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CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS

Archibald Baxter aaei Others A DEPARTMENTAL STATEMENT OF THE CASES. Baxter Returned to New Zealand. From tho office of the Minister of Defence, dated October, 1918, thero has been issued a statement concerning: tine case of Archibald Baxter and the remainder of the fourteen conscientious objectors who were forcibly embarked for service abroad m July, 1917. The statement is as follows: The case of 47814, Archibald McColl Learmond Baxter, has been brought lately into prominenoe by persons who are Interested m objectors to military service. Circular letters have been widely distributed alleging that this man faad been driven by repeated punishment aa a disobedient soldier into A BTATHJ OF MENTAD DERANGEMENT. In support of these statements copies of two letters were attached, to the ciroular; one, dated m March, 1918, from the man (himself to his parents, containing statements that it was impossible for him to serve m the Army; that he had suffered to the limit of his «nduranoe, but that he would never m his sane senses surrender to the evil power ttiat had fixed its root like a cancer upon the world; that he had suffered field punishment for his disobedience. v The other letter was dated May 14, 1918, and was from Basa Records to his father, informing him that his son "had been admitted into hospital and that 'his mental condition was causing: anxiety." The facts are as follows: Baxter was sent to a hospital m England from France, the medical officers m the field having: doubts as to his canity. His admission to hospital m England was cabled m ordinary course to Base.Records m New Zealand, and his father was accordingly informed by Base Records letter of the 14th May. Further cabled reports were obtained from England which showed tfhat his illness was not, as suggested, due to field punishment, and that his case was not serious. Subsequently, Ihowever, advice was received that he was to be returned to New Zealand as medically unfit, and he was consequently embarked

suffering from "melancholia," which, is a form of mental derangement. He arrived m New Zealand with returning draft No. 175 on September 21. The hospital ship's report says: "Baxter was received on board as a case of melancholia. He is apparently of a surly, morose disposition, and does not say much. He showed no symptoms of insanity while on board, and at all times was perfectly rational. His physical health was good, and he has not suffered from any illness." The medical examiners after arrival found that HE WAS NOT INSANE, and that lie did not require to be sent to a hospital, mental or otherwise. He required out-patient treatment only, and so can proceed to (his home on disembarkation. It appears from his own letters that he has persistently disobeyed orders, and if he haa suffered any disability involving mental derangement, whether the degToe of the derangement bo great or small, the disability is the natural outcome of his consistently getting 1 up Ills will m opposition to the will of the community. Baxter is one of tiha fourteen men embarked last year whom various people persist m designating 1 "conscientious objectors," whereas m fact nine (including 1 four deserters) did not advance religious or conscientious objections at all, and the remaining- five advanced religious objections with which the Military Service Boards were not satisfied. Th» man whose case is- now raised (Baxter) appealed on religious grounds, but did not take the troubls to attend and place bis case befor* the Board. It has bean alleged that tho fourteen objectors have not been allowed to write letters (home, but THIS IS QUITE UNTRUE, and they have exactly -, the same facilities for correspondence as other soldiers. While reports were . being obtained from England as to Baxter's case opportunit3r was taken to obtain reports as to the remainder of the fourteen men, from which it was learned that none were m prison or detention, and that all were doing duty satisfactorily. Tho fourteen were (m July) located as follows: 47597 W. Little, 51619 A. Baxter, 61273 D. R. Gray, 51720 T. P. Harland, 51629 M. Briffge: Serving with Auckland Regiment. 47813 J. Baxter, 53969 A. E. Sanderson: Serving with Entrenching Group. 58669 L. J. Kirwan: Employed m stationary hospital. 47814 Arch. Baxter: In hospital m England. . 51620 F. Aclin, 52356 D. Maguire: Serving with Wellington Regiment. 51G21 qk C. Ballantyne: At Sling. 51626 ft. E. Penwright, 538G3 I-I. Patton: Serving with Medical Corps. This information has been communicated tU the relatives or next-of-kin concerned. Since the above information was received advice has arrived that 47697 W. Little has "died of wounds."

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZTR19181026.2.4

Bibliographic details

CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS, NZ Truth, Issue 697, 26 October 1918

Word Count
777

CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS NZ Truth, Issue 697, 26 October 1918

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