Monday, 12 December 2016

Scots Against War, 1914-18 style

Augmented BOOK REVIEW about -  

Robert Duncan, Objectors & Resisters: Opposition to Conscription and War in Scotland 1914-18 (Glasgow: Common Print/Common Weal, 2015)

Previous publications in the past few years have looked at manifestations in Britain of opposition to the First World War (refs. below) and on the impact of the war more generally in Scotland. While all these works necessarily pay some attention to aspects of the Scottish anti-war scene, Robert Duncan's informative book breaks new ground, drawing together evidence from official records and dissident, mostly left-wing press, sources. His half-dozen chapters cover not only such fairly well-known topics as the Glasgow rent strike, the imprisonment of prominent conscientious objectors (COs) - John MacLean, James Maxton - industrial unrest, and the launch of the Women’s Peace Crusade, but also many lesser-known people and events, deploying newly unearthed material. Some great group photographs and two portraits (of women, Helen Crawfurd and Agnes Dollan) enhance its attractive presentation.

The narrative runs from perspectives and protest in the prelude to war through the mass protest rallies and evolving of the anti-war position in the early months of the conflict to the growth of opposition to the threat of conscription. That threat was of course carried out in early 1916, and the longest chapters (4 and 5) deal with COs: what they said for themselves and what was said against them; their trials, testimonies, and punishment in prisons and labour camps; and their ways of surviving and coping. Finally there is an overview of repression and resistance, peace campaigns, and radical politics, 1916-1918 and the striving for a lasting peace – until the sowing of the "seeds of future conflict" at Versailles.

Without dwelling at undue length on cases of ill-treatment in barracks and prisons the book illustrates the sort of ordeals COs had to face, and the authorities' wilful incomprehension of their principled stand:

‘In my opinion Sangster is more than a little daft, and Maxton more insane than sane. Neither is accessible to reason. They are alike in their exaggerated egoism and in their want of a sense of proportion, and I should not be at all surprised if either or both of them become certifiably insane.’  - Scottish Prison Commissioner Dr James Devon on James Maxton and James Edny Sangster, two COs in Perth prison, 10 Feb.1917.
‘His mind has lost grip to a large extent. That such a man should have been a teacher is a marvel and a mystery. He may yet have to be certified. If he were liberated I do not say he would be quite sane, and he may be a cause of trouble in these times.’ – Dr Devon, report on Maxton as above, 16 June 1917. (Both quotations on p.84)

One of the individuals Duncan looks at who deserve to be more widely remembered is Dr John MacCallum, an Edinburgh graduate in Arts and Medicine who in his early 30s had become Medical Officer of Health for Ayrshire, specialising in tuberculosis (and was a Scottish rugby international). He chose to become a CO rather than seek occupational exemption, and was one of those sent to do noxious work in appalling conditions at an ‘artificial manure’ manufacturers in Broxburn, near Edinburgh, where he was victimised. He had spoken out against abusive treatment of the workers and was accused of exerting a bad influence. (p. 109) A letter of protest about his arrest and recall to the army was addressed to the Home Office in May 1917, but he was returned to Perth prison, where he served a third sentence in 1918.

There are interesting similarities between some of the book’s findings and those of researchers elsewhere, notably the harrowing experiences of COs and their capacity for resistance, the existence of support networks, the active part played by women, and the fact that jingoistic hostility, while troublesome, was less than universal. At the same time special features of the anti-war scene north of the border are brought out, such as the apparently higher incidence of ‘political’ (especially Independent Labour Party) rather than purely religious motivation for conscientious objection, and the greater disinclination for the martyrdom consequent upon maintaining ‘absolutism’ to the point of refusing all alternatives to repeated prison sentences. (p.99) 

The map of opposition is extended beyond Glasgow and ‘Red’ Clydeside to show the varying strength of the movement in other cities - considerable in industrial Dundee. It was more difficult to get the anti-war message across unmolested in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, although there were certainly supporters in each, with large rallies in the former, and Quakers from the latter providing much-needed food and encouragement to COs at Dyce camp. Names of smaller towns like Kilmarnock crop up too, but the map seems to stop short of the Highland line, not surprisingly perhaps since the sources used are mainly concerned with the more populous industrialised areas. Demographic and social factors would have made for a lower number of COs in the Highlands and Islands but there were some in even the most remote locations (see previous posts listed below). In this and other respects the research effort is already being extended as more records become generally available. Appeal tribunal records for Lothian and Peebles, used by Duncan, are now online as are those for the Isle of Lewis, and shortly after the book's publication the invaluable Pearce Register of COs with 17,426 records at time of writing was added to the Imperial War Museum website for Lives of the First World War.

[A version of this review may be published in Medicine, Conflict and Survival in due course: now online: 
free eprint available for the first 50 to click here]


Objection Overruled: conscription and conscience in the First World War, by David Boulton, Dent, Cumbria, Dales Historical Monographs in Association with Friends Historical Society, 2014.
Comrades in Conscience: the story of an English Community’s opposition to the Great War, by Cyril Pearce, London, Francis Boutle, 2014.
A Small Vital Flame: anti-war women in NW England 1914-1918, by Alison Ronan, Manchester, Scholars’ Press, 2014.
(Combined review of the 3 above in Medicine, Conflict and Survival - online 6 Nov 2014)
The Flowers of the Forest: Scotland and the First World War, by Trevor Royle, Edinburgh, Birlinn, 2013.

Chapter titles and selected additional notes

1. Prelude to war: perspectives and protest
            Labour Leader claimed 100 protest marches in Scotland, from the Borders to Fraserburgh

2. Wartime objection and protest in Scotland: August-December 1914
            “No war fever” in Glasgow, except in the Jingoistic press...
                    few cases of confrontation or obstruction

3. Opposing the conscription threat: 1915-early 1916
              Munitions Act: Militarisation of labour, "industrial slavery"
                   Glasgow rent strike: 40,000 households. May-Nov. 1915

4. Conscription and conscientious objection 1916-1918: testimonies and trials of objectors
               200 Local Tribunals in Scotland + 50 Appeal Tribunals - 
                    Glasgow busiest, most troubled. Supporters in gallery singing Red Flag, often. 
                    Dundee: <50 applications on opening, many moral/political, nearly all refused
                       – furious reaction in town   
                Central Tribunal test case, Cameron Roberts: setback – political objection ruled out 
                      but Exemption from Combatant Service if sincere objection to taking life.
                Case studies [more on some of these to follow] e.g. Hugh Gemell - 
                        class-war socialist, ILP: "willing to fight to defend a workers’ state."

5. Objection and punishment: prisons and labour camps
                Detention in army camps inc. Cromarty, Fort George;
                                          soldiers “kind & considerate” to CO, mutual help
                 Prison: Barlinnie, Calton, Perth. Health effects: cold, food, hard labour 
                          - almost continual solitary confinement, strict silence;
                          mental & cultural deprivation.
                          “COs developed persistent melancholia & committed suicide” - 
                       Charles Yachnies, Feb.1918, certified insane, “criminal lunatic”
                           – committed to Colney Hatch; died 27-7-18.
                  Not to waste lives as martyrs; opting to disappear; 
                            on the run, anti-war propaganda for board & lodging,
                  Work centres usually in country; compulsion, penal conditions.                                                                           Ballachulish. Cancellation of Xmas leave, 1916:
                              6 AWOL; confrontation, arrests 
                              - hunger strike in prison, threat of forced feeding. Letters, pleas in support.
                                (Primitive, reactionary diagnosis of state of mind - see Maxton above). 
                      Dundee COs refused to act as beaters on Cruachan estate 
                               - shooting birds wrong, inappropriate, against principles                                       
                      Willie McDougall, Glasgow anarchist, tried to organise strike at Dartmoor 
                       - successful escape bid, on bike - with help made it back to Glasgow,  
                        "resumed his political activities." 

6. Repression and resistance, peace campaigns, and radical politics: 1916-1918
             Range of repressive measures, disruption; police raids.
             Early 1917 Aberdeen South by-election - F Pethick-Lawrence; jingo mob.
             Women activists' aim of mobilising anti-militarist campaign 
                         with strong base among working-class women
                         Networks: tenements, streets.
              Glasgow May Day, 1918: the 1st of May was a Wednesday  - 
                   thousands took a day off  (strike, unpaid): 
                   70,000 at  Glasgow Green, 20 platforms.for speakers; "mass civil disobedience".

Plus: Introduction, End Notes, and Names Index.

Previously on this blog:-

To follow on this blog: More about some of the personalities featured in the book.

At the People's Palace, Glasgow:

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Après la guerre finie…

A brief Book Notice for November

Au Revoir Là-Hautby Pierre Lemaitre (Albin Michel 2013; Livre de Poche 2015).

Published in English as
The Great Swindle (MacLehose Press 2015; Paperback, 3 Nov 2016), translated by Frank Wynne.
'In 2013 "The Great Swindle" (published in French as "Au revoir là-haut") won the Prix Goncourt, France's leading literary award, and it will be released as a film in 2017.... "The Great Swindle" will be developed into a trilogy in the coming years.'

This extraordinary work does much to justify the publishers' claim for it as the great post-First-World-War novel. 
The French title is ambiguous: Good-bye up there, which fits the key scene, or See you up there /in heaven, which is the meaning expressed in the quotation it refers to. (Jean Blanchard, shot [see below] 4-12-14, rehabilitated 29-1-21) 
Although the narrative is about two massive scams, (one based on an actual occurrence) triggered separately by the postwar orgy of patriotic commemoration, it is clear that The Great Swindle is the war itself. Only the opening sections are set prior to the Armistice but it is this time, early November 1918, that sets the conditions for the main characters' future lives and interwoven relationships.
The author has done research and put it to excellent use without obtruding his knowledge. Among the aspects of the reality of war and its aftermath to which he draws attention are mental and physical trauma, the chaos of demobilisation, and the mismatch between public adulation of dead heroes and the bleak prospect facing damaged survivors. The social context brings out further issues of class and gender. Altogether it is an absorbing and affecting read.

#1 Those who thought this war would soon be over had all died long ago.

#8 Non-stop milling about, indescribable chaos. Demobilisation Centre choc-a-block, men were to be discharged in batches of a few hundred but no-one knew how this was to be done; orders back and forth, procedure keeps changing. Men fed up, hassled, pouncing on smallest scrap of news and setting up a clamour, almost threatening... [In Britain this sort of situation was to lead to many instances of actual mutiny in 1919].

About Jean Blanchard;
Charged with deserting their post in the face of the enemy, six men including Jean Blanchard were sentenced to death by a summary court martial on 3rd December 1914 and shot the next morning. The verdict was overturned on 29th January 1921. A monument in their memory was erected at Vingré on April 5th 1925.

Previously on this blog;
Paris, March-June 2014. Introduction to an exhibition 
(The like of which we are unlikely to see listed officially in the UK)
« Shot as an Example 1914-2014. The Republic’s Ghosts»


Monday, 17 October 2016

(Female) Personalities and Power in Spain 1936-39

80 years on from the Defence of Madrid in the Spanish Civil War, a rediscovered look back at one of its best-known protagonists - and at a lesser-known woman of some importance in the same context.

Dolores Ibárruri and Federica Montseny

From Solidarity National Group Paper (co-ordinated by Oxford Solidarity) [1977], pp. 4-5.
(Slightly amended). Full issue available as pdf at (history)

  The “big names” of history already get a disproportionate amount of attention. Our concern as libertarians will generally be more with the largely unrecorded activities of those whose struggles are too often ignored and forgotten. But it can be useful to have a look at the personalities from time to time, with a view to demystification.
   In the small welter of publications and programmes commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the “Spanish Civil War”, mentions of the part played by women have tended to be few and far between. Hardly surprising, in view of male domination in the media, and the more complete male domination in Spanish society at the time. There are, however, at least two women whose names must crop up in any account seeking to be comprehensive.
  Dolores Ibárruri and Federica Montseny both made their mark on the history they lived through, and there are one or two questions we can pose about their experience. Were their achievements (and failures) personal matters, or did they wider implication for Spanish women in general? Did they have much in common, to enable them to gate-crash the man's world of politics - or were the differences between them more significant?  

  It was as “La Pasionaria” that Dolores Ibárruri became known to the world in the nineteen-thirties, personifying the resistance of the Spanish Republic to Franco’s armies. But symbols, however romantically appealing, can mislead; the extent to which one individual can represent millions is severely limited, and Dolores Ibárruri had her own particular place in the complex political scene. By 1936 she was already established as a Communist deputy in the Cortès (Spanish Parliament), a member of the Party’s Central Committee. For a number of years she had been active as an organiser, especially among women in several “front” organisations, and was a forceful orator and propagandist. Uncompromising and often vehement in her opposition to the rightists – in March 1936 she urged the execution, in the name of the people’s legality, of those responsible for the brutal repression of the Asturias uprising of 1934 – she was imprisoned at least three times under the Republic (i.e. since 1931).
  After the partially successful Nationalist uprising in July 1936, led by Franco and other militarists, she became an even more impassioned advocate for anti-fascism in the name of the legal Republican government. In the areas where the Nationalists were not immediately victorious, including the industrial region around Barcelona, they were fiercely resisted, by the formation of popular militias and also by a large-scale takeover of factories and farms in what amounted to an incipient social revolution. Ibárruri travelled round the “loyalist” areas, speaking to large crowds and appealing for support. She achieved a popularity and celebrity unique among personalities on the government side, and certainly unusual for a Communist leader. 
  In accordance with party policy, her emphasis was on legality, the defence of the constitutional Republic, not on the furthering of social revolution, so that she must have met with some opposition. In fact, when she went to France with a delegation seeking arms and sympathy for the Republican cause, she was held up in Barcelona by anarchists. All the same the battle-cry of opposition to the rebels and invaders was sure to rally a good deal of support, and if her speeches sometimes had more colour than content this no doubt helped the process, in the short term at least.

   With the defence of Madrid later in 1936 she became an international figure. After the government had departed for the comparative safety of Valencia she stayed in the beleaguered capital, using to the full her abilities as orator and organiser. She was credited with the slogans “They Shall Not Pass”, and “It is better to die on one’s feet than live on one’s knees”, although both had been used before, and was heard constantly on Radio Madrid and over loudspeakers in the streets. Many of her speeches were directed towards women, whom she urged to fight with knives and boiling oil to defend their homes and children, and to join demonstrations encouraging men to go the front.

"Aid the Heroic Defenders of Madrid" 
50 years after the battle: University, Madrid, October 1986:
a peaceful setting for an international conference

Glasgow September 2018
  At the same time, legend has it that there was another side to this fiery, if not bloodthirsty, character: she is said to have saved a number of nuns (from “the anarchists”) and to have risked her reputation by such interventions. There were also rumours of a lover, as is generally the case when any woman achieves a degree of notoriety, although the image of matronly mother-of-five was projected strongly too. 
  In any case, the quasi-mythology and folklore masked a day-to-day political reality. La Pasionaria had her place as a loyal member of the increasingly powerful Communist Party, participating in government intrigues and squabbles, and supporting the suppression of the social revolution. She remained active to the end. When the International Brigades finally withdrew after defeat became inevitable, it was she who, famously, made the farewell speech. It was not until March 1939 that she left for France with other Communist leaders and members of the government. She was given asylum in the USSR, where she fared rather better than some Spanish Republicans, at least surviving to write her memoirs and eventually to return to Spain amid the expected sentimental brouhaha, and to embarrass the new improved Euro-brand Spanish CP of the Seventies with pro-Eastern bloc remarks. 

  Federica Montseny was another well-known orator, but her sphere of political activity was rather different. She came from an anarchist family tradition, and was by 1936 one of the leading militants of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI). Although the libertarian movement did not of course have “leaders” as such, there was enough of a “star” system for a few prominent figures to emerge as effective spokespersons for the large membership of the CNT-FAI (the CNT being the strong libertarian National Confederation of Labour. Montseny was among those anarchists invited to join the Popular Front government, after the strength of the CNT had been demonstrated in the widespread collectivisation that followed upon 18th July.
  From an anarchist, whose basic principle was the total rejection of the state, such an invitation was not likely to win ready acceptance; nevertheless it was not rejected out of hand, as might have been expected. Overtaken by events, distanced from the mass of CNT members, and already used to taking decisions in a small group, the handful of leading militants agreed to give the government a libertarian seal of approval. Their decision was ratified, in retrospect, by the plenum (full meeting) of the CNT, but remains a subject of controversy in the anarchist movement.
  Federica Montseny was aware that traditional anarchists, such as her father had been, would be horrified at the idea of joining the government. Her first reaction was to refuse, but after 24 hours of heart-searching and argument she accepted nomination as Minister of Health and Social Services, claiming that this step was in the best interests of the social revolution.

Mujeres Libres poster:
"Women! Your family is made up of
 all who struggle for Freedom."
  It was at best a position in which she could help to bring about some reforms. This was done, to some extent, and women were able to benefit. Abortion was legalised, under controlled conditions. Refuges open to all women, including prostitutes, were set up – possibly to be seen as a fore-runner of present-day Women’s Aid centres. Birth control information was spread with the help of community groups such as, most notably, the anarchist Mujeres Libres (Free Women). For Spain in the thirties, and compared with the situation there today, these reforms were not negligible.

  Perhaps it was inevitable that, once in office, the Minister of Health should be preoccupied, like her colleagues, with the cares and responsibilities of the position. It was a far cry from the grass-roots work of the collectives, and there was a strong temptation to identify with one’s fellow rulers in their “difficult task” instead of questioning the basis of their existence. The anarchist Ministers went along with the legalisation and subsequent erosion of the collectivisation, and helped to smooth the path for the Communist Party’s consolidation of power.

   In May 1937 the underlying tendencies came out into the open. The government’s attempt to “disarm the rearguard” was firmly resisted by the workers of Barcelona, a stronghold of CNT influence. After three days of fighting most of the city was in the hands of the CNT and its allies, and the government was getting worried. Troops were withdrawn from the front to send to Barcelona if it proved necessary, and the anarchist “heavies” were called in. When her colleagues, the National Secretary of the CNT and the Minister of Justice (yes, another anarchist) had failed to make much impression, Montseny was sent on behalf of the Valencia government. She first obtained an assurance that troops were not to be used – until she thought they were needed.  

Anarchist 'Friends of Durruti' pamphlet on the May events
  In Barcelona her car was attacked, but her radio broadcasts appealing for calm contributed to the confusion and demoralisation of the “insurgents” (i.e. the people who were trying to hold on to what they had made their own). There were concessions from the CNT side and the government was able to assert its control. Shortly afterwards, the POUM (Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification) was proscribed, and the anti-“Trotskyist” witch-hunt drove the anarchists into opposition. Montseny protested against the turn events were taking, compiling a dossier of evidence to combat the wilder fictions of the CP and demanding a change of government. By then it was too late.
   After the defeat of the Republic she went into exile and continued to be prominent among Spanish libertarians in France. She won praise from commentators such as Burnett Bolloten for her honesty in being prepared to discuss, with a measure of self-criticism, the anarchist participation in government, and is still [1977] to be observed engaging in debate on this topic from time to time, in the libertarian press.

    To each of these women a sort of stereotype can be applied, to fit them into an acceptable slot in male-dominated society; this is how their personalities were projected in a television play last July. Dolores’ is the more feminine part: not the docile little woman, of course, but the passionate earth-mother, heart ruling head, devoted to home, husband and children. It is significant that the role she habitually assigned to women was essentially a supportive one, concerned with backing up the efforts of “their” men rather than struggling alongside them on equal terms. At the same time, she managed to function as an efficient leading member of an extremely hard-headed political party – stereotypes can’t be expected to fit exactly.
    Federica, on the other hand, comes over as the intellectual, the blue-stocking, committed to her cause and therefore, so the assumptions go, a bit sexless – although she too was a wife and mother. This is how male society has long dealt with women who step out of their appointed place. They can participate in the masculine sphere but will be regarded as not quite fully female. Perhaps it doesn’t matter very much and will cease altogether when women are everywhere so integrally involved that their presence is no longer remarkable.
  In any case, there is little sign that Federica Montseny was affected by it. She remained aware at least of some of the specific interests of women and did something about them, without trading on her own femininity or conjuring up any romantic female role to fulfil. She recognised throughout that her political actions were what mattered, and whatever our criticisms of those actions, she can be respected on that account.

  It is in political terms, in a wide sense which includes their womanhood without over-emphasising it, that we have to assess the careers of both those personalities in power at a crucial stage of Spanish history.

Glasgow commemorates 'La Pasionaria' (but not Federica M.)
Added Notes
1. On the backgound context generally, see "Online pamphlet" on Spain and the World looking at many aspects of the Spanish Revolution and Civil War, 1936-39, on the Radical History Network of North-East London blogThe sequence starts with Spain and the World... (Preface) 15/6/11 and includes:-
  • Spain and the World: Aspects of the Spanish Revolution and Civil War (1) The View from the East End. (Joe Jacobs, Out of the Ghetto) 15/6/11
  • Spain and the World: Aspects of the Spanish Revolution and Civil War (3) Health Service Spain 1936-39, 15/6/11
  • Spain and the World: Aspects of the Spanish Revolution and Civil War (on Workers' Control) 16/6/11
2. On Mujeres Libres, see Free Women of Spain by Martha A. Ackelsberg: review on libcom,org
3. On the role of women in this context: 

Thursday, 13 October 2016

A WW1 CO who survived, though not unscathed.

More evidence for the theory in an earlier post that he didn't commit suicide before the end of the war.

As previously noted, there is reason to believe that Oscar Ricketts, one of the First World War conscientious objectors sentenced to death (the "Frenchmen", and reprieved only after traumatic delay and uncertainty, survived until 1981, contrary to a source consulted for the Pearce Register.

Oscar Gris[t]wood Ricketts
Marital status  Single

Occupation      Bank Clerk
Age     21
Birth year        1895
Year    1916
Address           73, Mayfield Avenue*
Address 2        West Ealing
Local authority            Ealing MB
County            Middlesex
Country           England
Latitude          51.5
Longitude       -0.32
Ordnance Survey reference    TQ160800
Service number           609
France Yes
Fugitive           Yes
No-Conscription Fellowship   Yes
Motivation      Christian and pacifist
Military Service Tribunal        MST (Military Service Tribunal) Ealing 29.2.16 - claimed AE (Absolute Exemption) - refused; Middlesex Appeal 20.3.16 - granted ECS (Exemption from Combatant Service); Central Tribunal 7.8.16; Central Tribunal at Wormwood S. 14.8.16 - CO class A, to Brace Committee
Central Tribunal          Central Tribunal Nos. W.466 M.561
War Service     NCC (Non-Combatant Corps) 19.4.16 Hounslow (Eastern) CM (Court Martial) at Hounslow (?) and then (25.4.16) to Felixstowe and Harwich to serve 28 days in redoubt; June 1916 in France awaiting sentence; FGCM (Court Martial) Boulogne 10.6.16 - death 10 yrs.PS Winchester CP (Civil Prison); Home: 19.4.16 - 8.5.16; France: 9.5.16 - 29.6.16; Home: 30.6.16 - 31.3.20; Deserted 1.11.16 - 31.1.17 (?)
War Service comments           Refused to sign army papers or to give details; Thought to be in Harwich Redoubt military prison 18.5.16; Sent from Harwich and Felixstowe on 8th May, where already sentenced to 28 days, kept in irons, on bread and water.
Magistrates Court       Arrested and tried at Brentford Police court 22.4.16, fined 40/- and handed over
Magistrates Court comments  Absentee
Prison  Winchester CP (Civil Prison) 30.6.16 discharged 31.8.16
Work Centre   HOS (The Home Office Scheme, administered by the Brace Committee) Oct.1916 Dyce Camp (photo.88); Dartmoor (18.10.17)
WO363           true
Notes   *Ricketts committed suicide before war ended. NCF Souvenir History has him from High Street, Petworth, Sussex, probably his parents' and his 'home' address.
Sources            NA/MH47/66; The Friend 12.5.16; Jack Foister, Liddle CO/032; Sanctuary Autograph Book WYB8/2/1; Liddle CO/038, 061; Tribunal 18.5.16; NCF (No-Conscription Fellowship) Souvenir History p.47; Tribunal 29.6.16; NA/PCOM 6; Hampshire R.O. Winchester CP (Civil Prison) Register 16.3.15 to 16.4.17; Letters May and June 1916 re.victimisation and brutality in T.E.Harvey MP (Military Prison) Correspondence FH/Temp.Mss.835 Box.4; NA/WO213/9/115; NA/WO363 - on line - very detailed; NA/MH47/125; NA/MH47/1 Central Tribunal Minutes; FH/SER/VOPC/Cases/7(271)

Record set       Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918
See also how Oscar's case was raised in the House of Commons.

From WO363 Record of Service (16 page-images, some blank)
[middle name given as "Griswood" throughout].

Report: moved to Petworth after call-up then back to Ealing – “sent an impudent note” re Petworth call-up. Appeal for variation of Ealing certificate (having obtained ECS (Exemption from Combatant Service only) on Middlesex appeal) – thrown out as “invalid”; failed attempt to take appeal to Central Tribunal – authorities felt he could go on with endless appeals if not stopped. Arrested 19-4-16.
[Prison, France...] Detention 6/6; disobeying an order, refused to do punishment drill when ordered (Boulogne). Sentenced to suffer death by being shot 10-6-16, commuted to 10 years hard labour 16/6.
73 Mayfield Avenue, W13:
Oscar's address at call-up and discharge

"Service" summarised as Home 19/4 – 18/5; in France 9-5-16  to 29-6; Home (Army Reserve class) 30/6/16 – 31-3-20.
Discharge form. Stamped “FIT”; the Mayfield Avenue, West Ealing, address is given.
Discharged by reason of demobilisation 31-3-20
[Obviously this would tend further to confirm his survival.]

The 1939 Register of Electors
A search of the1939 register finds no "Oscar G" Ricketts, but turns up:
Oscar F            Ricketts          1890   Farnham U.D.            Surrey
Allowing for the fact that a couple of mistranscriptions per record are virtually par for the course in this sort of context, this was worth following up, and the transcription amplifies it to:
Ricketts Household (2 People) 
Cherening , Farnham U.D., Surrey, England - 
Oscar F Ricketts  10 Feb 1890    Male    Bank Clerk Incapacitated       Married           94        1           
Jean M Ricketts           28 Jan 1897     Female Shorthand Typist        Married           94        2
1939 Register of Electors with entry for Oscar and Jean Ricketts
"Bank Clerk" was the occupation of Oscar G Ricketts the CO; his having been, sadly, "incapacitated" since 1920 would kind-of figure too.

Capital G and F in joined-up writing
as taught in British schools until about the mid-20th century.
On closer inspection, the given date of birth is not clear, and could be 1896 or 1895, which would fit, rather than 1890. Similarly, the middle initial could well be, and is arguably more like, a G.

As a further reinforcement, it turns out that Jean Mary Ricketts died in the same place (Brighton 1982) as, and a year later than, Oscar Gristwood Ricketts.
So, in spite of his unspecified long-term incapacity, it now looks as though Oscar not only survived long after the end of the First World War, but had found a life partner by 1939.

Last name   First name          Born      Died      Event    Record set          Location
RICKETTS  JEAN MARY       1897      1982      1982      England & Wales deaths 1837-2007         Brighton, Sussex, England

Death record for Oscar Gristwood Ricketts, 1981.
(Birthday matches that of the above Oscar Ricketts in 1939). 
Perhaps there may be people in Brighton today - or neighbours from earlier, in Surrey - who remember Oscar and Jean Ricketts, and even whether or not he ever spoke of his experiences..?

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Insanity and First World War COs: Questions in the House

"A matter of great public concern"

Many questions were asked in the House of Commons after the introduction of conscription about the treatment of conscientious objectors, with a number of MPs raising, in particular, cases of brutality, neglect and death at the hands of the military and civil (prison) authorities that had been brought to their attention. A main focus of concern was the effect of their punishment on COs' mental as well as physical health, and whether some of them might actually be, or had already been "driven mad" by their experiences.
This fear - or awareness of a real risk - was shared by a number of COs and their relatives and supporters, as shown by examples in Ann Kramer's 2014 book:

References from Conscientious Objectors of the Second World War: Refusing to Fight by Ann Kramer (Pen & Sword, 2014): 

p.80 “My mind I will destroy rather than allow the military cult to take it.” – J B Saunders in Tribunal 20-9-17

p.81 “Already I am half mad.” – James Brighthouse, Cleethorpes, June 1917

p.82 … one young CO, S Cooper of Leeds, had actually gone in sane because of the treatment he received 

p.93 Prison conditions – physical and mental damage         

p.103 Silence combined with isolation and the attempt to destroy personal identity could shatter a man, and some COs did go mad in prison.

p.108 (Fenner Brockway) Sinn Feiners "saved his mind" during solitary confinement (by smuggling papers etc.)

p.115 Harold Blake, suffering dreadfully in prison and fearing he was going insane.

p.143 … some died in prison, some went mad… 

p.151 “MO informed me I was a lunatic…padded room, straitjacket." – Tribunal 23-1-19

(Tribunal was the paper of the No-Conscription Fellowship which collated information on COs).

In a debate on COS on 28 November 1916 (vol 88 column 134) - 

Mr. SNOWDEN* "asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that Thomas Sidney Overbury, a conscientious objector, was handed over to the military on 2nd October, 1916, court-martialled on 9th October, and sentenced to twenty-eight days' imprisonment, which he served in Wormwood Scrubs; that on the expiration of his sentence on 6th November he was sent to Fulham Military Hospital, and will he say if he is still in that hospital; if he has been on hunger-strike practically the whole time since his arrest; if he has been forcibly fed; and if it is intended to let the man die rather than give him the exemption from military service to which the Central Tribunal has decided he is entitled as a genuine conscientious objector?
The response was brief and does not tell the whole story:
"This man has been discharged under paragraph 392 XVI., King's Regulations."
*Mr Philip Snowden, one of the most assiduous MPs in the cause of the COs: 1864 - May 15, 1937; 
Constituencies Blackburn January 12, 1906 - December 14, 1918; Colne Valley November 15, 1922 - October 27, 1931. In House of Lords: Viscount Snowden 1931 - May 15, 1937

Amplification is provided by the Pearce Register record:
Timothy Sidney Overbury           
Marital status    Married (1)
Occupation         Church worker
Age        36
Birth year            1880
Year       1916
Address               21, Marley Street, Beeston
Address 2            West Hunslet (Ward)
Local authority  Leeds CB
County Yorkshire
Service number                37790
No-Conscription Fellowship        Leeds
Motivation          Brotherhood Church, Beeston; NCF (No-Conscription Fellowship);
Military Service Tribunal  MST (Military Service Tribunal) Central Tribunal at Wormwood S. 16.10.16 - refused to accept HOS (The Home Office Scheme, administered by the Brace Committee) conditions
Central Tribunal                Central Tribunal Nos. W.1914
War Service        2.10.16 York; 4 W.Yorks.; CM (Court Martial) West Hartlepool 9.10.16 - 28 days Wormwood S.; 14.12.16 Discharged as no longer physically fit for service KR 392 (xvi)
War Service comments Refused to sign or to answer any questions; Q in H 28.11.16
Magistrates Court   Leeds 2.10.16 arrested and handed over - began hunger strike as soon as arrested*;
Magistrates Court comments     DoRA and Absentee (See: T. H. Ferris)
Prison   Wormwood S. 12.10.16 continued hunger strike - Fasted and refused food - Force fed from 18.10.16 to 6.11.16 - to Fulham Military Hospital - discharged by army 2.12.16 weighing 4 stones*
Work Centre comments Rejected HOS (The Home Office Scheme, administered by the Brace Committee)
WO363 true
Notes    [Keyword: Hunger Strike] After release from army arrested for distributing literature likely to prejudice recruiting 10.12.16. *Hunger strike for 36 days. NA/WO364 Medical Board report - 'Is of low mentality and obsessed with religious ideas against war but not certifiably insane'.
Sources    Tribunal 7.12.16; Cumbria RO(Carlisle)D/Mar/4/13; NCF (No-Conscription Fellowship)/COIB Report LII; FH/FSC(1916/20)SER32 - case file; COH 14, 7.12.16, p.171; NA/WO86/72/14; Letters Nov.1916 re.hunger strike in T.E.Harvey MP (Military Prison) Correspondence FH/ Temp.Mss.835 Box.5; NA/MH47/1 Central Tribunal Minutes; NA/WO364 - Pensions, on line; FH/SER/VOPC/Cases/6(2867)
Record set          Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918

From online images of the relevant (War Office) WO364 Record (7pp.) - 
Refuses to sign. Refuses to answer any questions.
Wilful defiance of authority & lawful command. Arrested, refused all food from that moment. Fed forcibly in W Scrubs 18-10-16 to 6-11-16. Is emaciated. Pulse poor but has improved in last 3 days.
Is volubly full of fixed notions as to the immorality of military service.
Is of low mentality & obsessed with religious ideas against war but not certifiably insane. Total incapacity expected to last probably a few days.

Although Overbury apparently was spared consignment to an asylum, his case illustrates what such men could be up against, and how their principled stance was often viewed, as military medics tried to work out, or wilfully contrived to misunderstand, what made COs tick.

The following year
HC Deb 14 March 1917 vol 91 col.1109, Mr. CHANCELLOR  asked the Secretary to the Local Government Board whether he is aware that Alfred Eungblut, a conscientious objector who voluntarily gave himself up on 12th September last, was court-martialled at Salisbury, sentenced to two years' hard labour, sent to Wormwood Scrubbs [sic], and from there to Epsom lunatic asylum; and, seeing that this man was driven insane by the ill-treatment that he received at the hands of the military, and is now in a serious state of health and possibly dying, will he say what action he proposes to take?
§Sir G. CAVE My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. This man was sentenced by court-martial on the 28th September last to 112 days' imprisonment. On the 10th November he was certified to be insane and removed to an asylum. I have no reason whatever for supposing that his insanity was due to ill-treatment by the military, but if the hon. Member has any evidence to support this very serious allegation he should submit it to the Army Council. The case is one for their consideration and not one that comes within my purview.

Alfred E Eungblut 1895- 1917      Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918   —
Occupation         Piano Tuner
Age        22
Birth year            1895
Year       1917
Address 2            St Pancras
Local authority  St Pancras MB
County London CC
Motivation          Presbyterian
Military Service Tribunal                MST (Military Service Tribunal) May 1916 St Pancras - CO refused; Central Tribunal at Wormwood S. 18.10.16, CO class A, to Brace Committee
Central Tribunal                Central Tribunal Nos. W.1833 Class: A - Genuine
War Service        1 (R) London CM (Court Martial) Hurdcott 28.9.16(at Fovant Camp, Salisbury?) - 6 months HL (With hard labour) 112 days, Wormwood S.
Magistrates Court            Arrest reported 15.9.16
Magistrates Court comments     Absentee
Prison   Wormwood S.; Dec.1916 - mental illness - went mad - sent to Epsom Asylum and died there in June 1917*
Work Centre comments               Q in H 14.3.17 [got]
Notes    *Died in insane asylum after arrest but not in prison
Sources                NCF (No-Conscription Fellowship) Souvenir; Tribunal 28.6.17; The Friend 13.7.17(Report); COH 23, 22.3.17, p.285; NCF (No-Conscription Fellowship)/COIB Reports XLIV 15.9.16, LXXVI 29.6.17 - report of his death; NA/MH47/1 Central Tribunal Minutes; FH/SER/VOPC/Cases/3(2394)
Record set          Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918

ALFRED A A EUNGBLUT [as listed in this record set]
Gender Male
Birth day              -
Birth month        -
Birth year            1894
Age        23
Death quarter   2
Death year          1917
District  EPSOM
County Surrey
Volume                2A
Page      92
Country                England
Record set          England & Wales deaths 1837-2007
Category              Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records
Subcategory       Deaths & burials

HC Deb 13 November 1917 vol 99 cc193-194
Mr. KING* asked whether John Taylor, a conscientious objector at the Wakefield work centre, recently attempted suicide by cutting his throat; whether this man is the John Taylor, No. 23,162, D Company, 3rd Battalion, Essex Regiment, who was granted a non-combatant certificate by his tribunal, was forced into a combatant regiment, ordered to do rifle drill, and afterwards subjected to field punishment No. 1; whether it is owing to this and subsequent treatment that the man was driven to attempt suicide; whether he has now been certified insane; and whether inquiries will be made into this case with the view to fix responsibility?

§The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir G. Cave): The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. I have no information as to the allegations contained in tithe second part, which should be addressed to the War Office. As regards the third part of the question, six of Taylor's friends among the men employed at Wakefield have voluntarily supplied a report on the facts of the case and on Taylor's mental condition. It is not suggested in this report that his condition was in any way due to his treatment while in the Army or in prison: on the contrary it is mainly attributed to anxiety caused by an explosion near his home and by subsequent air-raids in London. Taylor has now been certified insane. I see no ground for further inquiry into the matter.

§Mr. KING; Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this man is now in a dangerous condition and that his friends have been sent to see the last of him?
§Sir G. CAVE: I have not heard that, but I am sorry if it is so.
§Mr. KING: Will the right hon. Gentleman make inquiries? […]
* Joseph King was another of the MPs who consistently spoke up for COs, and he seems to have made cases of "insanity" among them a particular concern.

{The debate continued, with other cases and questions, ending in a good one from Commander WEDGWOOD}:
Would it not be as well for the Home Office to cease this prosecution and the manufacture of anarchists?

If the right hon. Gentleman did make inquiries, they were of little benefit to John Taylor, whose name came up again within 3 months, in HC Deb 05 February 1918 vol 101 col.2070:

Mr. LAMBERT asked the Home Secretary whether John Taylor, a conscientious objector, has recently died in Wakefield Work Centre; whether an inquest was held; if so, what verdict was returned; and whether lie will have an independent inquiry by persons other than officials concerned into the circumstances of the deaths of the various conscientious objectors who have died during the last twelve months?

§Sir G. CAVE This man died on the 20th January at the West Riding Asylum, of which he had been an inmate for over two months. His death was the result of wounds which he inflicted upon himself [see above] on 2nd November while he was an inmate of the Wakefield Work Centre. As regards the causes leading up to the suicide, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to a question addressed to me by the hon. Member for North Somerset on the 13th November, from which it appears that at the time when he committed the act he was in great anxiety as to the effect of the air-raids upon his home in London. An inquest was held on 25th January, and a verdict of felo de se [suicide] was returned. I see no ground for any further inquiry.

John Taylor
Address 2            Custom House and Silvertown (Ward)
Local authority  West Ham CB
County Essex
Service number                23162
Motivation          NCF (No-Conscription Fellowship);
Military Service Tribunal                MST (Military Service Tribunal) Central Tribunal at Wormwood S. 26.12.16, CO class A, to Brace Committee
Central Tribunal                Central Tribunal Nos. W.2603 Class: A - Genuine
War Service        Private 23162 D Company, 3rd Battalion Essex Reg. CM (Court Martial) Felixstowe 13.12.16 - 1yr.HL (With hard labour) 28 days
Prison   Wormwood S.
Work Centre      HOS (The Home Office Scheme, administered by the Brace Committee) Q in H 13.11.17 re his attempted suicide while at Wakefield - Mental illness - declared insane and transferred to Wakefield Asylum. Q in H 5.2.18 re his suicide on the 20th January*
Notes    *'Died after arrest but not in prison'
Sources                NCF (No-Conscription Fellowship) Souvenir; COH 47, 22.11.17 p.566, COH 57, 14.2.18, p.681; NA/WO86/73; NA/MH47/1 Central Tribunal Minutes;
Record set          Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918

Taylor's case was raised in the context of a wider debate (HC Deb 05 February 1918 vol 101 col.2068) which had begun with this highly relevant exchange:

Mr. WHITEHOUSE asked the Home Secretary whether he has caused any inquiry to be made into the Report presented to the Labour Congress at Nottingham stating that a considerable number of imprisoned conscientious objectors had become insane through their sufferings; and what steps he proposes to take?

§Sir G. CAVE I have not seen the Report referred to, but the matter has been carefully examined by the Medical Commissioner of Prisons. There have been twelve cases in which conscientious objectors have developed symptoms of insanity in prison, and it is clear that in all of them the insanity was due to causes and conditions existing before their conviction, and was not caused by the imprisonment, though the imprisonment gave opportunities of observing their mental condition which did not exist while they were at liberty. This is indicated by the fact that in each case symptoms of insanity were observed shortly after their reception in prison. I see no ground for taking any further action.

§Mr. WHITEHOUSE Will the right hon. Gentleman state what action he has taken with regard to those cases in which insanity has occurred or developed?
§Sir G. CAVE I asked for full particulars and for a full report, and my answer is based upon the result of my inquiries.
§Mr. WHITEHOUSE Are there any prisoners who have developed insanity and who are still in prison?
§Sir G. CAVE I should think that it is very unlikely. No doubt they are being looked after in the proper place.
§Mr. WHITEHOUSE It is a matter of great public concern.

The subject was dealt with more fully in HC Deb 10 April 1918 vol 104 col.1461-4, when Joseph King continued his efforts and obtained a more informative response (for what the official statistics were worth):

Mr. KING asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases of insanity have occurred during the past two years of conscientious objectors in Wormwood Scrubs and all other prisons, in Dartmoor work centre, in Wakefield work centre, and all other work centres, respectively; whether the percentage of insanity in the cases of conscientious objectors in prisons and work centres compares advantageously or otherwise with cases of insanity in the other prison population and the male population of the country between twenty and forty years of age; and whether the friends of insane prisoners are allowed to visit them, to complain to the Lunacy Commissioners, or under proper conditions to remove them for care and treatment elsewhere?

§The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir George Cave)
The numbers of persons claiming to be conscientious objectors who have been certified insane are:
In Prison              …             …             …             13
In Work Centres               …             …             …             3
In all cases there was reason to believe that the insanity was due to conditions existing before their imprisonment. The ratio of these cases to the number of conscientious objectors under detention is, as to prisons 1.6, and as to work centres,.6 per 1,000, as against a general average for male prisoners from twenty-one to forty of 3.2, and for the male population of England and Wales between twenty and forty-four, of.8 per 1,000. As regards the last part of the question, a prisoner who is certified insane is removed as soon as possible to an asylum and his friends are informed. He does not come under the jurisdiction of the Lunacy Commissioners until he is received in the asylum. There have been cases where the sentence of an insane prisoner has been remitted, and he has been handed over to the care of his friends, but this is necessarily exceptional.

Did I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that these persons came under the care of the Lunacy Commissioners as soon as they were removed to an asylum?
§Sir G. CAVE
Yes, Sir.

Then King turned to another individual case:
Mr. KING asked the Home Secretary whether Bertram French, a conscientious objector, formerly at Knutsford work centre, is at present in hospital at Macclesfield through attempted suicide, and a previous attempt at suicide was hushed up; whether he was driven to this action by the conditions and treatment at the work centre; whether inquiries have been or will be made; whether he is aware that medical authorities, including prison doctors, state that the reduced prison rations so lower the nerve-strength of prisoners that they are more likely to break down, and that the increased numbers of prisoners in hospital confirm this view; whether it is intended to reconsider the dietary allowed to all prisoners and workers in work centres and other institutions; and what action he intends to take?

§Sir G. CAVE
French is in the county asylum at Macclesfield, having been removed there after his first attempt at suicide, which occurred during his temporary absence from the work centre. Upon the recommendation of the medical officer he had been excused work at the centre and had been allowed to go out as he pleased during working hours. He has attempted suicide again while in the asylum; nothing is known of any other attempt. There is nothing in the facts of the case to justify the suggestion that he was driven to his action by the conditions and treatment at the work centre.
The dietaries of the work centres have been carefully settled with medical advice, and the medical officers have power to allow increases in individual cases where they think it necessary. The question of the prison dietaries hardly arises, as French was in prison for three weeks only, and as long ago as in 1916.

Bertie French
Marital status    Single
Occupation         Upholsterer
Age        19
Birth year            1897
Year       1916
Address               1, Dudley Road
Address 2            Haverhill
Local authority  Haverhill UD
County Suffolk (West)
Ordnance Survey reference        TL660450
Service number                2696
Motivation          -
Military Service Tribunal                MST (Military Service Tribunal) Haverhill local 14.4.16 - ECS (Exemption from Combatant Service) only; Central Tribunal at Wormwood S. 27.10.16, CO class A, to Brace Committee
Central Tribunal                Central Tribunal Nos. W.1921 Class: A - Genuine
War Service        NCC (Non-Combatant Corps) 29.8.16 Bury St Edmunds, (7 Eastern); Posted to NCC (Non-Combatant Corps) 4 Southern and to NCC (Non-Combatant Corps) 5 Southern; Red Barracks, Weymouth; (4 Southern) CM (Court Martial) 9.10.16 - 2yrs.HL (With hard labour) Wormwood S. Discharged 28.5.18 from Cheshire County Asylum, Parkside, Macclesfield.
War Service comments Refused to sign
Prison   Wormwood S. 3.11.16 released to Wakefield work centre and transfer to Class W
Work Centre      HOS (The Home Office Scheme, administered by the Brace Committee) Transfer to Army Reserve Class W, Wakefield work centre; Knutsford Work Centre - Macclesfield Hospital - Q in H 10.4.18; Q in H 10.6.18 re his having attempted suicide at Knutsford - now in Cheshire County Asylum at Macclesfield - mental illness
WO363 true
Notes    *Listed in NA/WO363 on line as 'Bernard French' [on file docs. consistently Bertie/Bertram]
Sources                COH 65, 18.4.18 p.755, 73, 20.6.18 p.943; NA/WO363/F844 - detailed collection of papers concerning his time in Parkside asylum; NA/WO86/72/13; NA/MH47/1 Central Tribunal Minutes; FH/SER/VOPC/Cases/3(2300)
Record set          Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918

Bertie French
Age        19
Birth year            1897
Service number                2696
Regiment            Non Combatant Corps
Unit / Battalion 5th Southern Company
Year       1916
Residence town               Haverhill
Residence county            Suffolk
Residence country          England
Series    WO 363
Series description            WO 363 - First World War service records 'burnt documents'*
Archive The National Archives
Record set          British Army Service Records
Category              Military, armed forces & conflict 

* In WO363 online, this record is listed [at time of writing] as being for a Bernard French, although the images of what remains of the file show that he was consistently called "Bertie".  It confirms his being granted Exemption from Combatant Service 14-4-16 and being sentenced to Detention 4-10-16, then release 3-11-16:
“Man in asylum” 19-6-18. June 1918: Incapable of managing his own affairs.

Two months further on:
HC Deb 10 June 1918 vol 106 col.1852: Mr. T. RICHARDSON asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that Harry Burgess, a conscientious objector, was sentenced to his first term of imprisonment in August, 1916; that he, subsequently, was transferred to a work settlement; that he was afterwards recalled and sent to prison; that he has since broken down mentally and is now in an asylum; and if he will say whether his present condition is a result of the treatment he has received while in prison?

These facts are as stated in the question except that Burgess has recently been discharged from the asylum. There is no reason for thinking that his insanity was in any way attributable to the treatment he received in prison.

Henry Burgess
Marital status    Single
Occupation         Shorthand writer
Age        36
Birth year            1880
Year       1916
Address               37, Barry Road
Address 2            Dulwich
Local authority  Camberwell MB
County London CC
Service number                2306
Fugitive                Yes
No-Conscription Fellowship        Dulwich
Motivation          Occasional Quaker Attender (Peckham); NCF (No-Conscription Fellowship); Wesleyan Methodist
Military Service Tribunal                MST (Military Service Tribunal) Camberwell - ECS (Exemption from Combatant Service) Cert.No.208; Central Tribunal at Wormwood S. 17.8.16 - CO class A, to Brace Committee
Central Tribunal                Central Tribunal Nos. W.1260 Class: A - Genuine
War Service        Camberwell 31.7.16; Posted to NCC (Non-Combatant Corps) (5, 7, Eastern etc.)Warley;CM (Court Martial) Newhaven 5.8.16 - 6 months;CM (Court Martial) Att.Depot Devon 16.7.17 - 2yrs.HL (With hard labour) Exeter CP (Civil Prison). Discharged from army as 'no longer fit for service' 27.3.18. Transferred to Devon County Lunatic Asylum (19.2.18) Mental illness (KR 392 xvi)
Magistrates Court            Re-arrested after rejecting HOS, 9.7.17
Magistrates Court comments     Absentee
Prison   Newham Detention Barracks; Lewes CP (Civil Prison) 8.8.16; Exeter CP (Civil Prison) 21.7.17 to 22.2.18 'Certified insane and removed to Exminster Asylum' Q in H (?) 10.6.18 re his mental state - Is he now in an asylum?
Work Centre      HOS (The Home Office Scheme, administered by the Brace Committee) Transfer to Army Reserve Class W 1.11.16; Warwick, Dartmoor; recalled to colours 6.7.17, re-arrested 9.7.17
Work Centre comments               Rejected/rejected by HOS (The Home Office Scheme, administered by the Brace Committee)
WO363 true
Sources                Dulwich NCF (No-Conscription Fellowship) Leaflet July 1917 in Cumbria RO(Carlisle)D/Mar/4/97; FH/FSC(1916/20)/SER28 Case file;COH 73, 20.6.18 p.943; NA/WO363/B2032; NA/WO86/71/71, 77/2; NA/MH47/1 Central Tribunal Minutes; NA/WO364 (Pensions) - on line; Exeter CP (Civil Prison) Registers, Devon RO (Exeter); FH/SER/VOPC/Cases/2(2025); Western Times 17.7.17 re.CM (Court Martial);
Record set          Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918
The disclaimers as to responsibility for damage to mental health being in any way that of the military authorities were more or less standard, as might be expected, and are repeatedly asserted in the surviving War Office documents, WO363 (records of war "service") and WO364, relating to Pensions (for entitlement to which it obviously mattered whether the discharged man's condition should judged the result of or to have been aggravated by his military service - questions almost invariably answered by "No"). Thus, among other diagnoses, several men of evident intelligence were described as being "feebleminded", and their condition as congenital, although this had not prevented their forcible recruitment in the first place or their normal functioning before the war.