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By: Pip Barker

Princetown and the Conscientious Objectors of WW1

Pages: 122 Ratings: 5.0
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Over 16,000 men refused to fight in WW1 and became known as Conscientious Objectors.

Their initial incarceration in prison was deemed unsuitable for many and they were then sent to work centres to be engaged on work of national importance.

One such work centre was in the village of Princetown, Devon, home of the notorious Dartmoor Prison.

This book explores its change of purpose to that of work centre and the daily life, type of work and health of those COs held there. It also looks at the impact of their arrival on the local community and the attitudes of the village residents towards them.

 

Pip Barker started working life as a teacher in a comprehensive school and later moved on to work for social services as a care home manager and later as an inspector of care homes under the Quality Care Commission. He has now retired.


Pip has always taken a keen interest in local history and has linked this with collecting postcards and other ephemera. His first visit to Princetown came as a result of discovering that his great-grandfather was a warder at the prison.


Following his move to Dartmoor in 2014, he quickly became involved with the Dartmoor Prison Museum and undertook responsibility for archiving. Such is his interest that he now delivers talks to local groups on all things related to Dartmoor Prison.

Customer Reviews
5.0
7 reviews
7 reviews
  • Amanda

    This little gem of nonfiction gives you a glimpse into the lives of the British conscientious objectors of WWI. Barker has done a great job of making this part of history more than just names and dates. A quick read.

  • George Mitchell

    The story of Dartmoor prison is very interesting in all respects. Pip Barker has done a great job describing the details of the prison and what life was like for the Conscientious Objectors during WWI.

  • Bob M

    I read this book and was surprised how much I learnt from it. It's very informative, he's a very knowledgeable writer on the subject, and it has been put together in a way to make it very interesting. It's also illustrated nicely. Definitely worth a read.

  • three-eared-cat

    Very interesting book, would definitely recommend! The range of information and detail given is superb - from the daily running of the camp to interactions with local people, from the nature of the tasks undertaken to the rights and freedoms allowed. The quotes and illustrations included from the CO's, the Medical Officer and others add colour & depth and give an invaluable insight into the life of a CO and how they were regarded at that time.

  • Steeleye Fan

    I bought this book having a keen interest in British history during both World War I and II. I was aware that Dartmoor Prison was used to "house" Conscientious Objectors during the First World War but soon found out how little I really knew: Pip Barker has an obvious passion and in-depth knowledge for his topic and this comes across right from the outset of reading this informative and fascinating book. He has a nice easy style of writing and there are some great black and white photos scattered throughout the book which help illustrate some of his descriptive pieces. I did see in notes about the author that his Great Grandfather was indeed a Warder at Dartmoor!! I thoroughly recommend this book which I believe has to be the "definitive book" on the subject and one that brings the whole story of that time wonderfully to life.

  • Julia Wilson

    Princetown And The Conscientious Objectors Of WWI by Pip Barker is a fascinating and comprehensive account of the men who often got a bad press at the time and about whom I knew very little.
    Princetown is an inhospitable prison on Dartmoor. “The whole place could only be described as grim.” I can confirm that statement as I remember my Dad driving us past it in the late 1970s. It is grey and very bleak as it towers over the landscape.
    The prison was emptied of prisoners in February 1917 to make way for the C.O’s to arrive in March 1917. It rapidly filled to hold 1200 men who remained there until April 1919. The men lived and worked in the prison or the surrounding area.
    Although there were no locks on the doors, the men still had a tough time as it was cold and damp.
    The public had little compassion for the C.O’s as many of the people had relatives who were fighting in the war. The women could be particularly cruel as they handed out white feathers. “These men were viewed unsympathetically, and in some cases with open hostility.” The C.O’s stood steadfast in their beliefs.
    This is only a small book but jam-packed with information and totally fascinating, opening up history to me.
    The inclusion of photos gave faces to the men, making history come alive. These men were someone’s sons or fathers. They should not be forgotten.
    Princetown And The Conscientious Objectors Of WWI offers a glimpse into the past, educating us as we read as history comes alive.
    I received a free copy from the publishers. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.

  • Christian Bookaholic

    This is only a small book but jam-packed with information and totally fascinating, opening up history to me.

    The inclusion of photos gave faces to the men, making history come alive. These men were someone’s sons or fathers. They should not be forgotten.

    Princetown And The Conscientious Objectors Of WWI offers a glimpse into the past, educating us as we read as history comes alive.

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