Ungentlemanly Behaviour

The office of ungentlemanly conduct had got hold of some intercepted telegrams from a German hospital to the relatives of soldiers informing them of theirs son’s, husbands etc. death.

It was decided to use this information by sending a letter to the relatives breaking the bad news, but also adding that any valuable belongings of their dead relatives were to be held in an official office awaiting collection. This was designed to cause a lot of bad feeling and was a clever but cruel trick. The malingering handbook was a booklet designed to help German soldiers pretend to be ill and not have to fight in the war. Obviously the less soldiers fighting for Germany the better it was for Britain.

Letter telling relatives of their loved ones death
The message British propaganda spread was that it is better to be ill and live than be brave and die. The word malinger means someone who pretends to be ill. In the booklet the doctor who wrote it gives lots of advice. He suggests that the malinger appears to be keen to be fit for duty and describes his symptoms to the doctor but does not suggest to the doctor what he might have. This way the doctor is more likely to believe the soldier is genuinely ill. The German authorities really did not like the malingerers handbook, but they must have thought it effective because they translated them and sent them back to the British and American troops.
Inside pages from the malingerer's hand