15th Apr 1916. The Tribunals at Work



Compared with the previous sitting a fortnight earlier, there were fewer cases to be dealt with by the District Appeal Tribunal at the Benn Buildings on Friday evening last week ; but the Court lasted for two and a half hours, and some interesting points were raised. Mr M K Pridmore (Mayor of Coventry) presided, and there were also present : Messrs P G Loveitt, K Rotherham, and J Johnson, jun. Mr F Channing represented the Board of Agriculture, and Lieut Beard the Military Authorities.


The case of James Henry Ivey, of the Mission Hall, Hillmorton, had been put back from the previous Court for applicant to be medically examined.—Having raised other points without avail, Mr Eaden, who represented applicant, passed on the claim on conscientious grounds, and applicant called his sister to prove that he had expressed views against war prior to Jan 1st, 1915.-The Chairman said they would want some other evidence, and Mr Watson was called. He said Applicant had expressed an opinion to him since he had an idea that he would be called up for military service (laughter).—Applicant said in the course of half an hour he could fetch two witnesses, and the case was put back to enable him to do this.

Later in the evening William George Loveday, Probation Officer, Rugby, said he had known applicant from his birth, and he had expressed to him his conscientious objection to warfare ten years ago and since.—Pressed by Lieut Beard for the exact words, Mr Loveday said applicant had told him that Jesus Christ came on purpose to save life, not to destroy it, and as His follower and disciple he had the same opinions as his Master.

Lieut Beard asked to have the other witness called, but the Chairman said they were satisfied. They thought Mr Loveday was a perfectly straight witness, and in the circumstances Mr Eaden objected to the calling of further evidence.

The Chairman : We offer you national service.-Applicant : I think I am doing better where I am.

The Chairman said people were nice and comfortable in their own places, and had conscientious objections, but were not prepared to make sacrifices. They would adjourn the case for a fortnight for applicant to get into some really national service. A committee had been appointed by the Government, and Mr Eaden would be given the Secretary’s address, and asked to communicate with him, the Chairman stating that if the Secretary to the National Committee said applicant’s present employment was satisfactory, that would satisfy the Tribunal.


Arthur Russell, Mill Street Farm, Dunchurch appealed for an exemption for George Clifford Dumblebee, described as a shepherd and stockman.-The Local Tribunal found the case unsatisfactory, being of opinion it was a case of a farm pupil staying on as farm labourer to avoid military service.

Mr Harold Eaden represented appellant, who said he was first educated at the National School at Eastbourne, and then at Eaton House School, Hull. Previous to coming to Mr A Russell in July, 1915, as stockman and shepherd at £1 a week, he was employed by Mr T Russell, of Anstey. Four years ago a premium of £50 a year was paid to Mr Russell’s father in respect of applicant.-Q : It has been suggested that you spend your time shooting.-No ; I do not.-The Chairman : Have you ever used a gun ?-A : Yes.-Q : What for ?-A : I have to go into the ploughed fields and “ tent ” the crows with it.-He added that it was Mr Russell’s gun, and the shooting was preserved by Mr Blyth of Cawston House.-Mr Eaden : The whole of your shooting consists of scaring the crows ?-A : That is so.-The Chairman : Have you ever shot at rabbits ? -A : I have shot a rabbit in my life.-By Lieut Board : He had a motor-bicycle given him by his mother on his birthday.-Q : Do you ride on it for pleasure ?-A : Not much.-Applicant said when he rode the bicycle for business Mr Russell paid for the petrol.-The Chairman : Who pays the tax on the motorcycle ?-A : I do.-By Lieut Beard : He had a driving license and paid for it himself, but he had never had a side-car.-Lieut Beard : Have you not been out on “ joy rides ” with girls on your motorcycle ? –A : No-Mr. Eadon : That is wide of the mark, I suggest – Lieut Beard : It is very near the mark. (To appellant): Do you think it consistent with your occupation that you should be going out riding a motor-cycle ? -A : I had it given me.-Q : Do you know of any other cowman and stockman who rides a motor-bicycle ?-A : I don’t know very many.-Mr Russell said he knew a postman who rode a motor-bicycle.

Further questioned, applicant said he left school at 16, and was now 21. He went to Mr Russell, sen, as a pupil to learn farming.-Lieut Beard : With what object ?-A : To get to know how to do the job properly.-Lieut Beard : Yes, and then to get a farm of your own ?-Applicant : If I could scratch together enough money.

The Chairman said they were not satisfied the man was indispensable on the farm and that it was in the national interest he should continue there. The appeal would be dismissed.

Lieut Beard said it had been reported that Mr Russell had used some threats to a member of the Local Tribunal, and perhaps the Chairman would say something to him about it.-Mr Russell said he had used no threats whatever.-Mr Eaden said this was not a matter for the Tribunal. There was a proper place to deal with any threats said to have been used.

The Chairman said they did not think Mr Russell was justified in bringing the case before them. Mr Russell : Well, gentlemen, I do think this-

The Chairman : It does not matter what you think. The case is finished.


Although a munition volunteer, Thos Wm Pillerton, 7 Bridget Street, New Bilton, described as a coremaker and engineering inspector, claimed to have a conscientious objection to military service. He said he recognized that the State had a right to service from every individual, and for that reason he was working on munitions.-This case had been adjourned for applicant to apply for his discharge.-Applicant said when he applied his discharge was at first refused, but he was now under a week’s notice.-Fredk Wm Shaw, assistant works manager at Messrs Willans & Robinson’s, said from the report in the local paper it appeared that appellant misled the Tribunal. He had been shown as a skilled inspector of munition work. His “ skill ” amounted to a total service of seven months, and the period covered at the works as an inspector had been from January 18th to that date. Prior to that he was engaged by them in 1911 as a labourer. He was ultimately put to core making, and stayed with them 3½ years. During that time he left for one-short period, but came back when the war broke out, leaving again ostensibly to join the army.

The Chairman (to applicant) : Do you agree you left ostensibly to enlist ?—A : I did not go to enlist—Q : Did you state you were going to enlist ?-A : Certainly not.—Mr Shaw said at the time the man was in the foundry, and the foundry foreman or one of his assistants put his name on the foundry roll of honour. He added that this was not the official roll of the firm.-Appellant : That was simply done as a wager that I could not pass the doctor. The Chairman : Have you still got your conscientious objection ?-A : Yes, certainly.

The Chairman : A man who puts his conscience to a wager would sell his conscience ; and he is doing munition work too.

Applicant said the firm was simply biassed against him because he took part in a strike three years ago. They paid him £2 5s a week as an inspector, and he was a member of the Amalgamated Society of coremakers, who would not have him unless he was a skilled man.

The Chairman said they were quite satisfied there was no conscientious objection, and they would put applicant for combatant service.

The Military representatives appealed against a conditional exemption granted to Arthur William Mackaness, farmer, Cawston, on the ground that his father could supervise the farm.—Lieut Beard asked for an adjournment because he had not been properly instructed, but the Chairman said that was not the fault of the Tribunal, besides which it was a military appeal.—Lieut Beard said he was informed applicant was put in his present occupation with the intention of avoiding military service.—Applicant said he took the farm 12 months last January, prior to which he managed another farm.—Mr Channing contended that the man was indispensable, and, the Tribunal concurring, the appeal was dismissed.

F H Lawley, representing R B Wright, of Bilton Hall Farm, appealed for an exemption for his son, Ernest Chas Lawley, a wagoner on a farm of 140 acres, more than half of which was ploughed land.—Mr F M Burton said at the Local Tribunal Mr Wright said he did not think they would grant an exemption—it was the man’s mother who did not want him to go.—The Chairman told Lawley he was not the man aggrieved. If Mr Wright did not come there and let them know the facts himself, all they could do was to dismiss the appeal.


Thomas Barnett, clerk, 12 Arnold Street, Rugby who said he was a member of the community of the Son of God, and appealed on conscientious grounds, called Clifford Chas Beardsworth, 15 Arnold Street, Rugby, who had known him five years, and who said appellant had on several occasions stated to him that he could not take human life or render unconditional allegiance to any earthly monarch.—Although working at the B.T.H applicant said he was not doing munition work. His occupation was to check invoices, some of which dealt with shells.—The Chairman : Do you really mean to say your conscience will allow you to draw a salary in a controlled firm under the Government and won’t allow you to use those munitions under the control of the Government ? Why don’t you cut the terrible thing altogether and get into some other employment ?—Applicant : As far as making munitions is concerned and firing them, I cannot have anything to do with it.—The Chairman : But you do ! You are just as much assisting in killing them as if you were killing them.— A : I don’t see that —Lieut Beard asked that applicant should be given combatant service.—Applicant : If it is made a condition of exemption, I am willing to give in my notice to-morrow.—The Chairman : We are not satisfied that you have a genuine conscience, and we shall put you for combatant service. If you are assisting in making munitions, you are assisting in using them.


Another salvationist, Alfred John Routley, a house painter, lodging at 2 Benn Cottages, North Street, who is a conscientious objector, had been recommended for non-combatant service, appealed because he objected to take part in warfare. All nations were his brothers, whether Germans or any other nationality, and he could not raise a hand to destroy them.—Learning that appellant belonged to the Salvation Army, the Chairman said : You got as near the military business as you could.—Chas Fredk Stowe, with whom appellant lived, said he had expressed views on the same lines since his conversion six years ago.—The Chairman asked applicant if he was willing to do any national service, as painters could be done without at the present time ? Was he willing to go as a farm labourer ?—Applicant : Then I should be releasing somebody to go to the war, I suppose.—The Chairman : You can go for non-combatant service. You are fed at the expense of the men fighting in the North Sea, and yet you won’t’ go and earn your bread on the land. One of these days you will get a conscience that will help you to earn your living.—Appeal dismissed.


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