NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Book recalls WWI Aberdeen conscientious objectors camp

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Media captionDyce Camp housed scores of men who refused to fight

The story of a camp for conscientious objectors in Aberdeen almost 100 years ago during WWI has been recalled in a new book.

Dyce Camp housed scores of men who refused to fight for their country in the trenches.

They instead had to do hard labour in a granite quarry.

Joyce Walker's book is called 'Dyce Work Camp, Conscientious Objectors and Public Opinion in North-East Scotland, 1916: A Documentary History'.

The quarry hard labour camp was set up by the Home Office for the men who refused to fight on grounds of conscience or religion, while the prisons were becoming crowded.

The historian believes relatively few people know about the site on a hillside on the outskirts of the city.

Newspaper articles are among the few remaining records that the camp existed.

The book - currently available as an e-book - examines local reaction to the arrival of the men.

Many viewed the men as cowards, but some relatives see them as equally brave as the soldiers, as they stood up for their beliefs in the face of harsh treatment.

The author told BBC Scotland: "Most of the public were anti-objectors.

"They were not in prison, they were free to go to the pub and things like that."

She said the camp led to "fascinating" debate in parliament, and eventual outcry when one of the men developed pneumonia and died.

Bill Hetherington, archivist with the anti-war organisation Peace Pledge Union, said of the camp: "It was back-breaking work."

The book includes photographs from the time.

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