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Saturday 22 July 1916 - "Tommies" and Absentees

Category World War I: Labour issues/Military Tribunals
The Evesham Journal
Transcription of article


Some war-stained Evesham “Tommies” write us a letter as follows:

“On receiving the usual copy of the “Evesham Journal” we are ashamed to see a large list of “absentees” from Derby’s Groups. It makes us mad to think that such so-called men should be allowed to carry on with their “I don’t like this, and I couldn’t do that” talk, when there are such fine specimens of men sacrificing their lives for such skunks as the “Conscientious Objectors.” Here we are now at the most critical stage of the whole war; if these men could only just come and have a glimpse over the “top” into “No Man’s Land” and witness some of the sights, ghastly as they are, it might make them alter their opinion about “I couldn’t kill.” They ought only be too pleased to avenge these men’s deaths instead of hanging back and protesting. It makes us mad after suffering the hardships for the last eighteen months and risking life and limb for these men to enjoy, shortly we hope, the peace and liberty which we are all fighting for. WE believe we are at present, and for the past four or five days, suffering more hardships than we did all last winter. The trenches have never been in such a condition as they are at the present moment. We are up to our waist in slush; it isn’t water, but what can anyone expect after the heavy bombardment that has been directed against same. These so called men ought to be dragged through this and tied down in it while tons of coal are being thrown at them, such as we have to stand. We know everyone grumbles; you can’t find a British “Tommy” who doesn’t, but we don’t object, as we know it is our duty and the duty of every Englishman to see this issue through. Ought these “objectors” after peace is proclaimed to be allowed the liberty of “Old England? No; they ought to be cleared out of the country, as they are nothing more than traitors. Beware, these men, for when the boys do come home they will sure to want to say two or three words to you.”