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Local History 43


ment or affiliation to the Krupp family and Ports- mouth was not visible from the Toat Monument. In fact, he had offered the use of the tower to the mili- tary authorities on the outbreak of war, but this was of course of no concern to those intent on seeing Mr Sehmer removed from the locality.


Aside from local rumour mongering, Mr Sehmer also was soon to find himself under the gaze of Parlia- ment. The first entry in Hansard appears on 19th May 1915 when the Conservative and Unionist Party MP Ronald McNeill advocated his arrest and intern- ment “until he offers satisfactory proof of his loyalty” on account of him allegedly signalling to ships in the Channel from his home, observing the Portsmouth Dockyard, allegiances to the German cause and connections to the armaments factory. Mr McNeill once again questioned the Government on 9th June 1915 regarding Ernest Sehmer’s status and whether or not he had yet been interned.


A year later on 20th July 1916, Ronald McNeill tried his luck once again, accusing Mr Sehmer of having relocated to 21 South Terrace, Littlehamp- ton – which faced the sea – and questioned the Home Secretary if “it is proposed to allow this man of hostile origin and association to remain unin- terned?” In this instance, The Home Secretary informed Mr McNeill that Me Sehmer had not moved to Littlehampton, but was on holiday there with his British-born wife and family and that there was not any grounds for suspicion or internment.


Even once the War was over, Mr Sehmer was the subject of yet another debate in the House of Com- mons on 20th February 1919 when the Horsham and Worthing Constituency MP, Earl Winterton, reminded the Prime Minister of Mr Sehmer’s pres- ence in Pulborough and that “considerable local


feeling and unrest has been caused in the neighbourhood…even thought their loyalty to the Crown may not be in doubt” and asked him whether he would support the call that in the event of a future war that the County Council would be given the power to compulsorily evict Mr Sehmer from his own land, confiscate his property and re- sell it to any returned servicemen in the local area!


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