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#26 Andrew Hesketh

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 08:42 PM

... the PPU database...


Do you know whether this is 'available' Michael?

#27 MichaelBully

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 02:01 PM

Hello Andrew, the Peace Pledge Union CO project pages are at

http://www.coproject.org.uk/

I don't know if the whole database is available on line yet. I will be replying to the PPU archivist later today so will ask him and report back as it were.

Regards



Do you know whether this is 'available' Michael?



#28 Andrew Hesketh

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 04:31 PM

Thanks.

#29 MichaelBully

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 09:05 PM

Hello Andrew, the PPU archivist Bill Hetherington has contacted me. It seems that the whole CO database will not made available. Partly because it is work in progress with entries being updated frequently, but also there are issues concerning the fact that some CO's ( from World War II and post-WW II conflicts ) are still alive . Something I hadn't thought about initially, but the project goes well beyond the Great War.
Regards
Michael



Thanks.



#30 Andrew Hesketh

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 10:25 PM

It's a shame that they can't release the WWI data, but I understand the concerns regarding WWII. Thanks for letting me know Michael.

#31 Magnumbellum

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 08:11 PM

It should be made clear that the PPU Archivist is always willing to receive enquiries about WW1 COs. In fact, enquiries often enhance the database, because they either produce new names or provide additional information for existing entries. In that way, the database can be seen as a clearing house for all information on individual COs. Databases that can simply be interrogated do not normally attract additional information. The database currently includes over 4000 WW1 COs, some 25 % of the 16.000 WW1 total.

#32 MichaelBully

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Posted 27 January 2011 - 09:03 PM

I was wondering if anyone has been researching CO's who ended up in Maidstone Jail ?

With regard to my research around St. Andrews Church, Waterloo Street , Hove, I found that there was a CO and member of the NCF called Roy Banks who lived at 29 Waterloo Street , Hove.

The PPU archivist advises that

" However, I had an entry for "Banks" (forename and address unknown), being a member of Brighton N-CF, and I suspect that he is Roy Banks. Although the name of the branch was Brighton & Hove N-CF, it was generally shortened to just Brighton.This Banks was reported in the N-CF paper, The Tribunal, 27/2/19. as being in Maidstone Prison and having gone on hunger-strike. He was granted a 28-day release from prison on 22/2/19, under the "Cat-and-Mouse" provisions for temporary release of hunger strikers. That demonstrates him as an absolutist, but I have no further information...."

Has anyone any ideas of how to research CO's held at Maidstone Prison ? I haven't a clue myself, unless going through the The Tribunal.

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Michael Bully

#33 MichaelBully

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 05:39 PM

Just to give an update re. Roy Banks, have been offered some further material concering Brighton and Hove C.O.'s , seems that there was a hunger strike by a number of C.O's in Maidstone in February 1919, and there seem to have been a group of C.O's from Sussex there at the time.
Hope to post more on this topic after a further visit to the East Sussex County Archives-but in the meantime , information is always welcome.

#34 MichaelBully

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 09:36 AM

One issue that I have never considered before came to my attention looking at the East Sussex archives AMS 6375/1/5 , of one Percy Horton, a Brighton CO.

Percy resisted being called up, and had a tribunal hearing on 21st March 1916 in Brighton in which he was granted exemption from combat. Hoping for total exemption, Percy went to appeal to the East Sussex Tribunal on 14th April 1916. As well as not granting him total exemption, the appeal tribunal removed his original exemption from combat ! So he was effectively worse off by appealing.

#35 Magnumbellum

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 02:16 PM

This apparent "punishment" of COs for daring to appeal was by no means unusual. One factor was that the Military Representative often cross-appealed.

#36 MichaelBully

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 05:17 PM

Thanks MB, yes of course, I forgot that the military representative had the right to appeal .
Regards. Michael Bully

This apparent "punishment" of COs for daring to appeal was by no means unusual. One factor was that the Military Represntative often cross-appealed.



#37 MichaelBully

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 07:54 PM

Whilst up on holiday in Scotland I managed to consult a book titled 'Voices in the Wind-Caithness and the First World War' by Alby Budge, from 1996. Heartily recommended.
There was a case featured in this work of Robert A. McClements, a headmaster of Keiss School in Caithness, who was a Conscientious Objector. At a tribunal hearing on 31st August 1916 his claim for non-combatant service was upheld. When McClements returned from non-combatatant duties in February 1919, there was a prolonged local campaign to get him dismissed from his post as headmaster.
On 8th September 1919 protests outside the school against McClements remaining in post were held with insults being painted on the walls of the schoolhouse and three windows were broken. few children showed up for school. The school closed for a few days and McClements was suspended, then given another post. in the area away from Keiss.


EDIT author's name should be Ally Budge, NOT Alby.

#38 Magnumbellum

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 02:50 PM

Thanks for this, which certainly illustrates the chauvinism of the period: even when a man holding the responsible post of headmaster volunteered to undertake the menial and often dirty tasks of the Non-Combatant Corps, as fully provided by legislation, people were not satisfied.

#39 MichaelBully

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 03:26 PM

Yes agreed MB- also seems worrying that it was considered perfectly acceptable to hold quite a violent protest outside a school with children being present. Was wondering if there are other cases of harrasment of CO's employed in education after the Great War.

I copied a few pages from 'Voices in the Wind-Caithness and the First World War' about this case and can forward to the PPU archive, but might post more about here if there's an interest.

#40 Magnumbellum

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 03:27 PM

I cannot recall another case quite like this. although I am sure similar things did happen.

For comparison, I would mention that in WW2 some local authorities adopted a policy of either dismissing all CO employees or suspending them for the duration without pay, even when a tribunal had specifically granted exemption conditional upon continuing in the present employment. Torquay borough council dismissed two teachers just for being members of the PPU, before they had even registered as COs. Chauvinism clearly died very hard.

#41 MichaelBully

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Posted 31 July 2011 - 09:47 AM

'Voices in the Wind-Caithness and the First World War' also contains a couple of interesting examples of press attacks on CO's.
The editorial of 'John O'Groat Journal' of March 24th 1916

Tolertant to its subject beyond all other countries, Great Britain is probably on that account more than any other country cursed with cranks.
Cranks, that is to say, who under cover of this very tolerance, are not ashamed to come forward and put their likes and dislikes, their fads and fancies, before the interests of the land that gave them birth. Like cokroaches in the night, these sneaks and snivellers are crawling out of their holes and appearing before the Tribunals as 'conscientious objectors'.


'Caithness Courier' of the same date stated


The conscientious objector is one of the worst types of humanity, as he not only demeans himself, as a cringing cowardly hypocrite, but he dares to blaspheme the law of God by standing in the way of truth and Righteous freedom and would not give so much as a cup of cold water in his Name to a dying soldier who has laid down his life that the nations of the world might worship God in the spirit of Truth and Freedom. The government should not form them in to a non combatant corps but banish them to the Artic regions.

So already before any Caithness men had in fact stated a consicentious objection to serving in the forces, the local papers were stating their prejudice against CO's.




#42 Mk VII

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 07:17 PM

There was a good deal of prejudice against the C.O.s after the war, with many denied employment for years to come.

#43 MichaelBully

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 07:32 PM

Have been in touch with the Peace Pledge Union archivist and will forward pages that I have copied from 'Voices in the Wind-Caithness and the First World War' -including the section on Robert McClements , to their Conscientious Objector archives.



#44 MichaelBully

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 07:08 PM

Was at East Sussex Archives, found a copy of a No-Conscription Fellowship leaflet there titled 'For Freedom' which seemed to have been written by Lydia Smith from Brighton ( only initials are given) Reference AMS6375/1/41

There is a fascinating quote

" The Soldier M.P Captain Gwynne speaking on Conscientious Objectors in the House of Commons on June 26th 1917, said ;-There is one thing nobody can deny them and that is courage , the most difficult form of courage in the world, the courage of the individual against the crowd. That is a courage which every State would do well to protect and guard. That is the courage which, above all others, makes for freedom. "

I know nothing more than what is stated above but quite impressed me.

#45 woundwort

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:42 AM

Whilst up on holiday in Scotland I managed to consult a book titled 'Voices in the Wind-Caithness and the First World War' by Alby Budge, from 1996. Heartily recommended.
There was a case featured in this work of Robert A. McClements, a headmaster of Keiss School in Caithness, who was a Conscientious Objector. At a tribunal hearing on 31st August 1916 his claim for non-combatant service was upheld. When McClements returned from non-combatatant duties in February 1919, there was a prolonged local campaign to get him dismissed from his post as headmaster.
On 8th September 1919 protests outside the school against McClements remaining in post were held with insults being painted on the walls of the schoolhouse and three windows were broken. few children showed up for school. The school closed for a few days and McClements was suspended, then given another post. in the area away from Keiss.


EDIT author's name should be Ally Budge, NOT Alby.


I wonder how much of this was due to the dynamic of the protest organizers' having lost sons, brothers, fathers now seeing McClements not only return unscathed but resume a position of social respectability. I don't have a personal copy of VitW (it's good for local information, but is in serious need of a contents/index system), and don't recall what he did do in the Non-Combatants Corp... or did he go for anything like stretcher bearer?

Yet, clearly his request was approved. There's another account from VitW of a tailor's assistant from Lybster whose request was rejected, despite defences from other members of the community. Given that his petition was made at the start of war, this'll go back to my wondering if McClements met with such levels of vituperation in part due to his attackers' grief.

Yes agreed MB- also seems worrying that it was considered perfectly acceptable to hold quite a violent protest outside a school with children being present.


Observing contemporary anti-war rallies it can be seen that they aren't necessarily immune from violent imagery or conduct.

#46 MichaelBully

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:00 AM

I can't really comment further concerning 'Voices in the Wind'. I do not have my own copy, I consulted the book whilst at Inverness Library. Can look at it again next time I am at the British Library.
With regard to the protest organisers perhaps having lost sons, brothers, fathers resenting McClements ......it is a very important point.. This has been raised before in connection with the women with the white feathers taking out their grief on (apparently healthy) young men who did not seem to be contributing to the war effort.
Can only say that the right to excercise conscientious objection was recognised in the Military Service Act so find it hard to justiy penalising someone for applying for such an exemption.
My personal view re Conscientious Objectors is akin to that of Captain Gwynne quoted below -post 44.
Regards
Michael Bully

I wonder how much of this was due to the dynamic of the protest organizers' having lost sons, brothers, fathers now not only seeing McClements return unscathed but resume a position of social respectability. I don't have a personal copy of VitW (it's good for local information, but is in serious need of a contents/index system), and don't recall what he did do in the Non-Combatants Corp... or did he go for anything like stretcher bearer?

Yet, clearly his request was approved. There's another account from VitW of a tailor's assistant from Lybster whose request was rejected, despite defences from other members of the community. Given that his petition was made at the start of war, this'll go back to my wondering if McClements met with such levels of vituperation in part due to his attackers' grief.



Observing contemporary anti-war rallies it can be seen that they aren't necessarily immune from violent imagery or conduct.



#47 woundwort

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 02:29 PM

I can't really comment further concerning 'Voices in the Wind'. I do not have my own copy, I consulted the book whilst at Inverness Library. Can look at it again next time I am at the British Library.


There was no reproach intended. When the public library re-opens, I'll check its copy of VitW.

And Cpt. Gwynne's comments were sublime. They put me in mind of 3-Commando during the Second World War, all of whose medics and stretcher bearers were pacifists who refused to bear arms. Their commander said they were the bravest men he ever had encountered, which given the combat 3-Cdo saw was quite an accolade.

What I was questioning was a tendency to project our own early 21st Century biases and prejudices onto attitudes from 100 years ago, be it cod anti-classism and distrust of authority which gives rise to the presumption that the working masses were duped into enlisting instead of doing so willingly and with alacrity; or the lions led by donkeys canard and Blackadderification of the period. After 60 years of post-45 security in Western Europe and North America, declaring oneself to be a pacifist has become as much the default position as supporting war was in the antebellum period.

It also should be noted that the vicious editorials from the local papers you linked to are not dissimilar to the tone of the PPU newsletter two decades later when discussing Czechoslovakia or European Jews. This is emphatically not a criticism of those who could not countenance taking-up arms - and there were readers sufficiently concerned by this rhetoric to say so - but a remark that the PPU had been at a sticky wicket since its inception when founding signatories included more-than-objectively pro-fascists like Hastings Russell.

The past is a different place, and all that. Many would have renounced any support for the military in the interbellum period because they'd lost sons, brothers, fathers and looked back to the antebellum period with grief-tinged longing. Others did so for less virtuous reasons.

I don't know why those two cited teachers in Torquoy were dismissed. I do know, however, that there were PPU signatories investigated and even interned because they'd crossed the line between opposing war and assisting the Nazis.

#48 MichaelBully

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 10:05 AM

If you can have a look again at VitW and add anything, that would be great.

I have an interest in the north of Scotland , so welcome discussions on how the Great War impacted in that region.

In respect of PPU, Pacificism and Czechoslovakia 1938, this subject is getting too far from the remit of GWF, but I agree with your comments.

Regards, Michael Bully

There was no reproach intended. When the public library re-opens, I'll check its copy of VitW.

And Cpt. Gwynne's comments were sublime. They put me in mind of 3-Commando during the Second World War, all of whose medics and stretcher bearers were pacifists who refused to bear arms. Their commander said they were the bravest men he ever had encountered, which given the combat 3-Cdo saw was quite an accolade.

What I was questioning was a tendency to project our own early 21st Century biases and prejudices onto attitudes from 100 years ago, be it cod anti-classism and distrust of authority which gives rise to the presumption that the working masses were duped into enlisting instead of doing so willingly and with alacrity; or the lions led by donkeys canard and Blackadderification of the period. After 60 years of post-45 security in Western Europe and North America, declaring oneself to be a pacifist has become as much the default position as supporting war was in the antebellum period.

It also should be noted that the vicious editorials from the local papers you linked to are not dissimilar to the tone of the PPU newsletter two decades later when discussing Czechoslovakia or European Jews. This is emphatically not a criticism of those who could not countenance taking-up arms - and there were readers sufficiently concerned by this rhetoric to say so - but a remark that the PPU had been at a sticky wicket since its inception when founding signatories included more-than-objectively pro-fascists like Hastings Russell.

The past is a different place, and all that. Many would have renounced any support for the military in the interbellum period because they'd lost sons, brothers, fathers and looked back to the antebellum period with grief-tinged longing. Others did so for less virtuous reasons.

I don't know why those two cited teachers in Torquoy were dismissed. I do know, however, that there were PPU signatories investigated and even interned because they'd crossed the line between opposing war and assisting the Nazis.



#49 truthergw

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 02:29 PM

Edit...


What I was questioning was a tendency to project our own early 21st Century biases and prejudices onto attitudes from 100 years ago, be it cod anti-classism and distrust of authority which gives rise to the presumption that the working masses were duped into enlisting instead of doing so willingly and with alacrity; or the lions led by donkeys canard and Blackadderification of the period. After 60 years of post-45 security in Western Europe and North America, declaring oneself to be a pacifist has become as much the default position as supporting war was in the antebellum period.

Edit ...

While I agree with much of what you say, I am dubious about the above reference to supporting war as being the default position, pre-war. Large sections of the community were either anti-war or at least neutral. There were religious groups, notably but not only the Society of Friends. There were also political groups and parties. The Liberal Party had a large anti-war contingent, its official organ the Manchester Guardian and C P Scott, the editor, maintained that stance throughout the war. Most left wing and socialist parties were anti-war or against war with what they saw as fellow workers in Germany. Most left wing or ' progressive' parties looked askance at going to war on the same side as the Tsar with his reactionary, totalitarian regime. A sizeable section of the Irish population would have been very reluctant to take up arms on behalf of the British government. It may well be that these sections of the community were not well represented, either in parliament or the daily press but they did exist.

#50 Magnumbellum

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:09 PM

I wonder how much of this was due to the dynamic of the protest organisers, having lost sons, brothers, fathers, now seeing McClements not only return unscathed but resume a position of social respectability. I don't have a personal copy of VitW (it's good for local information, but is in serious need of a contents/index system), and don't recall what he did in the Non-Combatant Corps, or did he go for anything like stretcher bearer?

Yet, clearly his request was approved. There's another account from VitW of a tailor's assistant from Lybster, whose request was rejected, despite defences from other members of the community. Given that his petition was made at the start of war, this'll go back to my wondering if McClements met with such levels of vituperation in part due to his attackers' grief.


As a man allowed by his Military Service Tribunal exemption only to the extent of being enlisted in the Non-Combatant Corps, McClements would have had no further choice in what he did than to accept the work allocated to the Corps, usually heavy manual work, road and railway laying and repairing, transporting stores etc. As to medical assistance, the Army, in its infinite wisdom, deemed it unnecessary to take advantage of offers. Alfred Evans was a case in point: he asked his Tribunal to allocate him to the RAMC. The Tribunal had no power so to allocate, but recommended him as a non-combatant to the RAMC. The Army ordered him to the NCC, which Evans refused, so he ended up being improperly shipped to France, court-martialled and sentenced to death, finally reprieved and spending the rest of the war in prison. So much for the wise use of manpower.

I am puzzled by the account of the tailor's assistant from Lybster, whose "petition" (I assume "application" is meant) is said to have been made "at the start of the war", i.e, 1914. But as conscription was not instituted until 1916, how could any apllication for exemption be made in 1914? It is also said that "defences" were made by other members of the community. As applicants, by definition, were not defendants, where did the "defences" come in? Some clarification would clearly be useful, and if the name of the applicant were disclosed, this would help in verifying the facts.