Story: Religion and society

Archibald Baxter: Field Punishment no. 1 (2nd of 2)

Archibald Baxter: Field Punishment no. 1

This painting by Bob Kerr shows what was involved in Field Punishment no. 1, the sentence imposed on Archibald Baxter for refusing to carry out war work. For three or four hours a day he was tied to a pole by his ankles, knees and wrists, with his hands behind. The pole was tilted forward, and the ropes cut into Baxter's flesh and stopped the circulation so that his hands became black with congested blood. He later described the experience: 'The pain grew steadily worse until by the end of half-an-hour it seemed absolutely unendurable ... The mental effect was almost as frightful as the physical. I felt I was going mad.' (Archibald Baxter, We will not cease. London: Gollancz, 1939, p. 156.)

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Oil on board by Bob Kerr

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How to cite this page:

John Stenhouse, 'Religion and society - Sectarian conflicts', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/28417/archibald-baxter-field-punishment-no-1 (accessed 16 October 2021)

Story by John Stenhouse, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 4 Apr 2018