WW1

PRISON EXPERIENCES

This is a further update in series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
_For other extracts go to:_http://nfpb.org/tribunal

Extracts from IN A MILITARY PRISON

Prison experiences

On the 23rd November, 1917, we entered the prison, and were taken in charge by one of the warders (a sergeant), whose duty it was to take our personal property from us and to array us in prison garments. During these preliminaries we are subjected to much abuse and bullying from the sergeant in question, and from several of his fellow N.C.O.‘s. In the most offensive and blasphemous language we were told that this particular prison was the worst place in France, that they were able to break men’s hearts there, and further, that we should be glad to work seven days a week after a few days with them. We were then interviewed by the Governor, who told us that we should be compelled to work Saturdays, as they were authorised to employ physical means in order to secure their object. On leaving the Governor we were set to work on the parade ground with some other prisoners who were working there. This was at three o’clock on Friday afternoon, one hour before our observance of the Sabbath Day commenced. We had plainly stated that we could not consistently continue work beyond four o’clock. By that time five or six sergenats, each armed with stick and revolver, had collected near the working party, As soon as we ceased work, with one accord these men rushed at us and knocked us down in turn with their fists. As each man rose from the ground this treatment was repeated. We still refused to work, and the attack was renewed with sticks. In several instances we were kicked brutally whilst on the ground. Two of sergeants became so infuriated that they now drew their revolvers, but were prevented from leveling them by the intervention of several of their fellow N.C.O.‘s. In no case was the slightest resistance offered by us. We were then rushed to the punishment cells, the sticks being freely used on the way, and several sergeants ran in among us deliberately tripping us, thus bringing heavily to the ground on the square. On reaching the cells we were placed in irons – called “figures of eight” on account of their shape – which are made in various sizes to grip the wrists securely one above the other behind the back. In some cases the irons were too small, and caused the most excruciating pain on being screwed up. In this helpless condition wer were isolated, each main in a small cell about 7 feet by 41/2 feet, having a concrete floor and iron walls. The extreme cold was very trying in this condition…

Personal Statement by ________

|n the cell the sergeants agreed that I was the ringleader because I was the tallest. The smallest pair of “figure eights” was brought and screwed down upon my wrists. So small was the pair that to get them on my flesh was ripped and cut in several places. The circulation was practically cut off, leaving my hands dead. I was then pushed into a cell, and pinned against the wall by one sergeant, whilst the others in a most passionate rage struck me continually about the head and in the stomach. Then one burly N.C.O. lifted me up bodily, and with his knee threw me backwards to the other side. The contact with the iron wall caused the irons to cut more, and sent acute pain to all my nerves. This kind of treatment continued until I dropped to the floor. I was picked up, but collapsed again, whereupon I was kicked several times in the middle of the back. Finally I became unconscious. I had made no opposition by force, or even uttered a word which could have given the least offence…


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Correspondence: Release or Imprisonment/

From The Trinunal March 21st 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

To the Editor of The Tribunal

Dear Comrade, – I am taking advantage of the opportunity afforded to me by the brief interval between the sentence of imprisonment which I have just completed and the one which I will begin in a few days, to impress upon the readers of the “Tribunal” the grave and urgent necessity of continuing with greater vigour than ever before the agitation and demand for the release of the absolutists.

I have just finished reading the two letters which appeared under the above heading in the issue of the “Tribunal” for February 28th, the one by Douglas Bishop, and the other by Oswald Clark. With the letter of Douglas Bishop I am wholeheartedly in agreement, and on behalf of many hundreds of absolutists C.O.‘s , as well as their relatives, I give him my sincere and hearty thanks. But with Comrade Clark’s demand that we should place “Peace” before “Release” in our programme, I cannot at all agree. The No-Conscription Fellowship is not merely a Peace Association. It is true that we earnestly desire, and are willing to work for peace, but the Fellowship did not come into existence merely as a Peace Society; it had a special object in view. The first and foremost object of the No-Conscription Fellowship is, and ought to be, as its name suggests – no conscription. Our purpose and an N.C.F. must be the defeat of conscription, and one of the surest ways to defeat conscription is to obtain the early and, if possible, the immediate release of the absolutists.

Apart from the defeat of conscription, both the N.C.F. and the Friends’ Service Committee believe in the sacredness of life. Knowing this, as I do, I am not only unhappy, as Douglas Bishop says, but I am surprised and amazed to read of the recent decision of the Friends’ Service who maintain that “it is better for absolutists to remain in prison until public opinion is in favour of their release rather than that those outside who hold similar views should demand the release of these men.” For what does that decision mean? It means this. The absolutists who are now in prison will have to remain in prison for many years to come, and at the end of that time I am afraid that many of our comrades will have passed to life beyond, and may others will be complete physical and mental wrecks. I have spent the last eighteen months in and out of prison in studying closely the absolutist question, and I do not make that statement without full and careful consideration.

What the Friends’ Service Committee ought to do, in my opinion, is not to wait until the public is in favour of their release,” but instead to make the public acquainted with the facts. For there is a large section of the public who do not know of the stand of the absolutist, so careful is the Government and Press to give publicity only to the men who accept the scheme.

There are some among our comrades whose temperament is such that prison life has little effect on them, and others who believe in suffering for suffering’s sake, but these comrades should not say “do not agitate for us,” they are only entitled to say “do not agitate for me.” If something is not done withing the next twelve monts the services of many of our friends will be last to causes of progress, but perhaps that is the object of the Government. – Yours fraternally,
Arthur L.G. Williams,
No.7 Hut, N.C.C., E2 Lines,
Park Hall Camp, Oswestry,
March 9th, 1918

TERRIBLE TREATMENT OF A C.O. IN DETENTION BARRACKS

From The Tribunal, March 14th 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

A shocking case of the ill-treatment of a Conscientious Objector at the hands of the military has just come to light, and illustrates in a forcible manner the brutality which exists in Military Detention Barracks.

Maurice Andrews, of Aberaman, a Russian Jew, aged 22, who left Russia at the age of seven, was arrested last December, court-martialled at Wrexham on January 22nd, and sent to Hereford Detention Barracks to serve a sentence of 56 days detention. There he was ordered to put on uniform and refused. What happened to him is described in a letter written on March 3rd by a friend who had just visited him in the gruard-room at Wrexham, whither he has been returned for another court-martial:-

“Poor fellow! He has been treated worse than a dog bu the military authorities. He has only been in their hands two months, and the biggest part of the time he has served in Hereford Military Prison. He is practically a physical wreck. He was shivering when I spoke to him this morning, as the guard-room was covered with ice. I will try to relate to you what he told me he had been through. He was sent from Wrexham to Hereford. There he refused to recognise orders. They stripped him of his civies, and left him in a cold cell in a singlet and pants for eight days. They refused to return his civvies, forced him into khaki and put him in a padded cell. They were strapping his hands behind his back for four hours every day. They relinquished the strap torture for the handcuffs, but afterwards found he could unloose his trousers with his handcuffs on, and they again used the strap. His wrists, poor fellow, I think he will bear bear the marks for life. He was put on No. 1 diet for two or three days a week. He hunger struck for two and a half days as a protest against this agony. Then they brought him before the Chief Commandant, but he was forced to wear khaki to return to Wrexham. He is in danger of physical collapse.”

And all this in spite of the fact that is clearly laid down in the Army Act that brutality is illegal! But this state of affairs in military detention barracks is only part and parcel of the whole brutal military machine. A soldier, who was recently giving some account of life in detention barracks, added: “But unless they make detention so terrible that a man would do anything sooner than endure it again, they would never keep discipline in the Army.” Could there be a stronger indictment of the whole system?

Andrews has now been court-martialled again, and is awaiting the promulgation of his sentence. He is clearly in no condition to face further imprisonment, even in a civil prison, to which, as a Conscientious Objector, he should have been sent in the first instance. The least that the authorities can do, in face of what he has suffered, is to discharge him from the Army.

WHAT A SOLDIER THINKS

From The Tribunal March 7th 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918.
For further extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

CAPTAIN GWNNE, M.p., ON CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS.

Speaking in the House of Commons on June 26th, 1917, Captain Gwynne, M.P. said:

“These are people who are not a blight upon the community; they may prove to be the very salt of the community. I am speaking now as one who has seen war. I think that everybody who has seen war has one governing desire, and that is to see war abolished from the world. I am not at all sure that these people, whom we propose to reject as outcasts of the State, may not be the best people to help in the fight to make an end of war. There is one thing that nobody can deny them, and that is courage, the most difficult form of courage in this world, the courage of the individual against the crowd. That is a courage which every State will do well to protect and guard. That is the courage which, above all others, makes for freedom. It is for that that I desire to see these men electors, and that I vote for giving them votes – just exactly as I would give votes to the soldiers – because they are the people who have shown not merely physical courage, but because they have made civic responsibility their plea. They have shown a spirit of initiative. These people, in refusing to act, have taken action which must have been extremely difficult to take, and when we are told that the good of the nation is somehow impaired by allowing these men a voice in our national councils, I ask myself. ‘What is the good of the nation’? Are you going to advance the real interests of this country, or of any country, by stamping out such people from among your full citizens? Progress, as far as I can understand, comes not with the crowd, but with individuals. Freedom in the last resort is won by individuals working against the crowd, and these are the people who make for freedom. It is in the interests of freedom during a war that is fought, at all events professedly, for freedom that I resist this attempt to limit what is the exercise of their legal freedom, and what is, I think with the Noble Lord, the exercise of higher morals.”

WHAT WE MUST NOT COMMENT ON

From The Tribunal 28th February 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For further extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

We need not remind our readers that our issue of February 14th was suppressed by order of the Home Secretary on account of the article on “The Moral Aspect of Conscription.”

In the House of Commons on February 25th. Mr. Lees Smith complained that regulated brothels in the neighbourhood of the British military quarters in France had not been placed out of bounds by the War Office, as similar places had been by the United States military authorities, in localities in which American troops were quatered.

In his reply Mr. Macpherson, the Under Secretary for War, laid great stress on what he described as the importance of interfering as little as possible with the jurisdiction of the civil authorities in an Allied country. He assured the House that if our soldiers were found in any way “creating a disorder in any of these institutions,” the Army authorities would have no hesitation in taking action; but they could not do it in a rough and ready way. Our officers in a particular town would go very quietly to the mayor of the town and would make the necessary complaints, and he was sure that joint action would then be taken – and taken promptly – “without hurting the sympathies of the French people or casting any slur of upon an institution which they think proper to maintain in their midst.

Mr. Lees Smith having asked whether it was seriously suggested that it would endanger the relations between this country and France merely because it was stated that these places were out of bounds for British soldiers, received the following reply:-

“I did not expressly say that I implied that, and I meant to imply a great deal more that I cannot discuss in this House. I might have given a semi-sufficient reason, not quite a sufficient reason, for our inaction if my hon, Friend wished to have an answer, but I am hoping that the Committee realises that there are far greater difficulties behind this.”

Mr. Chancellor: Do I understand that the impression is that offence would be given to the military or civil authorities in France if you protect our soldiers from disease and moral ruin by placing these places out of bounds?

Mr. Macpherson: No, the hon. Member for Northampton said that there were thousands of unregistered women outside in the streets, and he went on to imply that relations took place between soldiers and these women. If that is so, human nature being at is, I am not at all sure that it is such a bad thing to have a certain house where women are registered and kept clean.

The Manchester Guardian remarks:- “It is plain that what Mr. Macpherson called an ‘unsavoury and malodorous subject’ will have to be raised again and yet again until a satisfactory statement is forthcoming. Those are not the fitting terms in which to describe the question. What is malodorous would be encouragement or connivance in such a manner by anyone responsible for the good name of the British Army. Hundreds of thousands of very young men are going to France month by month from decent homes, many of them withing a year of leaving school.; they are now going under a law of compulsion, and the least which their parents have a right to ask is that all reasonable precautions should be taken to keep the grosser forms of temptation out of their way.”

OVER TWELVE MONTHS FORCIBLE FEEDING

From The Tribunal, February 21st 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the Uk between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb/org.uk/tribunal

Emmanuel Ribeiro, who was arrested in January, 1917, and has been hunger-striking in the Warrington War Hospital for over twelve months, is now in a very serious state of health. On 13th February a friend obtained permission to see him, and has sent the following report:

“Ribeiro was forcibly fed during our visit, but we were not allowed to see the process, although we saw the tube etc., brought in. It was over in a few minutes, and when we returned he was ill and giddy from the effects of the treatment. He was evidently suffering from very strong movements of the heart. He pressed his hand hard on his left breast, seemed pale and exhausted, and for a time could speak only with difficulty……I consider that the condition of Ribeiro is alarming, his health being much worse than when i last saw him. I fear he will die if not quickly liberated.”

But in spite of these facts we are told that the Medical Board recently announced that Ribeiro was going on well! The authorities know that he will never be in a fit state to be Court Martialled, yet they still continue their persecution of him rather than discharge him. Ribeiro has amply proved his right to exemption under the Act; moreover he is one of those Conscientious Objectors “in a poor state of health” whom the Government have promised to release.

In a leader in the Manchester Guardian of February 18th the case is commented on as follows: “The whole process is stupid, useless, wasteful and disgusting. If anything more need be said it may perhaps not be irrelevant to remind the Government that by this sort of senseless persecution they are doing more perhaps than in any other to ruin their credit with great numbers of thinking men and shake their confidence in a cause for the support of which such measures are deemed to be necessary.”

OUR PROSECUTION

From The Tribunal February 14th 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

There was a crowded court at Bow Street on Saturday afternoon last, when the TRIBUNAL prosecutions were heard. The National Committee of the N.-C.F., which was sitting at the time, adjourned to the court and man other people well known in the movement were to be seen there.

Mr. Bertrand Russell received many congratulatory handshakes on his entry, and the atmosphere was tense with interest and enthusiasm. We do not intend to give a detailed account here of the proceedings – for the case has already been widely reported in the public Press, and as the case is still sub judice we are prohibited from commenting upon it.

The actual passage on which the first prosecution was based occurred om Mr. Russell’s article, “The German Peace Offer,” in our issue of January 3rd, and reads as follows:

“The American Garrison which will by that time be occupying England and France, whether or not they will prove efficient against the Germans, will no doubt be capable of intimidating strikers, an occupation to which the American Army is accustomed when at home.”

Mr. Travers Humphreys, prosecuting for the Crown, stated that in view of “the diabolical effect” this passage would have if published without contradiction, a prosecution had been decided upon, and it was thought desirable in the public interest that the words should be read in open court – thus ensuring, we may point out, that their “diabolical effect” should be spread broadcast over the world to a degree that the circulation of the TRIBUNAL does not yet permit of. But we are, perhaps, too modest in our estimate of our own influence, as we learned later that “it is difficult to overstate the effect which that passage would have in all probabilities upon the soldiers of this country and their Allies,” and, moreover, that Brigadier-General Childs was present in court ready to give evidence on this point.

Mr. Whiteley’s able speech for the defence was notable for the dignity and force with which he argued “that everyone is still entitled to his own opinion, and that so long as the law be not broken, freedom of the subject and of the Press is still the right and prerogative of every person, whatever his views may be.” Moreover, he emphasised the fact that Mr. Russell was warning the public in this article of what he considers is a serious menace, and one of which Labour should be warned in time.

It is impossible to give any idea of the bitterness of tone in which Sir John Dickinson gave his decision: six months in the second division, without the option of a fine, for Mr. Russell, and £60 fine and £15 15s costs for Miss Beauchamp. Appeals against both decisions were entered at once.

The Second Summons

The second summons was against Miss Beauchamp alone, and was for publishing “false statements” in the TRIBUNAL of January 3rd. the statements so described were contained in the “Guard-Room message of that date.

It is clear that the prosecution entered the court with the intention of taking this case the same afternoon, for when Sir John Dickinson proceeded to sentence Miss Beauchamp on the first summons, Mr Humphrey interupted with: “I don’t know whether you think it desirable on the question of the penalty to consider the other case first?” Mr Whiteley at once rose and said that as the second summons was on a question of fact, the onus was on the prosecution to prove the falsehood. The paragraph was a quotation from a letter, and he would have to ask for an adjournment as Miss Beauchamp wished to call the writer of the letter, who is at present in prison, and a Home Office permit would have to be obtained before he could appear. Then, again, she would call a number of other witnesses, and there would be a contest of facts.

On hearing this, Mr. Humphreys, who appeared to be surprised, consulted with General Childs, and later asked that the case should be adjourned sine die. This the magistrate agreed to, and the court rose.

Mr. Russell and Miss Beauchamp were conducted with all ceremony to the cells, there to await the conclusion of the formalities connected with bail, for which Earl Russell and Mt. Cobden Sanderson were sureties.

The crowd waited patiently for their appearance, and a hearty cheer went up as they came down the steps. The enthusiasm displayed reminded us of the prosecutions in the early days of the Fellowship, and it was good to the high spirits of bothe “criminals.”

We advise all our readers to mark April 12th carefully in their diaries, for that is the date of the appeal, and will prove to be a very interesting and important occasion, and one that may be a red letter day in the history of the movement.

CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS WHO HAVE BEEN DISCHARGED

From the Tribunal 31st January 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

…FROM PRISON ON GROUNDS OF ILL HEALTH

28th January, 1918

Arrowsmith, W.G. (Merthyr Tydfill), prison: Manchest C.P., in hospital. 3rd sentence; no papers.

Bishop, D.G. (Tunbridge Wells), prison: Winchester C.P, mental. 3rd sentence; complete discharge.

Bunce, John (Altrincham), prison: Canterbury C.P., 3rd sentence, no papers.

Horton, Percy F. (Brighton), prison: Edinburgh C.P., in hospital. 3rd sentence; statement from Secretary of State for Scotland that he is released “to care of his friends.”

Pickles, W.A. (Blackburn), prison: Shrewsbury C.P. 3rd sentence; no papers.

Ramsay, W.A. (Chelsea), prison: Liverpool C.P. 3rd sentence, no papers.

Smith, Albert (Blackburn), prison: Shrewsbury C.P. 3rd sentence; complete discharge.

Smith, T.S. (Duston, Northhants), prison: Shepton Mallet C.P. 3rd sentence, no papers.

King. D.A. (Hornsey), prison: Exeter C.P., special treatment. 2nd sentence, no papers.

Allen, Clifford, prison: Winchester C.P.. in hospital. 3rd sentence, no papers.

Evans, J.W. (Chester), awaiting 4th C.M. at Red Barracks, Weymoth, mental. Army Reserve W.

Gilbert, Thomas, prison: Winchester C.P. Army Reserve W.

Hobhouse, Stephen (Hoxton). prison: Exeter C.P. 2nd sentence; Army Reserve W.

MILITARISM IN SCHOOLS

From The Tribunal January 24th 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

Sir. – There is a certain type of mind which regards the militarist as a ferocious, swashbuckling sort of fellow who wants to make everyone miserable and to be all the time on top himself. Now, although that kind of person is easily produced by militarism, he is by no means its chief danger. In general, he becomes so unpopular both with his superiors and with his inferiors that his position is difficult to maintain unless he curbs his ferocity.

The danger of militarism is not that it produces characters which are peculiar either for good or for evil, but that it definitely aims at producing uniform characters which have no peculiarity at all. Your true militarist aims at an ordered, graded society wherein each individual has his place in which it is his duty to remain.

Peculiarity in religion, dress, diet, political opinions or anything is equally detestable in his eyes. If his system obtains, a people becomes uniform and therefore servile and dead.

During the war militarist institutions have been imposed on the people of this country. It has been a difficult thing to do notwithstanding the fact that the great majority accepted the impositions as they came along. In the administration of the Munitions Acts, the Defence of the Realm Acts and the Military Service Acts and particularly of the Orders in Council. Under the two last, the militarist authorities have been continually brought into conflict with men and occasionally with women who have grown up free from the uniformity and servility essential for the easy working of such a system. It is naturally now dawning on the minds of those who desire such uniformity and servility in the people that the process must begin earlier. In the child individuality is still latent and there is the opportunity for militarism. Thus the experience of the last three years has caused the militarists to turn their attention to education. It does not in the least matter that the object lessons of Germany with its utilisation of the schools and universities for the purpose of militarism is before our eyes.

It does not matter the children of this generation will need all the resources, initiative and enterprise they can develop if they are to solve the problems of a world drained of its strength by war. The militarist means to mould the human material while it is plastic, and his hand is stretching out to grasp it.

Compulsory Cadet Corps, lessons from militarist pamphlet, dismissal of teachers whose views are in any way peculiar, registration, docketting, drilling, putting mind and body into uniform – that is what he is planning, especially for the children of the “lower orders.” The children of “the classes” may have some individuality if they like. Few enough of them will want to change their social order very materially. But the rank and file must be regimented. Therefore, say the militarists, let us talk everywhere of patriotism, let us get the hygenists to declare that the childrens’ bodies, the schoolmasters their minds, and the parsons their souls, need drill and more drill: and let us therefore delude Labour into handing over the coming generation to us. Is Labour, I wonder, willing that the bright promise of childhood should be so blighted?
Yours Etc, R.N.Langdon-Davies (Secretary, National Council for Civil Liberties.)

C.O.'S IN THE POST OFFICE

From The Tribunal January 17th 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 19q8
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

The following article is taken from the “Postal and Telegraph Record” for January 3rd, 1918, and deals with the recent action taken by the Government with respect to conscientious objectors in the postal service. We have received private information that in the one case (that of a married man) the effect has been to reduce his pay from 60’s to 30’s:-

COERCION FOR GOVERNMENT C.O.‘s

“The Government has just adopted a most amazing weapon with which to coerce conscientious objectors who are in the service of the State. In order to bring pressure to forego their claims to exemption, C.O.‘s who have been permitted by military tribunals to remain in Post Office employment as satisfying the authorities that they are engaged in work of national importance, are to have their wages substantially reduced. One of our members whose claims to the relief granted by Act of Parliament has been recognised by a tribunal, has received the following notification:-

“‘I have to inform you that, in accordance with a decision of the Government, P>O> servants who have been granted by the Tribunal exemption from military service on the ground of conscientious objection, conditionally upon their engaging in work of national importance, and have been allowed to remain on their P.O. duties as fulfilling this condition, can only receive after 31st inst. either the actual rate of remuneration drawn by them at the date of exemption (without further increment) or the rate at which would be paid to a temporary substitute performing the duty, whichever is less; and their service under these conditions will not count for pension or increments.
“‘You may if you prefer it, apply to the Tribunal for leave to undertake some alternative work outside the P>O> as a condition of exemption.’ 29/12/17.

“This action of the Government must be challenged at once, and all the power our Association can command must be exerted to get the persecuting decision of the Government revoked immediately. We cannot think that the authorities are foolish enough to imagine that a coercive measure such as this is likely to lead to the increase of the Army by a single individual. The only possible effect the new order can have is the infliction of punishment. The wives and families of conscientious objectors are the people who will suffer. We have here the spectacle of a Government which has gone to the length of legislating for the protection of conscience now turning round, and in a most spiteful and vindictive spirit saying to men whose only offence is that they will not degrade their conscience: “It is true that we recognise your conscience, but we are not prepared to stand by and allow you to take advantage of what you are legally entitled to. We propose, therefore, to make it difficult for you to live, and in order to induce you to reconsider your attitude towards your conscience we will reduce your wages.’ If the workers will permit the Government to do this, the next step will be to apply the coercion to industry in general – a position we feel certain the Labout movement would not tolerate for a moment. The action of the authorities is not only mean and spiteful, but it constitutes a grave violation of trade union rights. It enables the Government as an employer to sweat its servants, and is therefore as immoral as it is mean. It places the victim in the position of having to choose between his conscience or cutting the rates of pay of his colleagues.

“We want to mate it quite clear that we are not at the moment concerned with the question as to whether the conscientious objectors are right or wrong in the attitude that they take to up towards military service. The business, however. affects every member of the Association and every worker. It is a trade union matter, in addition to fact that the Government order will inflict a grave injustice on individuals. We trust that our branches will lose no opportunity of bringing the matter to the notice of other trade unions. The good offices of members of Parliament should also be invoked to secure the withdrawal of an order that not only violates all canons of decency, but is an illegal infringement of statutory conditions and obligations. We do not believe the House of Commons has either been consulted or made acquainted with this objectionable proposal.”

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