A crumpled Notts Free Press clipping dated March 5th, 1948, sent by Elizabeth Pacey who asks if anyone can shed details about her great uncle Mr. Fred J. Wield. Named here being locally involved in the Notts. War Agricultural committee, while forming a Ukrainian Choir from a Common Road resettlement hostel.
The article also exposes an overlooked war torn plight of many World War Two refugees, plus the countries post war need for replacing a heavily depleted workforce. Mention is given of their attendance at Huthwaite evening classes, which were held in New Street Council Schools, later named John Davis. The Huthwaite Church Club was probably then still held in the older Blackwell Road National School building. Intrigued by their otherwise unknown Common Road Hostel, this now almost certainly appears to address the former Huthwaite Prisoner of War camp, extending temporary usage of the workers spacious wooden huts
Determined efforts are being made in his locality to provide European voluntary workers, who are employed on the land, in factories and mines in the area, with recreational facilities and social contacts.
Considerable progress in this direction has been made since Mr. F. J. Wield became warden of the Notts. War Agricultural Executive Committee's hostel on Common Road, Huthwaite. Before Mr. Wield came to Huthwaite there was in existence a mixed choir consisting of agricultural workers from the Huthwaite hostel, miners from the Mansfield district, and girls employed at Mansfield factories, with Mr. J. Marchewka, the assistant warden at the Huthwaite hostel, as conductor.
The whole of the choir, which also includes a group of dancers, are Ukrainians, and recently gave a concert at St. Michael's Church Hall, Sutton. Ambitious plans are on foot to bring into being a concert party covering the whole of Nottinghamshire. It is expected that between 300 and 400 of these workers will be available to form a choir, which there are **** instrumentalists and dancers, ..., under the Chairman of Mr. F. Cookman, Mansfield, Labour Supervisor. S, Mary Church, Mansfield, run a class, the benefit of these workers, while at Huthwaite recreational facilities are available at the hostel, and the workers also use the Huthwaite Church Youth Club premises one evening each week.English Classes.
English classes have been provided at the Huthwaite and Sutton Evening Institutes, under Mr. Johnson and Mr. A. Hatfield respectively, while Mr. Wield and Mr. Marchewka also provide instruction in the English language on two evenings at the hostel. The Sutton class has unfortunately had to be terminated.
When interviewed by a representative of the "Free Press," Mr. Wield stressed that the whole idea behind his work at Huthwaite was to bring the workers into social contact with English people. The Ukrainians had had a hard time, said Mr. Wield. During the German occupation they had to leave their own country to work for the Germans, and now they could not go back as the Russians claimed they had helped the Germans. They were waiting for the day when the Russians left the Ukraine or were driven out.
Mr. Wield said there were one or two people in Sutton who invited residents of the hostel into their homes occasionally. He would like to see more of that kind of thing, and repudiated strongly the idea which some people seemed to have, that the European voluntary workers were of the same standard as Germans and Italians.
All the residents of the Huthwaite camp are employed on the land, and are absent from 6.30 in the morning to 6.30 in the evening.
Mr. Wield paid tribute to the help he had received from the Sutton W.V.S.- "They have a very capable person in Miss Miller; she is one of the best," he said - Mr. Johnson, Mr. Hatfield, Mr. Street of the Huthwaite Church Club, and the Nottingham Branch of the British Red Cross Society.
Stressing that his main object was to get the men to mix socially with local residents, Mr. Wield remarked that the bigger proportion of them would become naturalised Englishmen. If local people would mix with them, it would be a big help in teaching the men the English language and about English government and laws, of which many of them knew nothing.
Written 19 Mar 09 Revised 26 Apr 12 © by Gary Elliott