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Reports by Lieutenant Colonel H Picot on visits to interned British Prisoners of War

Letters concerning the visit of Miss Kirkup to Chateau d'Oex, Switzerland, November 1916

This information regarding the application for Connie Kirkup to visit British Prisoner of War Elliot Angus Leybourne has been transcribed from the reports of Lieutenant Colonel Picot, contained in a document held by The National Archives, ref. FO 383/217:

Copy letter from Lieut. Colonel M Earle, Senior British Officer, Chateau d’Oex, to Lieut. Colonel H Picot, Officer in Charge British Interned in Switzerland, 14 November 1916

Chalet Mysotis [Myosotis]
Chateau d’Oex

Officer in Charge British Interned in Switzerland.

I am enclosing a letter from Mr Leybourne, and I hope that you will see your way to support his application. It appears to me that, as private soldiers have been able to get their young ladies out to Switzerland, the Authorities should, in fairness, extend the same privileges to officers.

Would you please let me know whether you can forward this application to the proper authority?

(signed) M. Earle, Lieut. Colonel.

Minute by Colonel Picot

To S.B.O. [Senior British Officer]
Chateau d’Oex

The ruling as far as I can gather is that near relatives and fiancees only are allowed to come to Switzerland. As far as giving facilities on my part are concerned I have only dealt with the cases of young ladies, fiancees to officers and men when a marriage in Switzerland is contemplated. If such is in contemplation in the present instance, I will approach the Authorities at Home.

(signed) H. Picot, Lieut. Colonel
Officer in Charge British Interned in Switzerland.

Copy letter from Lieut. Colonel M Earle, Senior British Officer, Chateau d’Oex, to Lieut. Colonel H Picot, Officer in Charge British Interned in Switzerland, 20 November 1916

Officer in Charge, British Interned in Switzerland

I attach letter from Lieut. Leybourne. He restates his case clearly and I trust you will see your way to furthering his request.

(signed) E.M. Jones, Major
For Senior British Officer
Chateau d’Oex, 20.11.16.

Copy letter from Lieut E A Leybourne to the Senior British Officer, Chateau d’Oex, 20 November 1916

E.A. Leybourne, Lieut.
8th Durham Lt Inf.,
Le Grand Chalet,

Senior British Officer, Chateau d’Oex
November 20th 1916

With reference to Min 2. of attached, I now resubmit my
application for permission for Miss Kirkup to come to this
country. The following are the points I wish to bring to notice.
1. Miss Kirkup is engaged to me (see attached cutting).
2. The question of the date and place of my marriage I must
reserve as the course of the war in the next few months
influences matters considerably.
3. Miss Kirkup is the head of a hospital in connection with
Government Ammunition works at Birtley, C/o Durham, and has
devoted herself to the country’s work ever since the commence-
ment of the War.
4. As my mother and sister are now out here and propose to remain
in the country there is no difficulty about someone to look after
my fiancee while here.
5. An application for a passport made by Miss Kirkup has already
been refused. As soldiers’ wives and fiancees are brought out
here freely at the Public expense I would respectfully urge, that
I myself as an officer should not be debarred from this privilege
when my case implies no expense to the State.
5. Miss Kirkup’s home address is ;-
Leafield House,
Birtley R.S.O.,
Co. Durham. England.

I am etc., (signed)
E.A. Leybourne. Lieut. 8th D.L.I.

Copy of cutting from Newspaper

An engagement is announced between Elliot Angus,
Lieutenant Durham Light Infantry, only son of the late S. J.
Leybourne J.P. and Mrs Leybourne of Bircholme, Gateshead-on-
Tyne, and Constance, only daughter of Philip Kirkup, J.P.,
M.Inst., C.E., and Mrs Kirkup of Leafield, Birtley, County

Copy letter from Lieut. Colonel H Picot to the Secretary, War Office, London, 24 November 1916

24 November 1916
I have the honour to enclose some correspondence between Lieutenant E. A. Leybourne, 8th Durham Lt. Infantry, and this office regarding a proposed visit of his fiancee to Switzerland. My minute 2 will show you the line I have taken on such questions and which I believe to express the wishes of the Authorities at home that only near relatives and fiancees who wish to be married in the country should be allowed to come out.

I request you to give the matter your consideration and inform me what action I am to take.

I have no objection to Miss Kirkup, the lady immediately concerned, coming out. She seems to be in every way desirable and would be under the care of Lieut. Leybourne’s mother.

I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient Servant.

(signed) H. Picot. Lieut. Colonel.
Officer in Charge British Interned in Switzerland

War Office
London S.W.

For more information see The National Archives

Date: 14-24 November 1916

Reference: FO 383/217

Where to find this: The National Archives

Contributed by Durham County Record Office | Margaret Eason

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