« PreviousContinue »
Mr. Rean, I was a little bit interested in this fund you spoke of from which you were taking care of boys who fought with the Allies before we got into the war. That is true, is it not?
Mr. Lysons. Yes, sir.
Mr. REED. This statement was made to me by an official, an English official, and of course I have no way of verifying it, but he stated that we had 10,000 American boys fighting with the Canadian forces and 6,000 fighting with the French forces before we got into the war.
Do you know of your own knowledge, or have you any information on the subject, as to how many of those boys fighting with the Canadian forces and with the French forces were injured?
Mr. Lysons. No, sir; I do not. We have cases of that kind coming to our attention all the time. On account of the limited fund of $100,000 that we have had to hold ourselves to on that appropriation we, of course, try to persuade these boys to go to Canada or France or England and take their training there, which they can get under the laws of those countries, Canada especially. A great many of them have done that. There are, however, cases coming to us right along that we feel that we should take care of. For instance, a boy that lives in this country and may have dependents and can not very well leave.
Mr. REED. That is the point exactly. From talking to these boys, do they seem to feel that their own Government ought to furnish this training for them, even though they received their injuries before we got into the war?
Mr. Lysons. Yes, sir; I think they do.
Mr. REED. About how many of that kind of cases have come under your observation?
Mr. Lysons. We have 74 boys in training now on our support fund. There have been probably that many in addition—perhaps twice that many-who have either given up the idea of vocational training or have gone to Canada to take it.
Mr. REED. And have you ever communicated with the Canadian officials, or the English or French officials, to find out how many of our boys are in training over there who were injured before we got into the war?
Mr. LYSONS. No: I do not know that.
Mr. Doxovan. What is your best guess as to how many have been in the French, Canadian, and English forces?
Mr. Lysons. I would prefer not to try to answer that.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Lysons, the committee wants to express its appreciation to you for coming and giving us this information, and I want to make the statement now for the record, since I think that there is some misconception about the original plan of the law. Rehabilitation was at first purely voluntary. Even up to this day in France it is largely so. The Governments had not undertaken it in Europe to any extent whatever when we started here.
It was only the convictions, on the part of our Government, that our duty to the soldier was not ended until it had taken the wounded man and put him on his own feet again, and we thought we would do it by the Government wholly, but in the consideration of the bill, which ran over weeks of time, they persisted that we ought to keep open the opportunity of receiving assistance for this work, both in actual training and in funds, and that every question provoked a serious discussion as to whether the Government itself ought to receive any funds from outside sources. It was decided that in view of the tremendous work it would be perfectly legitimate. The Government certainly appreciates the work that the Elks' organization has done. It must not be considered, however, that the Government is refusing necessary funds. I am sure that the Government stands ready to grant, or to make any appropriations necessary to do the work. Congress adjourned by limitation of law on the 4th of March, but we were called in special session on the 9th of May, and one of the earliest bills to be introduced was the deficiency appropriation bill to provide the necessary appropriations for this.
I think that your example of a revolving fund having been instituted by your organization is a very good one for the Government to follow. However, that has never been presented to us; for that reason I think the committee owes more than the usual gratitude to you for coming to us and giving us this clear statement of the work in cooperation with the Government.
We are very much obliged to you.
Mr. Lysons. I would like to say that I know every member of the Elks War Relief Commission will thoroughly appreciate the attitude of the committee and all the Members of Congress, and I know, too, that they are perfectly willing to continue this work just as long as it can be of any service to the boys.
Mr. VESTAL. Just one other question : Don't you think, Mr. Lysons, that every individual Elk feels the same way about it?
Mr. Lysons. I know it, Mr. Vestal.
(Whereupon, at 12 o'clock noon, the committee recessed until 2 o'clock p. m., this day.)
The committee reassembled at 2 o'clock p. m., pursuant to recess.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. We will now hear Mr. Hammond.
STATEMENT OF MR. FRANK M. HAMMOND, BROOKLYN, N. Y. The witness was duly sworn by the chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Hammond, will you please state your name and your present address.
Mr. HAMMOND. My name is Frank M. Hammond, 316 Cumberland Street, Brooklyn, N. Y.
The CHAIRMAN. You have been subpænaed here as a witness on these charges? Mr. HAMMOND. I received a telegram requesting my presence here.
The CHAIRMAN. I think it would be best to allow you to proceed in your way, to tell your experience in your efforts to secure vocational training.
Mr. HAMMOND. I enlisted in the United States Army April 20, 1917, and went to France. While in France I was wounded slightly July 16, 1918. In October of the same year I was gassed, which gave me a condition which now causes my disability.
I was discharged from the Twenty-seventh Division at Camp Upton, New York, on April 2, 1918.
My first impression of the Federal board, of knowing that there was such a thing as the Federal board, was by an ex-officer who was rooming where I was. I was working, or trying to work at the time, and the work necessitated my being indoors, and my condition was pitiful.
The CHAIRMAN. Where was this; where were you working?
Mr. HAMMOND. In New York. And on returning home these different nights I was talking to this ex-officer, who knew something about the workings of the Federal board and the Bureau of War Risk Insurance and compensation. He stated that he thought my condition warranted my getting compensation and vocational training. That was in December, 1918, about the 28th of December. On the 31st of December I made application with the Bureau of War Risk Insurance for compensation, and they had me examined, both at 280 Broadway and at the Polyclinic Hospital.
I then, about the 1st of January, having been told that there was such a thing as a Federal board, made application at the Federal Board for Vocational Training. Before going there I did not know how I would make out. I had been told by various men that it was a thing that you have to fight to get; which, however, I did not believe until this man with the one arm this ex-officer—told me the only method of getting any satisfaction out of them. He told me that I would have to, upon going there, say to the clerk when asked what my business was there, that I wanted to speak to Mr. Clark. Somehow or other, this was a bywood to pass by the clerk. So I said to the clerk: “I want to speak to Mr. Clark," and he said, “On what business?" I said, “personal business.” And personal business was really the only thing that would get you by. However, I didn't see Mr. Clark that day.
The CHAIRMAN. Wasn't he there?
Mr. HAMMOND. That I don't know. I didn't know who the gentleman was that I was ushered in to. At the time I thought it was Mr. Clark, but on seeing Mr. Clark here, I know that he was not the man. I thought it was Mr. Clark. However, he looked over my note that I had, and he said, “ We will take the matter up immediately. You will be examined in a little while.” However, this man must have been acting for Mr. Clark, but I don't know anything more about it. So I immediately left there and started over to be examined.
First, I met an adviser. I talked with one of the advisers, and he seemed to be the first man that I had met that really had anything at heart for the soldiers. He showed some interest in what I said. These other men that I met, the officious clerks—they seemed to be very officious—seemed to feel that they were on a different plane than the soldiers that were going in there for training and desiring training. So this gentleman, this adviser-he was an exPrinceton man, I think-talked to me on my work, and he said he thought things would go pretty smoothly for me. So I left him, and I went over to the pen. That is, the second pen. There are two pens in the New York Federal board office. I will explain that. First, you come into the door as you get out of the elevator, and
there are a lot of so-called easy-chairs, but there were about 50 men waiting there every morning for some information, and about 20 chairs to fill. You come up to the desk, and you take your place, and if you have the byword or the password you get through.
I got through there, and I saw Mr. Clark on that information that I received before, by stating the password, as it were. I managed to get through. So I was then headed for the second pen. I found that there were a number of clerks in that office; in fact, it looked to me, more clerks than was necessary for the small amount of men that were examined that day. There were not, I can safely say, over 10 men in that second pen when I got there. There were four chairs; that is, there were 10 men, 4 seated and the other 6 lounging around. Some of them stated in a jocular way that they had been there three or four days back, and they were still coming and waiting their chance.
So the pen began to increase. I put my card on the stenographer's desk, and I spoke to her and wanted to know about what time my case would come through. “Well,” she said, “ some are being examined.” I said, “How many are being examined ?” She said " There are three doctors.” And that is all that I saw the whole day while I was there. So I trotted around. I didn't have a chair, and I stood up with the rest of the men and listened to the remarks. And, in fact, they all seemed cut up about the proposition; the fact that they had been there so often and couldn't get their examination, or, they had waited so long that they had to leave. Some of the men were from out of town, men coming from Long Island. For instance, my actual residence is in Long Island, but I am rooming in New York, because I am employed there, and Long Island men if they wish to be examined have to go down to the New York Federal board to be examined. Such men as that have to get a certain train out if they want to go home. Naturally they haven't too much money, so they have to get that train or they are out of luck. So such men as that leave daily out of this crowd that waits there. The point I am trying to bring out is that I am safe in saying that there must have been easily 200 people employed by the Federal board in that office. There were no more--I am positive that there were no more than 30 menthat is the maximum, not the minimum; the maximum number of men examined that day, the whole day.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you state upon your own information that there were 200 employees there?
Mr. HAMMOND. No, sir: I don't say that. That is my assumption. The CHAIRMAN. And there were three doctors?
Mr. HAMMOND. Three doctors, to my knowledge. Three doctors that I could see and that I saw men going to. And these men were right there.
The CHAIRMAN. Could you tell how long it would take to examine all of the boys?
Mr. HAMMOND. It seemed to me that the average time taken was about 30 minutes.
The CHAIRMAN. How long were you there?
Mr. HAMMOND. I was there from 10 o'clock in the morning until 12 o'clock noon. I asked at that time would I be examined around about 12 o'clock, and they said “No; you go out to dinner now, and
come back.” Now, in stating that, at 12 o'clock, I want to say that there were about 20 men there. Some of those men got disgusted and said that they were not coming back. They had been waiting so long, two or three days, and it didn't look as though their paper was coming through at all, their opportunity for an examination eren.
At 12 o'clock that day a man came down from the Polyclinic Hospital. I don't know his name, but he was still in uniform. IIe was to be examined. He was a sick man; so sick he could not stand up. The other fellows got up and gave him a chair, and it took him until about 2 o'clock before he got a special examination.
The CHAIRMAN. You were there from 10 o'clock until 12! •
Mr. HAMMOND. At 12 o'clock, I will now state, I left as per orders, as we all did, to eat. I was told to be back at 1 o'clock. At 1 o'clock I came in and wanted to know about it. I was told to stay in this pen again. I went over there, and this time I found a seat as I came back very early and no one was in being examined at that time. The fellows began starting in again pretty soon. There were about 15 men that had come in; men coming in to be examined.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you have your turn, or how did they arrange who was to be examined first?
Mr. HAMMOND, The way they do it there is by a card. They take your card and it comes along, and as it goes over to this desk the stenographer places it in rotation-supposedly in rotation. I don't object to that. The very fact that she places them in rotation would prove to you that things must have gone pretty slow when I was the tenth man there, unless there might have been two or three special cases ahead of me. I was about the tenth man that was there that morning when I got there, and that was 10 o'clock.
To continue, I came back from lunch and I asked the stenog. rapher there again what my chances were. I said: “ Will I be out of here at all to-night?" I began to have the feeling that the other men had, that they had waited there for three or four days and hadn't been examined. She said-a little fat girl she was; I would recognize her if I saw her again-and she said: “Why, I will just bet you that you won't be out before 5.” And there were about three doctors there still; that is, they had come back from lunch and were still examining.
So I stayed there. I didn't go out. I remained there a while, and a little later one of the clerks came over, and trying to be real bright and crack a joke so it seemed to me--something that should not be regarding soldiers—this happened to be about a soldier. I presume the soldier was shell-shocked, or something of the sort. He came later and appeared to be all in. I was not looking for names at the time; I wasn't thinking of such a thing as a congressional investigation or anything else; I was simply looking after my own case; but these things I couldn't help but notice. This man came in, but previous to his coming in a clerk came over and said to this little fat stenographer, the girl: “We have got a man coming here, and you've got to handle him kind of gently.” He put it that way: “ Handle him gently; use kid gloves." Those are just the words he used: "Handle him gently; use kid gloves