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Conscientious Objectors

Book Review: 'Objections Overruled'

Objectors 1914-18

'Objections Overruled', by David Boulton (McGibbon & Kee, 45s.)

Obituary: Harry Gratton

We learn with deep regret of the death in Paignton of Comrade Harry Gratton at the age of 82. Although for the last twenty years or so he had been "out of the swim" he was an active member for many years.

His father was among the first to join the Party. When, in his teens, Harry asked him about his views, he was told to "go and find out about them". This he did and joined the Party not very much later.

Harry Gratton was not his real name. He was drafted in the Merchant Navy in the 1914-18 war. Granted compassionate leave for family  reasons, he changed his name and went to Dublin. There he worked first as a photographer's assistant and later on his own, lodging with a Party sympathizer. He was detained for questioning several times as a suspected deserter (Southern Ireland was part of the United Kingdom then). Once a guard recognized him as a navy man by the way he folded his coat to use as a pillow, but did not give him away.

Obituary: Charley Clarke

It was with deep regret that Nottingham members heard of the death of our comrade Charley Clarke, of Burton-on-Trent, in his 87th year. Charley was the eldest of the three Clarke brothers, well known no doubt to many of the older party members, their membership of The Party having extended over many years, and anyone who came in contact with them must have been impressed by their utter and sincere dedication to the cause of Socialism.

As Socialists, their way of life did not run along orthodox lines and they were regarded as rather queer fish by the people in Burton. All three for instance were bachelors, vegetarians, and among other interests were students of natural history, astronomy, and other aspects of science. Joe the younger brother aged 70 years, has had his daily swim in the river Trent, winter and summer, for many years. Living as close to "nature" as conditions would permit, it is not surprising that the locals did believe that they were not quite "with it".

Book Review: 'Conscience and Politics'

War Resisters

'Conscience and Politics', by John Rae. Oxford University Press. £3.50.

Two earlier books on the objectors of the first world war were written from a sympathetic standpoint. They were John Graham’s Conscription and Conscience, 1922, and David Boulton’s Objection Overruled which was reviewed in these columns in August 1967. The present work, by Dr. John Rae, Headmaster of Westminster School, though it covers some of the same ground, has a different approach and contains much information not in the other works. Dr. Rae has had access to official documents and other materials not open to the earlier writers.

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