POW Drains

The Grantham Journal on May 5th 1917 reported:

“The Bingham district Agricultural Committee forwarded a resolution to the meeting of the Notts Court of Sewers on Saturday, in which they asked that steps be taken to secure German prisoners of war to clear out Carr Dyke, which was in very bad condition, and as flooding many hundreds of acres of land. They suggested the prisoners could be accommodated at the Bingham Workhouse. The Chairman(Mr Louis F Pearson) said that this was a most serious question. The Bingham dyke was choked with sewage.

The Clerk (Mr W F Tallents) observed that the Bingham sewerage authorities undertook to clean out the dykes four times a year, and they had not carried out their promise. No cleaning had been done since October 1916.

The Surveyor said that one dyke was in a fearful state with 1ft 9in of sewage in the bed. ]

Ultimately it was agreed, on the motion of Major T Huskinson, seconded by Mr Henry Smith, to write to Lord Galway, the chairman of the Notts War Agricultural Committee, urging that German prisoners should be employed to clean out the Carr Dyke through the parishes of Bingham, Car Colston, Screveton, Hawksworth, and Elston, in order to free for cultivation a large area of land of great fertility which was at present quite unproductive.

Major Huskinson remarked that when the war was over a proper drainage system would have to be carried out in the Bingham district. Matters were still worse in the dykes in the northern part of the county, but they were very bad indeed in the Bingham area.

Mr Henry Smith said that the sub-committee had inspected the dykes, and thought they ought to be cleaned out, but having regard to the scarcity of labour, they felt it was difficult if not impossible to do it just now. The suggestion of employing German prisoners might, however, solve the problem.
The opinion was offered that the soil in this district was better adapted than any I the country for the suggested cultivation of sugar beet, and the resolution was carried.

Major Huskinson reported that the whole of the main Erewash, through to the parish of Toton had been cleared. As a matter of fact, much more work had been done than was at first contemplated.

On the recommendation of the responsible Committee, a rate of 2s 6d in the pound for cleaning the Smite was approved.”

We have so far not found reports of any follow up to the idea. A report in the Nottingham Evening Post for October 20th 1917 where the same concerns were expressed would seem to indicate the PoW idea was not followed up.

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