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.

dove..