Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Forced dressing of First World War Conscientious Objectors into uniform

AD1 10/407/3, Archives New Zealand, Wellington Office
This image from Archives New Zealand shows the moment when some of the 14 conscientious objectors aboard the troopship Waitemata were taken up on deck to have their hair cut, and forced into uniforms. In July 1917 the objectors, including Mark Briggs and Archibald Baxter, had been smuggled out of Terrace Gaol in Wellington under secrecy, placed into a bare 22- by 10-foot (6.7- by 3-metre) cabin, and shipped to the Western Front. Briggs, a socialist, resisted the cutting of his hair and had to be dragged ‘his heels rattling and bumping on the stairs first going up, then coming down.’ He managed to jerk his head around to resist the hair-cutting, so his cropped hair became covered with red marks from his own blood.

More about Briggs and the 14 can be found at

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