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THE MEN WHO SAID NO | ROAD TO CONSCRIPTION | CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION | PRISONS | SENTENCED TO DEATH | TRIBUNALS | WIDER CONTEXT | INDEX
JOHN THEODORE STANLEY JACKSON 1896 - 1916  

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John Jackson’s experiences as a first world war Conscientious Objector were tragically brief. Claiming absolute exemption from the Croydon Tribunal, his application was denied and he was transferred to military control. Whether he was sent to the Non-Combatant Corps or to the regular army is uncertain, but he arrived at Clipstone Camp in Nottinghamshire in September 1916. Ten days after his arrival, he was dead, having committed suicide by drowning.

A question asked in Parliament on the 8th of November 1916 reveals little beyond the fact that we know few details of his case:

“Mr Morrell asked the Secretary of State for War if he will have inquiries made into the circumstances of the death of Private John Theodore Jackson at Clipstone Camp, Notts, and in particular if he will ascertain whether this man had claimed to be a pacifist and conscientious objector; whether he committed suicide within ten days of his going to Clipstone Camp; whether there is reason to believe that his suicide was due to the ill treatment he had received; and whether there have been any other cases of suicide at the camp?”

The Secretary of State for War effectively denied all knowledge by claiming that John Jackson was not a CO and, when corrected, he ended the line of questioning.

We do not know the circumstances of John’s death or what drove him to take his own life. As a CO forced into the army his experience there would not have been easy. Many faced pressure, harassment and even physical brutality at the hands of soldiers, while some felt a crushing weight of despair having had their earnest convictions rendered irrelevant by the cold dead hand of an unfeeling bureaucracy.

Whatever the circumstances of John’s death, his life and experiences as a Conscientious Objector are not forgotten. Now, nearly 100 years later, his name is one of 69 inscribed on the Conscientious Objector memorial plaque that stands today as a testament not just to the COs that lost their lives in the war, but to the spirit and hope for the future that they all shared.

 

 

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CO DATA

Born: 1896
Died: 1916
Address: Croydon, Surrey
Tribunal: Croydon
Prison:
HO Scheme:[1]
CO Work:
Occupation:



 


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