Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/81

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75
THE PERIL OF THE CENSORSHIP
the war. He did not say that there had been any concealment, but the one thing necessary was to let the people of this and other countries feel that our official news was true, and could be relied upon. He wondered whether the House realised what a tremendous event the battle of Ypres, in November, was. The British losses there, he thought, were bigger than any battle in which purely English troops were engaged. It was a terrible fight, against overwhelming odds, out of which British troops came with tremendous honour. All the account they had had was Sir John French's despatch. Surely the country could have more than that. Whoever was in charge, when weighing the possible damage which might be brought about by the giving of news, should also bear in mind the great necessity for keeping people in this country as well informed as possible."

That, I venture to think, is a perfectly fair and legitimate criticism. The battle of Ypres was fought in November. Mr. Law was speaking in February. Who can say what the country would have gained in recruiting, in strength of determination, in everything that goes to make up the morale so necessary for the vigorous conduct of a great campaign, had it been given, at once, an adequate description of the "terrible fight against overwhelming odds" out of which the British Thomas Atkins came with so much honour?

The military critics of our newspapers have, perhaps, been one of the greatest failures of the entire campaign. One of them, on the day before Namur fell, assured us that the place could hold out for three months. Another asserted that the Russians would be in Berlin by September 10th. Another, just before the Germans drove the Russians for the second time out of East Prussia, declared that Russia's campaign was virtually ended! Besides,