Saturday, 2 August 2014

Sanity in the WWI

In the current atmosphere of nostalgia about the war of 1914-1919 I was lucky to come across a couple of articles in the paper about an East Stirlingshire footballer who was unwillingly involved in that foolish venture, but as far as I am concerned, for the good.

You see the footballer in question thought he was perfectly fine in his life as a professional footballer, and preferred that career path to being shot at and bombarded on the Somme [a feeling with which I fully concur], so when he got the letter through his door requesting his presence at Stirling Castle to join up with local branch of the Argyll and Sutherlands he duly ignored it.

Falkirk Herald - Sat May 26th 1917

"James Logan, the King's Park and East Stirlingshire left-winger [sic], was at Stirling on Monday fined 40s for failing to appear at Stirling Castle when called up under the Military Service Act. He was handed over to the military authorities. Logan stated that he was a conscientious objector."

Too right, James, I am totally with you, but the state, as ever, never looks at things in a sane and rational manner as I do.

Falkirk Herald - Sat June 23rd 1917

"James Logan, printer, who was a left-winger of the King's Park and East Stirlingshire football clubs .... recieved sentences, pronounced before a military parade at Stirling. Logan was sentenced to 168 days imprisonment, with hard labour, in Wormwood Scrubs Prison, London, for refusing an order by his superior officers to put on army boots ..."

Now, that is just overkill, and the waste of petrol to take a chap to London when there was a war on was frankly stupid and self-defeating. Mind you, I still say damn right, I'd rather take my chances trying to avoid the amorous advances of my fellow inmates, in order to avoid the advances of the German Infantry, shell-fire, and machine-gun batteries. In case anybody wonders, the front line during WWI was a seriously dangerous place to be if you were a regular squadie, and I would have done my best to avoid it. I am not claiming the higher moral ground; for me it is about half self-preservation, half cowardice. But better a living coward than a dead hero! ;)