A SHOCKING STORY- CHATHAM PAPER'S IDEA OF "JUST BRUTALITY." (Extract from Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham News," August 5, 1916).
Then came definite news that six of these men were leaving Lower Barracks for the railway station, soon after 6 o'clock. A large and representative Service crowd assembled, just without the Government boundary, below the barracks. The barracks itself presented an appearance of life unusual at this hour; men poured out of the doors and lined the verandahs, hung over the old walls and stood in clusters at the gateways. The silence of the crowd is broken, for a murmur rises, swelling gradually into shape and resolving into the words:" They're coming." As the Conscientious descend the hill their countenances are keenly scanned by the crowd, and their gait is no less closely observed. Both plainly say: We have our belief; our belief is good; we have suffered for that belief; we have won!" If they considered these two latter expressions finite, they are quickly to be disillusioned. No sooner has the crowd realised what their expressions and bearing mean, than an ominous murmur breaks forth. Almost instantaneously the murmur develops into shouts of derision and scorn. Two or three of the Conscientious pale obviously, and they all close in together - but not for long. They reach the Government boundary - a bag of flour is thrown - a rotten egg follows thrown with great force at close quarters it strikes its victim squarely between the eyes, he bends down trying to clear his vision; and his head is whitened by more flour. This is the signal for missiles of all descriptions to be showered on the victims; but even this does not satisfy the more indignant of the crowd. Suddenly a man, a Tommy dashes forward and strikes right and left at one of the Objectors," and in a second, the six are surrounded. Knocked down, kicked and clawed at, with clothes torn to rags, they find they are again suffering for their belief, and that they have not yet won through. At last four of them succeed in breaking away and running for their lives towards the Town Hall. The remaining two are not so fortunate, and suffer still more severely before they succeed in breaking through, and when they do their progress can be traced by the blood they leave behind. "Brutal, perhaps, all this; but unlike German, a just brutality the just resentment of Britishers who are fighting for their country. A plain intimation and warning to a weak-kneed Government as to what the people think of such cattle as Conscientious Objectors"
The Pioneer 12/8/1916