Remembering the Richmond 16

The Northern Echo newspaper in the North East of England reports that a ceremony will be held on Sunday, June 30, to honor 16 men who refused conscription.

The Echo writes:

A MEMORIAL service is being held to remember 16 conscientious objectors  “crucified” during the First World War after being locked up in a castle’s former dungeon.

About 40 members of Teesdale and Cleveland Area Quaker Meeting will gather outside cells in Richmond Castle on Sunday to remember the men who defied the newly-introduced conscription law in 1916.

Here’s the link:


“Crucifixion” in this instance does not mean they were nailed to a cross, like Spartacus.

This is an explanation from The Long, Long Trail website:

Field Punishment Number 1 consisted of the convicted man being shackled in irons and secured to a fixed object, often a gun wheel or similar. He could only be thus fixed for up to 2 hours in 24, and not for more than 3 days in 4, or for more than 21 days in his sentence. This punishment was often known as ‘crucifixion’ and due to its humiliating nature was viewed by many Tommies as unfair.

Long, Long Trail says 5,952 officers and 298,310 other ranks were court-martialled. About 22% were sentenced to Field Punishment Number 1.

Here’s the link:


Blindfold And Alone is a blog that details the courts martial of Great War soldiers:




Hush-hush reading

I can recommend the new book “The League: The True Story of Average Americans on the Hunt for WWI Spies,” by Bill Mills. It’s a bit dry, but I just finished “Waiting for Sunrise,” novelist William Boyd’s thriller about spies during World War I (the hero is manipulated into spying for the British and at one point has to crawl around No Man’s Land, trying to go missing without actually getting lost). So my perspective might be a little off in that regard.

Certainly I had never heard of the American Protective League — volunteers willing to work for free, skulking around after their fellow citizens, sneaking into their homes, trying to grab them off the street. All you had to say was, I heard him talking trash about President Wilson, and you could get the guy who was flirting with your wife hauled off to jail.

It’s appalling. Americans have a fundamental right to be obnoxious loudmouths.

But I also was not aware of the terrible toll on American industry from saboteurs, and I now take a very dim view of the Wobblies.

Read “The League” — or “Waiting for Sunrise” — and tell me what you think.