HC Deb 10 August 1916 vol 85 cc1253-4W

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will have steps taken to put a stop to the torturing of conscientious objectors by the military at Buttrell Camp, Barry, where two resisters, named Dan Edwards and John Woolcock, are being handcuffed and dragged about a field, kicked, and picks tied about their shoulders, and are being given repeated sentences of detention by the commanding officer, who refuses their demand to be tried by court-martial, the instructions given to the soldiers who assault these men being that they must be tamed here and not allowed to go to a civil prison?


asked the Secretary of State for War why John Doherty, Calabria Road, Highbury, was called up under the Military Service Act; if he is aware that John Doherty was a member of a starred trade, that of engineer, and was in possession of an exemption certificate stamped by the Underground Railway Company; if he is aware that the recruiting authorities at the Holloway recruiting office, Agricultural Hall, Islington, refused to recognise the exemption certificate and sent Doherty under escort to a regiment; if he is aware that he received no opportunity to communicate with his friends or his employer; if he can say why this treatment was inflicted on Doherty; and if he will order his discharge?


Inquiry has been instituted with reference to the matters dealt with in both these questions, and immediately the necessary information has been obtained it will be communicated to the hon. Gentleman by letter, without the necessity for them to take any further trouble in the matter.

Commander WEDGWOOD

asked how the inquiry into the alleged bullying of Crowsley is going on; and what is the name of the officer holding the inquiry?


I am informed that, as a result of careful investigation, it is found that the account given by Frederick Crowsley of his treatment at the Mill Hill Depot is very much exaggerated. The only element of truth in it is that he was made to stand with his face to the wall. This was not for three hours, but for a period of less than an hour. Up till two days before he went away he had conformed to all orders and instructions given to him, but at the period in question, apparently in consequence of a visit he had received from a relative, he declined to help to clean out the detention room, and he was in consequence made to stand with his face to the wall while this was being done. I am further informed that Frederick Crowsley is not a conscientious objector and that he is the same man as the Frederick Crowsley who was in June, 1912, sentenced to four months' imprisonment with hard labour at Winchester for circulating seditious literature amongst soldiers at Aldershot. The proceedings then taken were instituted by the then Attorney-General, now the Lord Chief Justice. I may add that Crowsley before leaving the Mill Hill Depot made no complaint of having been ill-treated.