitor.
Watch the performance. He groans loudly while his arms and legs are gently moved; swears he cannot move his right shoulder; forgets this a minute later and says it is his left. Says he has violent pains in the right knee and cannot bend it. Limps badly on trial, but unfortunately on the wrong leg.
The 4th Inquisitor arrives with another victim; a hard burly looking man, obviously very reluctant to be passed.
‘This man says he cannot work and never has.’
‘How old are you?’’ ’32.’
‘What’s your work?’ ‘Labourer.’
‘When did you do any labouring?’ ‘I can’t do none.’
‘What do you live on?’ ‘On me wages.’
‘Well you can work then?’ ‘Yes.’
‘What do you complain of?’ ‘Pains.’
‘Where?’ ‘In me ‘ed.’
‘Do you get any pains in your chest?’ ‘Yes, awful pains.’
‘Do you get any in your stomach?’ ‘Yes they does fair double me up.’
‘Do you get any in your back?’ ‘Yes, something cruel.’
‘Do you ever drink any beer?’ ‘What me? No never. Well perhaps I does have a drop occasionally.’
‘Do you get any trembling fits?’ ‘Yes, I goes all of a tremble at times.’
‘Especially when you see work?’ ‘Yes – er no.’
‘Do your feet get cold?’ ‘My feet gets terribly cold.’
‘Well, when you are in the army you can find out what “Cold Feet” means.’”