The Fourteen sent to France - Research by Stephanie Upston and group
We have begun to research who the fourteen men were and how were these conscientious objectors were treated in New Zealand and France?
There were 14 men who were not prepared to fight these men include:
-Alexander, John and Archibald Baxter
Punishment was considered an important part of breaking in objectors. Obviously the military authorities believed that if objection was made too easy then the war effort would suffer. Men like Baxter and Briggs were subjected to the most extreme measures, but all of those imprisoned faced a tough, carefully regulated plan of punishment designed to break their resolve. Those who didn't break after a month's imprisonment were court martialled at Trentham Army Camp near Wellington and sentenced to anything between 11 and 24 months' hard labour.
Conditions in prison for objectors were harsh. Conversation was forbidden and so-called difficult prisoners were subject to solitary confinement. Work in the quarries was back-breaking. At the end of their sentence objectors could either be sent to the front or re-imprisoned if they still refused to enlist.
This is a quote from Archibald Baxter who underwent Field Punishment No.1
“ (The sergeant) knew how to pull and strain at the ropes till they cut into the flesh and completely stopped the circulation. When I was taken off, my hands were always black with congested blood…The slope of the post brought me into a hanging position, causing a large part of my weight to come on my arms and I could not get a proper grip with my feet on the ground.”
This is just a start of our research and we will continue to look at this. By Stephanie Upston and group
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Last modified on Wednesday, 10 September 2014 10:18