Happy birthday, Archibald Baxter (Dec. 13, 1881 – Aug. 10, 1970)! ‪#‎Pacifist‬. ‪#‎Socialist‬. Conscientious objector. New Zealander. During the Second Boer War of 1899-1902, Archibald heard a man from Dunedin speak about the need for pacifist voices, and it made an impression. By the time of World War I, Archibald was a committed Christian socialist and pacifist. In November 1916, conscription was introduced in New Zealand and Archibald was arrested for non-cooperation. On March 21, 1917, he refused to put on prisoner clothing, or take orders of any kind. In July 1917, he and 13 other conscientious objectors were put on the warship “Waitemata” bound for Britain and the front line. Many attempts were made during the trip to get the objectors to abandon their principles. Upon arrival in France, Archibald continued to refuse orders. He was given “Field Punishment No. 1,” being tied to a pole in the elements for hours on end. On another occasion he was bound and tied next to a shed being used by the Germans for artillery practice. On April 1, 1918, Archibald was taken to a hospital in Boulogne, France, where he was diagnosed as having “mental weakness and confusional insanity” for continuing to refuse military service. After returning to New Zealand, he married, had two sons, and wrote a memoir: “We Will Not Cease” (1939), which has become a classic of New Zealand literature. Buried in Green Island Cemetery, Dunedin, New Zealand.
~The Marginal Mennonite Society Heroes Series.