Thursday, 11 August 2016

First World War Conscientious Objectors from Scottish Islands: Skye

Lewis was not unique among the islands of the north of Scotland in producing a small number of open opponents of the First World War in the form of Conscientious Objectors (COs), along with many, as is better known, whose lives were taken in the conflict. The list of men with the courage of their anti-war convictions includes, for example, residents of Skye, Orkney and Shetland. Unlike those of Lewis, unfortunately, the other islands' files of Appeal Tribunal cases have not survived, so that there is much less chance of being able to access these COs' reasons for their stance, as presented in their own words. With the help of the invaluable Pearce Register, however, it is possible to provide an outline of their stories, particularly tragic in at least two instances, and perhaps to suggest avenues for further research.
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Keyword “Skye” finds 4 records, with transcriptions which confirm their relevance to the island:

Last name        First name     Born   Event [in CO context]         
Borradaile       Borradaile              —       —      
Campbell         Peter                1886   1917     
McIntyre         Angus               1892   1917
McKenzie        Ronald             1885   1916   


One of the four records gives both first name and surname as "Borradaile", suggesting a mistake in data entry or transcription (the Register, though invaluable, is not infallible). This is or was a place-name* on the island although it can also be a surname, albeit an uncommon one, and one which does not appear in Census records referring to the Isle of Skye, or indeed anywhere on Scotland's People for 1901 or 1911. The transcription supplies enough detail to indicate that there is a story here, although exactly  whose, and what happened to him, must await further ferreting-out:-

He (the Military Service Acts of 1916 only applied to males) was an Absentee, having failed to report when called up, or gone on the run. The latter may be suggested by the fact that the Conscientious Objectors Information Bureau lost track of him; if he was lucky, perhaps the military authorities did so too. 

First name(s)   Borradaile
Last name        Borradaile
Age     -
Birth year        -
Year    -
Address           -
Address 2        Isle of Skye
Local authority            5th or Skye County District
County            Invernessshire
Country           Scotland
Latitude          57.38
Longitude       -6.26
Ordnance Survey reference    NG439410
Motivation      -
War Service     8.1.17 waiting 2nd CM (Court Martial) at Inverness - COIB [Conscientious Objectors Information Bureau] lost track of him
Magistrates Court       Arrest reported 12.1.17
Magistrates Court comments  Absentee
WO363 [re. War Office file series]           false
Sources    Tr[i]bunal 11.7.18; No-Conscription Fellowship/COIB Report 101 5.7.17, 109 25.10.18
Record set       Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918

The Terrific Register: Or, Record of Crimes, Judgments, Providences, and Calamities ...
(Sherwood, Jones, and Company, 1825): "instantly agreed to conduct him [Bonnie Prince Charlie] to the Isle of Skye ... they resolved to place themselves between two hills near the road to Strathglass. ...  two French frigates were arrived at Lochnanuagh, near Borradaile..."

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The other three transcriptions give a slightly fuller account of the individuals identified, and show how their principled stand affected their lives, as follows.

Peter Campbell, from the Glendale area of Skye, was 31 in 1917. He was a member of the No-Conscription Fellowship and an "Absolutist" who refused all forms of participation in the war, including the alternative service under the Home Office Scheme which many COs eventually accepted. In his case the outcome was fatal.

(Having been refused exemption, if he went to the local tribunal:-)
  • Sent to Cameron Highlanders' Depot, Court Martialled at Inverness 6.10.16 
  • sentenced to 2 years hard labour, commuted to 112 days, Wormwood Scrubs prison
  • came before Central Tribunal at Wormwood Scrubs 10.11.16 
  • refused to accept Home Office Scheme (administered by the Brace Committee) conditions
  • Became an "Absentee"; arrest reported 12.1.17
  • Court Martialled at Inverness 19.1.17 - 6 months hard labour 
  • Court Martialled at Inverness 29.6.17 - 1 year.hard labour
  • Aberdeen CP (Civil Prison) 14.11.17 released 30.4.18
  • Court Martialled at Inverness 10.5.18 - 2 years.hard labour.
  • "Died in prison".
(Page from David Boulton's book, Objection Overruled)
Peter Campbell is one of those said to have "died as a direct result of the treatment they received" for being COs.

First Name     Peter
Surname     Campbell
Age     31
Birth year        1886
Year    1917
Address           Glendale          
["Glendale is an 18,956 acre estate that extends from Neist Point in the West, to Loch Pooltiel in the North, to Loch Dunvegan in the East. To the South it covers vast acres of moorland, skirting the slopes of MacLeod's Tables and extending almost down to MacLeod's Maidens at Idrigill.
The name 'Glendale' is the anglicised version of its gaelic name, Gleann Dail, which means 'valley with level fields by a river'."] 
Address 2        Isle of Skye
Local authority            5th or Skye County District
County            Invernessshire
Country           Scotland
Latitude          57.38
Longitude       -6.26
Ordnance Survey reference    NG439410
Absolutist        Yes
Motivation      NCF (No-Conscription Fellowship)
Military Service Tribunal        MST (Military Service Tribunal) Central Tribunal at Wormwood S. 10.11.16 - refused to accept HOS (The Home Office Scheme, administered by the Brace Committee) conditions
Central Tribunal          Central Tribunal Nos. W. 2015 Refused HOS
War Service     Depot Cameron Highlanders, CM (Court Martial) Inverness 6.10.16 - 2yrs.HL (With hard labour) com.to 112 days, Wormwood S.; CM (Court Martial) Inverness 19.1.17 - 6 months HL (With hard labour); CM (Court Martial) Inverness 29.6.17 - 1yr.HL (With hard labour); CM (Court Martial) Inverness 10.5.18 - 2yrs.HL (With hard labour)
Magistrates Court       Arrest reported 12.1.17
Magistrates Court comments  Absentee
Prison  Wormwood S.; Aberdeen CP (Civil Prison) 14.11.17 released 30.4.18; Died in prison
WO363           false
Sources            NCF (No-Conscription Fellowship) Souvenir; Cumbria RO(Carlisle)D/Mar/4/97; Not found in NA/WO363; NA/WO86/72/43, 73/146, 76/161, 82/55; NAS/HH21/66/18 Aberdeen Prison Nominal Register; NA/MH47/1 Central Tribunal Minutes; FH/SER/VOPC/Cases/2(3782) - brief entry

Record set       Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918
[NA = National Archives; NAS = National Archives of Scotland; FH = Friends' House]
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In 1917 Angus McIntyre, from Portree, was 25 years old. His "motivation" is the unusual one of being a 'Covenanter' - compare the fierce inflexible Presbyterianism professed by Murdo Macleod of Lewis - who like Peter Campbell underwent multiple courts martial and prison terms, but evidently survived.

(Having been refused exemption, if he went to the local tribunal:-)
  • Court Martialled at Edinburgh 14.7.16 
  • sentenced to 9 months, Edinburgh civil prison (CP)
  • Court Martialled at Edinburgh 25.10.16, sentenced to 1 year.hard labour, Wormwood Scrubs
  • transferred to Wandsworth CP 2.2.17 to 20.4.17; sentence reduced
  • Court Martialled at Edinburgh 28.4.17 - 2 years.hard labour, commuted to 6 months
  • Court Martialled at Duddington 5.3.18  - 2 years.hard labour
  • Served time in Wandsworth Civil Prison as well as Edinburgh and the Scrubs
  • "By Jan.1919 had served 3 sentences and two years."
Angus McIntyre
Age     25
Birth year        1892
Year    1917
Address           -
Address 2        Portree - 1901
Local authority            5th or Skye County District
County            Invernessshire
Country           Scotland
Latitude          57.4
Longitude       -6.19
Ordnance Survey reference    NG480430
Absolutist        Yes
Motivation      'Covenanter'
Military Service Tribunal        MST (Military Service Tribunal) Central Tribunal at Calton CP (Civil Prison), Edinburgh, 1.9.16 - CO class B
Central Tribunal          Central Tribunal Nos. W.1104 Class: B - unconvincing
War Service     3 (R) HL (With hard labour)I [?]; CM (Court Martial) Edinburgh 14.7.16 - 1yr.HL (With hard labour), com.to 9 months, Edinburgh CP (Civil Prison); CM (Court Martial) Edinburgh 25.10.16 - 1yr.HL (With hard labour), Wormwood S.; CM (Court Martial) Edinburgh 28.4.17 - 2yrs.HL (With hard labour) com.6 months; CM (Court Martial) Duddington 5.3.18 - 2yrs.HL (With hard labour)
Prison  Edinburgh CP (Civil Prison) 17.7.16; Wormwood S. transfer to Wandsworth CP (Civil Prison) 2.2.17 to 20.4.17 sentence reduced; By Jan.1919 had served 3 sentences and two years.
WO363           false
Sources            NA/WO86/71.38, 72/98, 76/8, 81/58; FH/FSC(1916/20)/SER3 - COIB Two Year Men; LMA/ACC/3444/P12/01/182 Wandsworth Nominal Register; NAS/HH31/29/1 - COs in Scottish Prisons July 1916; NAS/HH31/29/6 - Central Appeal Tribunal 1.9.16; NA/MH47/1 Central Tribunal Minutes;
Record set       Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918.


Wandsworth Prison (scene of a "mutiny" by COs)
1901 Census record for the Macintyre family (all born in Portree, Invernessshire, Scotland)
Malcolm          MacIntyre       Head   Married           Male    53        1848    Gamekeeper   
Margaret          MacIntyre       Wife    Married           Female 47        1854    -          
Archibald        MacIntyre       Son     Male    21        1880    Footman (Domestic)  
Peter    MacIntyre       Son      Male    14        1887    Scholar           
Maggie C        MacIntyre       Daughter      Female 11        1890    Scholar           
Angus W G     MacIntyre       Son      Male    9          1892    Scholar           
Marion MacIntyre      Daughter          Female 7          1894    Scholar  
      
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Ronald McKenzie, a 31-year-old Headmaster in the south east of the island in 1916, was also a Presbyterian, but took a less hard line than Macintyre and Macleod, evidently accepting the decision that he should be granted Exemption from Combatant Service only, after attending his local Military Service Tribunal on 17.5.16. He therefore served in the Non-Combatant Corps from 16.10.16 until his demobilisation on 21.2.19.

1901 Census record for the McKenzie family in Sleat (all born in Sleat, Invernessshire, Scotland)
Alexander       McKenzie        Head   Married           Male    51        1850    Mason's Labourer
Marion McKenzie        Wife    Married           Female 52        1849    -           
Angus  McKenzie        Son      Single  Male    25        1876    General Labourer
Christina          McKenzie        Daughter         Single  Female 23        1878    General Serv (Domestic)         
John     McKenzie Senr           Son      Single  Male    20        1881    Fisherman
Ronald McKenzie        Son      Single  Male    16        1885    Scholar
John     McKenzie Junr            Son      -           Male    14        1887
Peter    McKenzie        Son      -           Male    11        1890    Scholar
Alexander       McKenzie        Grandson        -           Male    0          1901
[Note two siblings both called John, Senr. and Junr.]

In 1911 his mother was listed as the Head of the household. Ronald, the high achiever of the family, was a teacher, while two of his brothers were "Farm Servants", the other brother having no occupation given.


Ronald McKenzie
Marital status  Single
Occupation      Headmaster
Age     31.1
Birth year        1885
Year    1916
Address           Schoolhouse*
Address 2        Aird, Ardvasor [Ardvasar]
["Ardvasar is a village near the southern end of the Sleat peninsula, on the Isle of Skye in Scotland."]
Local authority            5th or Skye County District
County            Invernessshire
Country           Scotland
Latitude          -
Longitude       -
Ordnance Survey reference    -
Service number           3049
Motivation      Presbyterian
Military Service Tribunal        MST (Military Service Tribunal) (?) 17.5.16 - ECS (Exemption from Combatant Service)
War Service     NCC (Non-Combatant Corps) 16.10.16 Hamilton, (3 Scottish); Home: 16.10.16 - 21.2.19, Demob.
WO363           true
Notes   *Father/Demob.address - Drunfearn, Broadford, Skye
Sources            NA/WO363 - on line

Record set       Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918



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