Conscientious Objectors At Walton Prison.

Remembering the Conscientious Objectors held in Walton Prison.

Background information.

Merseyside Peace Network held an event outside of Walton Prison on March 2nd 2016 in order to mark the date conscription was first introduced in Britain during 1916, and to honour all the Conscientious Objectors which were incarcerated in the prison.

A second event was held on November 11th 2018 to mark the end of World War One, and remember them once more.

The Merseyside peace Network was planning to revisit Walton prison on September 18th, both to remember the Conscientious Objectors who were incarcerated in the prison, and all those who died in it during the Merseyside Blitz.

Now due to the need to social distance because of the corona virus, this event has been cancelled.

The prison was hit by bombs on three separate occasions

– On the night of September 18th / 19th 1940.

A bomb hit K Wing. Twenty Two of the inmates were killed.

– On the night of April 26th / 27th 1941

A bomb damaged both the Chapel and Gym.

– On the night of May7th / 8th 1941 a bomb hit E block.

Two Conscientious Objectors were killed.*


Desmond Ernest Bray, from Alvechurch, Warwickshire, a worker for Birmingham PPU.


Kenneth Coney, described as “young”, from Coulsdon, Surrey.

 ‘They were booth allocated noncombatant service by their respective CO Tribunals, and both accepted medical examination, inevitably leading to call-up to the Non-Combatant Corps. They were sent to Dingle Vale Barracks, a makeshift conversion of Dingle Vale Schools, on the outskirts of Liverpool. There they refused orders, leading to courts-martial and imprisonment.

– Desmond Bray was serving his second sentence, 6 months

– Kenneth Coney was serving his third sentence, not known, but would likely have been at least 6 months.

The effect of the bombing was to completely destroy their bodies, so they could not be buried. Because of that, they are formally commemorated on the Commonwealth War Grave Commission Memorial, naming hundreds of soldiers not able to be given graves, erected at Brookwood, Surrey.’

 

CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS WHO SERVED SENTENCES IN WALTON PRISON, LIVERPOOL

World War One

Thomas ABBOTT

Maurice H ANDREWS

Percy Reginald BAINTON Continue reading Conscientious Objectors At Walton Prison.

Anti Militarist Resistance in Japan – 1926 to 1945

By way of an introduction

References to pacifist and radical actions within Japan during the period 1919 to 1945 are not well covered within any English language publications.

It would be really good if this was not so.

Thus this is not a definitive study of just what happened during this period, but a starting point for anyone who wishes to know more about the subject.

Please note that the dates referred to below are those of publication, and not unless specificity stated the dates when the events occurred.

War Resistance

The following reports were published in War Resisters International [WRI ] periodical War Resistance.

– July 1926

Japanese Students Resist Military Training

At Meiji Gakuin College in Tokyo, 117 students voted against the introduction of military training at the university against 82 votes in favour of it. The result was that military training was not established at this university. In other colleges where it exists,it is becoming increasingly unpopular.’

— December 1926

Japan Message to Youth.

Sent by The World Peace Society,

with an address in Tokyo.

– 1931

The WRI sections include the:-

‘Group within the General Workers’ Union of Japanese

– June 1931

In a letter the Japanese General Workers Union [ Kanto Jppan Rodosha Kumiai ] of Tokyo expresses solidarity with WRI.

– Autumn 1932

There is a short report Women of Japan.

‘ Difficult as has been the situation in Japan, there have not been lacking brave souls who are prepared to run great risks on behalf of peace and anti-militarism.’

– Autumn 1932

&

– Spring 1934

There were reports about Dr Toyoshiko Kagawa, who is referred to as the ‘Gandhi of Japan’.

– Summer 1937

A letter is published from Tokyo under the heading: –

Difficult Work in Japan.

In it there are references as to the problems faced by pacifists.

‘It is not really practicable for us to form a group of WRI members at present for under present frenzied inspection by police a definitely illegal group could not exist, or at least, could not be active.’

– Summer [ July ] 1938

Under the Heading Japan – A few Letters get through there Is a brief report of the situation in the country.

The letter quoted states that: ‘ six university professors are under arrest for their anti-war attitude’.

– Autumn 1942

The Children’s League of Peace and Goodwill carried on steady work up to Japan entering the war.

– Summer 1946

A report two page report was published under the title:-

Japan before the war, 1939.

– 1958

The Anarchist Federation of Japan published various pacifist articles.

At their 5th annual congress they read out a letter by WRI co founder Harold Bing.

Peace News

– May 14th 1938

Under the heading – Japanese Refuse War Service.

In a letter from Japanese Anarchists:-

‘ Since the War broke out mare than three hundred of our comrades have been arrested in Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, and other cities on that they translated and printed the publication of the International Anti-militarist Bureau, and distributed them.’

Other Examples

From the Japan Times – March 4th 1996

‘Pacifist Documents from 1932 Found.

Documents sent from pacifist groups and activists in china and Britain protesting the Japanese military provocation in Shanghai in early 1932 were discovered among items left by the late lawmaker Tomi Kora. ‘

Chiune Sugihara

Chiune Sugihara was a Japanese diplomatic vice-consul Lithuania. During the World War Two. He helped about 6,000 Jews flee Europe by issuing transit visas to them so that they could travel through Japanese territory.

Further Reading

Hane, Mikpso

Japan

A Short History

Oneworld publication

London 2013

See in Particular these sections with chapter Six: –

Socialist-Communist Movements

&

Women Activists

Crump, John

The anarchist movement in Japan

2nd edition

Anarchist Communist Editions

London October 2008

Chapter two covers the period 1912 – 1936

Appeasement – The Militarist Plot

On September 3rd it will be 80 years since the British government declared war against Germany, in what became the Second World War.

No doubt there will be a lot of media attention about this anniversary.

As ever many militarist will repeat the lie that it was pacifists which promoted appeasement.

What is forgotten is that it was a UK government policy which was put it in place – so that the country could rearm.

In point of fact the British Foreign Office promoted this as they believed the country could not simultaneously fight a war in both Europe & Asia.

Though they would also of seen this as being: ‘ For the defence of the Empire.’

There were other reasons for appeasement too.

– Such as how the Rabid Right Wing viewed Fascism as a protection against Communism.

Keep all of these facts in mind come September.

Think Again – A Draft Text For Anti-Militarist Activists.

Thinking about Joining the Army?

Think Again.

You might think that joining the army will mean you learn a skill which might may make you more employable.

Think Again.

You may only learn to kill innocent individuals in an unjust war.

Think Again.

You may think the army will give you a secure future.

Think Again.

Just look at the number of ex soldiers who are rough sleepers on the streets of this city.

Think Again.

You may think that it may be easy to leave the army with very few problems in doing so.

Think Again.

Even if you complete the full term of an army contract, then you will still be eligible to be called up as a part of the Army Reserve.

Think Again.

You may be told that by joining the Army Reserve you can change you mind at any time.

Think Again.

Anyone who is called up as an Army Reservist in time war and refuses to do so will be court marshalled as a deserter.

The maximum sentence for this is Life In Prison.

So Think Again.

Is the Army really something you really want to join?

Now just add your campaigning address, print out, and distribute outside of your local Army Recruiting Office.

False Solutions Or Joined Up Campaigning ?

Most of the greatest issues which we face can not be dealt with in isolation.

That is why we need to rethink how we approach many of the most urgent issues which endanger us all, and that means we do need to engage in joined up campaigning.

Here are just a few examples of how this might be achieved.

Plastic Ship Building

If we were to live in a society in which people thought more about our rubbish, then not only would a lot of our ecological problems be over, but in doing so we could solve many of our economic problems too.

Ship building & Barrow

Of course the other side of this is just how we clean up the oceans of all the plastic which is floating in it, Getting that done will require many specialist sea craft to scoop it all up. There are a number of designs for such craft. All we have to do is build them.

The other aspect of this is that the collected plastics can be recycled & that will mean less oil being drilled.

While the ship building industry can switch over their production away from that of building war ships.

Many is the time we get to hear that something needs to be done in order to create jobs, but the kind of jobs on offer, or which might be on offer, create more problems than they will ever solve.

For example in the arms trade.

What is needed is a some creative thinking in order to stop this kind of thing occurring.

Past Examples

An earlier example of what might be done is The Lucas plan, which came up with Road Rail Vehicles.

Yet for many politicians the priority is not so much looking to save our future, but to save something of the glories of a false past.

This is especially so with regards WW1, and how it is being used to encourage militarism.

Yet in Germany there are a number of memorials to the Unknown deserter, but no such memorial exists within the UK.

Although there is a Conscientious Objectors Commemorative Stone in Tavistock Square.

Future Examples

Other examples of what can and should be done include: –

– Planting more trees & creating new forests.

– Moving towards a better public transport system, with the creation of many more tram and railway lines.

– Stopping nukiller power via the use of wind and solar power.

Honour The Many Brave Conscientious Objectors Of WW1.

1916 – 2016

Military Service Act came in to force on March 2nd 1916. As a result many brave conscientious objectors ended up in Jail.

Next Wednesday [ March 2nd at 11.00. ] there will be an event to honour these men outside of Walton Jail in Liverpool.

That is where many of those brave men were incarcerated.

This includes people such as Fenner Brockway.

The event will involve a reading of the names of COs who were held in Walton jail, and some of the many WW1 COs from the Merseyside area.

After that there will be a brief name reading of just a few of the many COs who are currently held in prison throughout the world 

This will be a unique event.

Please lets others know about it and come to it if you can.

Remodelling The Campaigning Model

I shall continue to be an impossible person so long as those who are now possible remain possible.”Mikhail Bakunin

The Current Situation

One of the things I keep repeating is something which seems very obvious to may activists.

We have reached the tipping end of Climate Change, and there is very little we can do except to try to mitigate the most extreme aspects of that change.

The Pacific is dying.

&

We have a major long term problems with nukiller power & nukiller waste.

Yet the number of activists who are campaigning to stop these problems is extremely small.


Countering the campaigning myth.

One of the continual myths that abounds is that we can change things by organising big national demonstrations, lots of nonviolent direct action, and building a mass movement.

I’ve heard the same thing said many a time, and then watched people fall away with burnout, while stating that they need to ‘take a rest for a while’.

Thus campaigning goes in waves of activities, while the latest political crisis diverts a lot of individuals attention from these issues.

Yet the dangers posed by global warning, nukiller power, and radioactive waste grow by the hour.

Having regular rests might be good for the individual activists, but it’s not good for the those activists who keep going hour by day by month by year by decade on end. [ That comes with a financial and emotional cost which I’ll not go in to right now.]

For the long term activists it’s not just a question of keeping up with the issue, as the nukiller industry is multifaceted, but constantly working to share that knowledge.

Thus the best campaigners need have to a wide ranging knowledge of different subjects, be multi-skilled, and possess the ability to keep summing up that knowledge in different ways.

Just doing that while organising very small actions is the very most which most long term activists can hope to achieve.

This is particularly so as there are just not the numbers to sustain anything else.

Thus the line about ‘direct action is the only way’ becomes more of a chant than the reality.

Just keep in mind that:-

– Long term campaigning means we have to transcend both class and culture.

– Long term campaigning means constant self-education.

– Long term campaigning means just that.

– Long term campaigning means constantly campaigning for years on end without a break.

Constantly campaigning is the name of the game.


Just How do we do it?

The reality for most campaigning groups is that everything comes down to a few activists.

So:-

– How do we get away from only ever being able to organise regular pickets or leafleting sessions which just consist of 2,3, or 4 people ?

– How do we get away from meetings or public meetings at which we are only a small group of committed individuals ?

– How do we keep campaigning for years on end with little or no support?

&

Most importantly of all.

– How do we motivate people in to action ?

There are no easy answers to these questions.


A few workable options.

My thinking is that there is just not the money, people, or the resources around to think about any major national events.

Yet we can do the following:-

– Make sure to get to any pickets of demonstrations by other groups which are going on within the area or region one is living in.

– Hold more co-ordinated demonstrations or pickets on set dates.

e.g. During the next DRS open day will be held at their Carlisle depot on July 18th.

– Have more nukiller waste train leafleting sessions which are held at those times when regular commuters go through the effected stations.

That in turn could be used as a pre-requisite to setting up more local anti-nukiller groups.

– Encourage activists from other local groups to come visit & find out more about our own nukiller plants.

This is something which will both widen our knowledge base, and help to build support for each other.

For example: –

It would be very useful for more activists to go see all of those plants which will be effected by rising sea levels, such as Sizewell, Dungeness, & Heysham.

Or

Capenhurst & all those places through which Uranium Hex is transported.

&

– Getting away from thinking about supporting those these groups which have paid fund-raisers.

The real need is to pay for the leaflets which are handed out by activists, and getting people to these protests on a regular basis.

That means making a few small regular donations to cover paper, ink, and train fares.

All of this might not seem like such,

but it is a very basis need if we are ever going to sustain any long term anti-nukiller campaigning.


Re-penning the campaigning manuals.

As a last observation.

Many of these issues are just not covered in most campaigning manuals.

The presumption being that each campaign has an easily defined time scale.

Yet this does not apply to nukiller power, as we need to look at the many year which they will be around, and the long term impact they will make.

Even if we stop new build and close down all the nukiller plants in one go, then there will still be the decommissioning and radioactive waste issue which will need to be addressed.

There is real need for campaigning manuals to examine just how we might support long term campaigning, and thus how best to work in mixed aged groups.

Images Of War

Books.

Some books contain such horrific images that I would be very
reluctant to show them to anyone who has no need to view them.

Such books include: –

Ernst Friedrich.
Krieg Dem Kriege
( War against war ).

&

Lord Russel of Liverpool.
The Knights of Bushido: A Short History of Japanese War Crimes.

Both of these works contain very important information about the
horrors of war, but there they also have some very disturbing
photographic images.

The same also applies to those works which describe the effects of
Atomic Bombs dropped at Hiroshima & Nagasaki.

What applies to books about war also applies to those works
which show the medical effects of radioactive leaks from Nukiller
Power stations.

War is Not a Game.

Many media images of soldiers just show men in combat or
on military parades.

This also extends to the model soldiers which are on sale in toy
shops.  Most of these models either glorify war, or show soldiers
engaged in acts of violence.

This is why many pacifists are concerned with the sale of war toys.

It is very rare to come across model soldiers as the casualties of war, or in need of medical Help.

Veterans for Peace.

Veterans for Peace UK has recently been established with the following Aims:-

– To resist war through non-violent action.
– Support persecuted war-resisters.
– Counter militarism in society through education.
– Increase public awareness of the costs of war.
– End the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate
nuclear weapons.
&
– Abolish war as an instrument of national policy

As ex soldiers they have experienced the truth about war.

They deserve to be heard.

25 4 25

It was on December 15th 1985 that I first became a regular
volunteer with War Resisters International ( WRI ).

Being a volunteer does not mean that I do any of the exciting
project work, but it does involve me in working upon all of
these routine jobs around the office which need to be done in
order that WRI can function as a campaigning body.

If you have received anything in the post from WRI over the
last 25 years, then I might of worked on that mailing.

If you have been to any of the WRI gatherings over the last 25
years, then I would of been one of the  individuals who helped
print the background papers which you would of received for
the event.

I have also worked upon all of those unexciting, or repetitive
jobs which are needed in order to help support COs.

Aside from that I’ve keep the filing system up to date,
and helped out with many of these none project jobs which
keep the office functioning.

While many of these jobs are unexciting, they do require that I
have to know a lot in order to perform these tasks.

I keep coming in every week to do these tasks because they are
very necessary if we are going to build a Nonviolent society,
and will do so as long as this vital work needs to be done.

25 years is a long while to keep working this way,
and something which I want you all to celebrate with me.

So I’m asking you to participate in 25 4 25.

I’m asking that you too make a contribution to WRI by donating
25 units of your own local currency  in order to help fund this
work.

This could be in the form of 25 dollars, 25 Euros. 25 Krone, 25
pounds, 25 Yen, or 25 units of what ever your local currency
might be.

Just thinking it as giving something of what is a local for you
to the global work of WRI.