WW1

ANOTHER C.O. TAKEN TO FRANCE

From The Tribunal January 10th 1918

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

Yet another C.O., Alfred P. Catherall by name, has been taken over to France! He was released from Bristol Prison on December 5th, 1917, on the completion of his third sentence an on the 8th was sent over, still resisting, to France. No details of this sudden departure have been obtained as yet, but on December 31st Catherall wrote from the Guard Room, A.S.C., Base Depot, Havre, saying: “You will notice by address that I am in my usual abode (the guard-room). I cannot give full details of my case at present, but of course you will understand that I have not changed my views one bit.” On January 1st he wrote: “I hope you will be pleased to hear that I am in fairly good health and splendid spirits, and intend to fight for the cause to my last breath.”

Catherall’s case is an extraordinary one. He was arrested at Chester in September 1916, court-martialled and sent to Wormwood Scrubs. He had bee in bad health for years, and had a painful internal complaint, and his experiences in camp and prison must have caused him great suffering. He accepted the Home Office Scheme, and in December, 1916, was removed from prison to Wakefield Work Centre. There he volunteered for quarrying at Dinton Priors, but the work proved too heavy for him and he soon fell seriously ill. he was ordered to cease work immediately by the Home Office doctor, who gave him permission to travel home on sick leave on the condition that Catherall should accept full responsibility for the results.

After recovering somewhat, he was put on light work at Princetown, and later he volunteered for tree felling. When he had been eight weeks at his work he had an accident and was injured by some heavy rolling logs, and was sent back to Princetown and given light work again. After working there for three days he was suddenly arrested at work, without notice and without any charge being made against him! He was taken to Bath, court-martialled, and sent to Bristol Prison for 84 days without hard labour, court-martialled again in September and given the same sentence, at the conclusion of which he has been rushed out to France.

There can be no question of the fact that Catherall was a willing worker, and the Home Office had absolutely no case against him. moreover, the fact that he was not sentenced to hard labour is an additional proof of the state of his health. That he should be returned to prison with no charge formulated against him was scandalous, and now he has been treated to another sample of the manner in which Government pledges are “kept.” He can be sure that the matter is not being allowed to rest at this end.

A GUARD-ROOM MESSAGE

h3, From The Tribunal 3rd 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

We take the following extracts from a letter from a conscientious objector written in the guard-room after release from Wormwood Scrubs Prison. He is now back in prison with a sentence of two years’ hard labour:-

“The sensation of release is difficult to describe. When the large doors open and one passes from the great silence into the noise and bustle of the old world, a feeling of awe overcomes one. Even the most trivial things seem unique….I remember the first thing I saw was a man on a bicycle, he looked so curious and I was greatly struck and interested. This will indicate to you the effect everything had on me and with what profound interest the old world unfolded itself.

“At Waterloo Station I was greeted by many soldiers whom I met in camp six months ago – we had not forgotten each other, and our greetings were most cordial…. The fellows here have a great respect for C.O.‘s who defy the authorities; they trust us a great deal and admire our stand. I have found a marked alteration in their attitude, Not one man has reproached me for being a C.O., but all of them do not hide their opposition to the continuance of the war, and feel that C.O.‘s are the only persons who are really bringing peace nearer…. Every evening about a dozen of us sit around the fire and they bombard me with questions. Filled with humane feeling, these men talk of their dead and maimed comrades with tearful eyes, and they share with me the hopes for the future. If the war continues much longer, I believe the authorities will be faced with a serious revolt…

“During the last few months the Army has had a large influx of young recruits; some are only 15, 16 and 17 years, and it is pathetic to see the little lads trying to be brave and happy. I’ve had them with me weeping for home, comfort, and sympathy…. What permanent effect life in the army will have on these lads I do not know. Most have lost all self-respect and sense of decency. The language is simply filthy; the conversation base and immoral, and the general attitude to the Army is expressed by words ‘Fed up.’…. I can well understand those who have had experience of camps opposing military service because of the demoralisation it causes. This huge, ghastly monster is here presented naked before my eyes. I can see its sham grandeur.

“Out of this morass of degradation can there ever emerge any hope of the dawn of a better day? My answer is unreservedly “Yes!” There is hope! There is a greater future for my brethren because a few have had the will and the courage to hold fast to truth, love, faith and hope…”

REPORT ON 243A, PRISON REGULATIONS

From The Tribunal 27th December 1917

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

UNDER WHICH CONCESSIONS ARE TO BE MADE TO C.O.‘S WHO HAVE SERVED ONE YEAR’S IMPRISONMENT AND GAINED A CERTAIN NUMBER OF MARKS: AS REPORTED BY C.O.‘S IN VARIOUS PRISONS

1. EXERCISE. – The period of exercise is extended from 40 minutes to one hour – 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon.

2. CONVERSATION. – Prisoners are allowed to converse with their partner during exercise. Before this regulation prisoners usually walked in single file, they are now to walk in pairs. In one prison at least the men are allowed to choose their partner for each period of exercise.

3. BOOKS. – Prisoners are allowed to have four books of their own in their cell. It appears that additional books may be sent to the prison, number depending on the accommodation in the library. These books must not deal with the war or current political matters.

4. LETTERS. – Prisoners to write and receive a letter once a fortnight instead of once a month, but such letters and the replies are not to exceed one sheet of notepaper of the ordinary size; as a general rule at the present prisoners are allowed to make their monthly letter somewhat longer than this.

5. VISITS. – Prisoners to be allowed a visit of 15 minutes once monthly instead of 30 minutes once a month. At Wandsworth the prisoners went “en bloc” to the Governor and pointed out that to reduce the length of the visit by half was an absurd “concession.” He wrote to the Home Office and has now informed them that they have 30 minutes as before. On the other hand, the Governor of Pentonville, in an official letter dated December 11th, 1917, stated that A———- “will be entitled to write and receive a letter once a fortnight, and a visit of 15 minutes once a month.”

6. CLOTHING. – Prisoners are permitted to wear their own clothing. In one prison they have permitted to keep their overcoats in their cells, and also have been informed that they can, if they like, wear the prison underclothing under their own suits. This is an advantage as men are only allowed one set of their underclothing, and at least they can have a change and send the prison underclothing to the prison laundry.

7. CLEANING CELL. – Prisoners are permitted to have the service of another prisoner if desired, to keep their cell and utensils clean at a small charge. In some prisons this is 6d. a day.

The above “concessions” seem to be general. But in addition in one particular prison the regulation has been applied to their work as as follows:-

“Work in the woodyard has been knocked off as too heavy: other work remains the same, and the men are still tasked the same amount per day, but they have been told that if anyone feels his task too heavy he is to report to the Governor.”

BENEATH BIG BEN

From The Tribunal December 6th 1917

_ 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

From our Parliamentary Correspondent.

The problem of the conscientious objector still continues to exercise the minds of the House of Lords. On November 28th. Lord Charnwood moved that all conscientious objectors should be deported as a danger to the State and that teacher conscientious objectors should be debarred from the future training of the children. Among other things the noble lord described them as a hard, vicious lot of people, while lord Lambourne improved the occasion by imparting to his distinguished colleagues that: “My own firm belief is that out of a hundred so-called conscientious objectors – and I expressly exclude the Quaker sect – fifty are cowards, thirty are cranks , and the remaining twenty may be honest men. I believe that the indulgence shown to these men has not only encouraged them to what I believe to be unpatriotic conduct, but has encouraged others to follow their example.” Lord Lambourne as Colonel Lockwood represented Epping in the House of Commons for many years. He was famous in the world of sport for his decorative waistcoats and buttonholes and for sketches of dubious art with which he used to beguile the tedium of the House of Commons. Lord Charnwood has even less claim to distinction. As Mr. G.R. Benson he represented the Woodstock division in the House of Commons in the Liberal interest from 1892 to 1895. History has no other record.

The motion was opposed by Lord Crewe on behalf of the Government, who stated there was no intention “of extending the scope of the indulgence of exemption, now given to conscientious objectors.” Lord Parmoor, Lord Courtney, and Lord Gainford spoke against the motion, which was withdrawn.

By the time these lines appear in print it is hoped the House of Commons will have had an opportunity to reconsider its decision to disenfranchise conscientious objectors.

The atmosphere of the Commons is less oppressive than at any time during the last three years. Lord Hugh Cecil and Mr. Adamson’s speeches on disenfranchisement, Mr. Henderson’s open opposition to censorship of leaflets, and Lord Lansdowne’s letter have all contributed to clarify the air and to impart an untoward feeling of self-respect to Members of Parliament. The necromancy of the Welsh Wizard is being found out and the supply of hot air seems to evaporate much more quickly. I would advise the secret service to give eye and ear to the smoking room of the House of Commons; it is a very hotbed of seditious talk, and if not stopped someone might repeat some of the utterances withing the hearing of the common people who might be vulgar enough to give serious heed.

Talk of a Stockholm Conference has been revised, and it is rumoured that the Government will find itself in a much weaker position than when Count Czernin made his offer a few weeks back. The cards have now passed from the hands of the British statesmen.

On Monday last an influential conference representative of politics, literature and science was summoned under the signatures of Lord Parmoor, and Mr. R.D. Holt to consider ways and means of opposing D.O.R.A (27C), the censorship of leaflets, a powerful and significant combination.

The revised constitution of the Labour Party is being widely discussed and quite a number of Members of Parliament who are adherents to the Liberal Party are contemplating fighting their next electoral contest under the banner of Labour. I have met with one or two fairly prominent Nonconformist ministers who will join the Party while the “Medical World” announces that “among the Labour Party condidates at the next General Election there are likely to be ten or a dozen medical men pledged to support a programme of State Medical Service.

LIEUTENANT TATTOON, M.C.

From The Tribunal November 29 1917

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

The following poem is taken from a booklet entitled “Three Ballads (an intermezzo in War-time” by a distinguished man of letters

The case of Lieutenant Tattoon, M.C.
Is worthy of some remark.
He thought (and one should not think, you see)
That the War which was to make people free
Was now being fought in the dark.

For at first (he said) our aims were clear,
Men gave their lives with gladness
To save small nations from the fear
Of tyrants who would domineer
And doom mankind to madness.

Our rulers had claimed – and rightly I ween – That the Germans must be “broken”;
But afterwards, What that word might mean,
And what sort of peace was to supevene,
Were things which they left unspoken.

And no-one knew whatever on Earth
Our present objective and aim were,
And whether the loss and deadly dearth
Of another Million of lives was worth
Some gains in Mesopotamia.

These were the thoughts of Lieutenant Tattoon – Of course it was very improper,
But he actually gave them expression, and soon
Found out he was trying to jump the Moon
And only coming a cropper!

For to say what you mean is all right as a rule
In a far oversea Dominion,
But at home or under the Prussian school
It is not safe – and a man is a fool
Even to have an opinion.

A Medical Board sat on him, in state
(No wonder they looked so solemn);
His sins were entered upon the slate
With every lapse detailed to date-
And they added up the Column.

He thought – which for a Lieutenant was rash;
He spoke but should have kept silence;
He treated Imperial talk as trash
And considered the honour before the cash
Which might come to the British Islands.

‘Twas insubordination, they said,
And he surely must be crazy – Yet there he stood, in mien well-bred,
Collected and calm, with clean-cut head,
And looking as fit as a daisy.

An M.C. too – so what should they do?
‘Twas a most provoking and strange craze.
Yet to put him in prison a storm would brew
Of wrath – the mere proposal to mew
A hero in Woking or Strangeways!

For half an hour (as once in Heaven)
Silence fell on the folk assembled;
Till by one inspired the stillness was riven:
“‘Twas nervous shock.” The cue was given – And the whole court gaily dissembled.

“Poor fellow!” they said, “‘Twas nervous strain,
He’s a subject for our pity;
Let him to Hospital go, till his brain
Is healed, and there’s no danger again
That he will repeat that ditty.”

To a Shell-shock ward then he was sent,
And there he was kindly treated
And even indulged to the top of his bent:-
But there ever since has safely been pent,
And his words have been repeated.

TREATMENT OF THE MEN IN PRISON

From The Tribunal 22nd November 1917

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

In the House of Commons on Tuesday, 13th November, Mr. E. Davies asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the feeling which exists in the country owing to the fact that mean who claimed exemption as conscientious objectors, but failed to satisfy the various standards of the tribunals in different parts of the country and who, refusing to obey military orders, have suffered punishment on more than one occasion for what is, in effet, the same offence,he is ina positions to say that the question of the method of dealing with these men is being reconsidered by the Government?

Sir George Cave: if the hon. member means by his question to suggest that the general feeling of the country is adverse to the continued enforcement of the law in the case of persons claiming to be conscientious objectors, I do not agree with him. It must be remembered that all conscientious objectors now in prison have been offered their release on condition of their undertaking non-military work under the Home Office scheme, and have either refused the offer or failed to carry out the conditions on which they were released. The question how these men should be dealt with has been recently considered by the Government, who have determined that the law must be enforced, and that they must serve their sentences in prison. But in the case of men of this class who have sentenced to a long term of imprisonment the Government have decided that some relaxation of the prison rules should be allowed to prisoners who have earned the marks representing a twelve-months’ sentence (whether such marks have been earned in one or more sentences), and I propose shortly to give directions to this effect under No. 243a of the Prison Rules.

In the House of Lords on Nov, 14th, Earl Curzon stated that he would consult with the Home Secretary and make a statement at a later date as to the possibility of a further relaxation of prison rules.

Information is to hand from one prison that an alteration has already been made there in the regulation regarding books. Under the new order a C.O. is allowed to have his own books sent to him at the prison. His name must be clearly written therein. These books are to be housed in the Library but kept for his use only and he is apparently to be allowed the usual number in his cell at a time. At the end of his sentence he will be able to take these books away with him. We await Lord Curzon’s further statement with interest.

WHY I REFUSE TO BECOME A SOLDIER

From The Tribunal November 15th 1917

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

Extracts from B. J. Boothroyd’s court-martial statement.

“I have refused to acknowledge military authority because I do do not regard myself as a soldier. That the law says I am a soldier does not concern me; the law was passed for the immoral purpose of forcing men to commit murder and to expedite murder, and therefore, I have no option but to refuse to obey it.

“War is the sanction of every vice that human mind can imagine. Every form of bestiality, every category of sin that human history contains is encouraged by war an exemplified in this one. War inevitably creates a state of things in which lying, treachery and end theft are enforced by Act of Parliament – in which the torture and destruction of men’s and women’s bodies is made the subject of technical instruction, and in which every evil, the capacity for which is inherent in humanity, is taught as a virtue by civil, military and ecclesiastical authority. With this state of things I am out of harmony, and to every manifestation of it I must offer uncompromising opposition.

“To ask me to be a soldier is to ask me to throw away my humanity, to extinguish the spark of divinity that is the soul of every man, and to ask me to act contrary to what are to me fundamental ethical laws, namely, to return good for evil, to refrain from judging and punishing the sins of others, and to treat others as I would be treated myself.

“Further, war necessitates the denial of that liberty of choice and action and that insistence on the sanctity of individuality which is necessary to human growth and development, and substitiutes a course of training that reduces the race to a set of standardised automata, without wills or judgement, permanently subject to the interest of a ruling class.

“Moreover, I am convinced that if the people of England and Germany could know to-day what I know of the political and financial events which led up to this war, instead of being fed upon the lies and half-truths of our officially ordered press, the men who are now killing each other in their ignorance would refuse to fire another shot unless it were at the rulers who have deceived and exploited them.

“Until this spell of false morality, false facts and bad logic, appealed for under the name of patriotism is broken, I believe there is no future for the race, but chaos and destruction. For my part, I intend to do all I can to exemplify another way of life, based on a conception of human relationships which will render way impossible. My alternative to punishment, whether of men or nations, is the example of a better way; to antagonism – amicable co-operation based on the common interests of humanity; to armed defence – fearless trust of my neighbour; and any law which orders me to live contrary to these principles I shall disobey without hesitation and try to persuade others to do so.

“With all due respect, I must disclaim any interest in the opinions expressed by this Court as to my guiltiness or otherwise, for I regard myself as the accuser in this case, believing this Court to be both a symbol and an instrument of that system of militarism which has plunged the world into misery. I wish to say, however,- and this in conclusion – that I do not wish my attitude to be mistaken for discourtesy towards the members of this Court, or to any soldiers.

My attitude towards soldiers is one of hope that their splendid qualities may some day be diverted from unnecessary destruction to the enrichment of humanity, by a fuller appreciation of the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ and a better acquaintance with foreign politics.”
B. J. Boothroyd

WILL CONSCRIPTION CONTINUE AFTER THE WAR

From The Tribunal 8th November 1917

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

The Pope’s second Note to the belligerent Powers suggest, as one of the Terms of Peace, universal abolition of conscription by international agreement, a suggestion which was subsequently emphasised and amplified by Cardinal Gasparri. From what has been said by Count Czernin, and somewhat less explicitly in the German reply to the Pope, there is every reason to suppose that the Central Powers would be willing to accept such a clause in the Peace Treaty. The Allies, so far, have given no hint of any desire for dimunution of armaments elsewhere than among the Central Powers.

The No-Conscription Fellowship, as its title indicates, is vitally interested in the proposal to abolish Conscription. Many people in this country who dislike Conscription regard it simply as a measure for the duration of the war, as, indeed, it is nominally, as soon as the war ends. There is, however, every reason to fear that this optimistic belief is a delusion. If Conscription continues on the Continent, and if international relations after the war continue to be conducted in the same principles on which they have been in the past, it may be taken as certain that compulsory military service in this country will continue. The only genuinely practicable method of inducting our rulers to abandon such a convenient institution will be by an international agreement, and it is much to be hoped that all who do not love militarism for its own sake will rally in support of the Pope in his proposals and will endeavour to prove that it is not only in Germany and Austria that the abolition of militarism is desired.

The evils of Conscription are many and various. The financial burden alone constitutes a grave evil after the war, when every nation will be crippled by the debts contracted to capitalists and all available labour will be required to repair the ravages of war. So long as Conscription persists, it is almost impossible that neighbouring nations should be on genuinely friendly terms, since each is continually obsessed by the fear of what its neigbour’s conscript army might do in an invasion. Genuine friendship between the nations demands a diminution in their offensive power in order that suspicion, terror and pride may no longer be the feelings that dominate diplomacy. All who have studied Conscription of the Continent are unanimous as to the damage it does to the health of the race through the spread of venereal disease, and it is impossible to estimate the moral damage that is done to the health of each nation by teaching them that the most important thing to learn is how to kill. We of the No-Conscription Fellowship are especially concerned to emphasise this aspect of the evils of Conscription. We believe that those who have the deepest moral insight and the greatest capacity of love for their neighbour cannot consent to make themselves the blind tools of destruction at the bidding of Governments which may be ambitious and unscrupulous. We believe that the effect of Conscription is gradually to stamp out those who have such insight. And in this process it cannot but crush individuality and independence of thought, producing a slavish population whose acts are dominated by fear and inspired by the purposes of others, not y their own desires and aspirations. It is not by such populations that great things are done for civilisation, or that progress is to be expected in any of those directions in which we should all wish to see the human race moving. For all these reasons we hope that our rulers will graciously permit us to support the Pope in his endeavour to secure the objects for which we are said to be fighting.

BERTRAND RUSSELL

"THE TIMES" AND CONSCIENCE

From The Tribunal November 1, 1917

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

We print here in extenso, a leading article entitled “Conscience Recalcitrant” which appeared in the “Times” of October 25th…

“Our columns continue to give evidence that the problem of the conscientious objector is not yet satisfactorily settled, and we understand that more is likely to be heard of it in the near future. The popular attitude of indifference, blazing at irregular intervals into spasmodic indignation, would be all very well if the question of conscientious objection to military service was a static question, which could be disposed of once for all on rigid lines. Unluckily it is not; it rests on the beliefs, convictions, or prejudices of men whose mere presence within the community is a perpetual interrogation. It is out of the question to dispose of these men, as so many would like to dispose of them, with an impatient wave of the hand and a dictatorial ‘Off with his head; so much for conscience in war time”’ We are not pleading the case of the conscientious objector, irrespective of its individual bearings; very much the contrary. But it is necessary to remind people that these cases cannot be judged in an undiscriminating and summary way. Conscientious objectors may be divided into three main classes. There are those who have accepted non-combatant service, have agreed to “work of national importance”; and those who have refused both, have been compelled to go into the Army, have declined to perform their military duties, and are serving – as a penalty of their refusal – successive terms of hard labour. It is the case of this third class we desire to direct attention. Most of us may think it an impertinent query, but it is a query all the same, and sooner or later will have to be answered. How long are these men to be compelled to serve successive terms of hard labour because they refuse to submit to the discipline of the Army into which they have been forced?

“Before we attempt an answer let us reflect on one or two circumstances in their case. First, they have deliberately turned their backs upon the comparatively easy avenues of escape offered by acceptance of either ‘non-combatant service’ or ‘work of national importance.’ They are thus self-condemned to a lot far harder than that of those who have escaped military service by one or other of those avenues. It may be said that the dominant motive with many of them is the itch for notoriety. Possibly it is; but even so they pay the price in hard labour, though that price is small compared with the long-drawn trial of service in the trenches. Next, they are being punished again and again for what is essentially a single offence. And, once again, they are punished thus repeatedly for that rebellion of the individual conscience against the claim of the State to rule conscience which experience has shown to be rather fortified and propagated than exterminated by punishment. They are useless where they are; if released, some of them might be useful to others, if not to the State; and if any of them are dangerous to the State, the law has its remedy. And it is possible that their present treatment supplies the disaffected with gratuitous arguments which it is difficult to answer. Many of them no doubt glory in their punishment, reckoning it is a persecution easy to be borne for conscience sake, and certain – as in the case of the early Christians – to promote the doctrine that it hopes to exterminate. We do not endorse these arguments on behalf of this particular class of conscientious objector, but we feel bound to state them for the calm consideration of a community that justly prides itself on its tolerance. The difficulty, of course, is to test the real motive that inspires the objection to military service. It is so easy, as every one knows, to assume the cloak of conscience which covers, in many cases, an abysmal degradation of selfishness, or of treason, or of mere pitiable fear. But it is at least worth considering whether circumstances have not provided an automatic test. When a man has deliberately refused to avail himself of two alternative ways of escape from prison labour; when he has more than once, of his own deliberate choice, gone back to gaol; when he shows himself resolute to go back again and again rather than submit to that military service against which he asserts that his conscience raises for him an insuperable barrier – when he thus proves repeatedly his readiness to suffer for what he proclaims to be his belief, is it either justifiable or politic to go on with the punishment? The question seems to us to be worth a good deal more thought than the complacent generalisation of the public about conscientious objection has been willing to give it as yet. One point is, however, clear. Men who, for whatever reason, decline to do their duty as citizens place themselves permanently outside the community and have no title rights. But between these disabilities and the constant infliction of positive punishment there is a distinction. And it is this distinction that is worth considering.”

C.O.'S IN PRISON

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

BY THE MOTHER OF ONE OF THEM

Who PUT them in Prison?
“We” say the Court Martial
“Our judgement is partial
Our job will be gone,
And we shan’t carry on
If we listen to conscience
And that sort of nonsense.
Away with their tale!
Just clap them in jail,-
At the horrors we hear of the stoutest will quail!”

Who’ll STARVE them, in prison?
“Oh, we!” say the warders,
“For such is our orders,-
Reducing the ration
Is now all the fashion.
And ill-flavoured gruel
Is left,- something cruel!
Blackbeetles and mice
Spoil the oatmeal and rice
And the ‘Objects’ ob-ject, they’re fearfully nice!”

Who sees them DIE?
“Not I,” says the Nation,
“A pure fabrication!
They’ve lost weight we know-
A few stones, or so,-
And some have gone mad
With the tortures they’ve had
But if some have died
Such cases we hide-
And no-one, you’ll notice, for Murder is tried!”

Who’ll HELP the C.O.’s?
“Not I,” said the Church,
“For my ‘scutcheon would smirch,-
All war I abhor, it is not in my line,
But this war is diff’rent, it’s holy, it’s fine!
Now I can’t quite explain, but you’ll see in a minute-
Although it’s so holy,- why I am not in it;
The Government thought it would look very ill-flavour
The Cause notwithstanding, for Clergy to kill!
So this kind exemption of course I requite
By “talking up” fighting,- although I don’t fight!
Thus you will perceive, though I feel for their woes
That I can’t say a word for the poor dear C.O.’s!”

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