From The Tribunal May 2nd 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to:_ http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

The following account has been sent to us by one of our members:

“On March 22nd. F. Edwards, one of the men in the N.C.F. Branch appealed before the Willesden Tribunal on conscience grounds for exemption from Military Service. There was very clear proof that his case was genuine, for the work he is doing in the post office is so important that he was told if he would agree to be in “Army Reserve W” he would not be called upon for military service. Edwards said that as a conscientious objector it was impossible for him to agree to this, and consequently received a calling-up notice. When he had stated his case before the Tribunal one member moved that his appeal be dismissed, and this was seconded. Then an unlooked-for incident occurred. One of the members of the Tribunal who has been particularly hard on C.O.‘s rose, and said very forcibly and deliberately that he wished to move an amendment, partly in justice to the applicant, who, he thought, has proved to them all that his objection was genuine, and that therefore he was as much entitled to exemption under the act as a Clerk in Holy orders, but also because he wished to protest against the continued imprisonment of C.O.‘s. He admitted his mistake in sending many men to prison, he regretted it, but he intended publicly to raise his voice against the injustice now whenever he had the opportunity. The men who have suffered imprisonment have won his respect and support, though he does not hold their views. His amendment was seconded by another member of the tribunal, who also spoke strongly against the repeated sentences of imprisonment meted out to the [email protected] for the same offence. One curious thing was that the military representative nodded his head during these speeches as if in approval. The amendment was not carried, and the case was dismissed, Edwards giving notice of appeal. Edwards went home rejoicing that the men in prison had accomplished this change of thinking in those two members of the Tribunal – his own case being quite a secondary thing to him.”


From The Tribunal April 25th 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go toL http://nfpb.org.uk.tribunal

The Tribunal keeps Scotland Road busy. Once more we have had to change our printer. This time the authorities adopted the method of smashing up the whole of our printer’s plant and converting it into scrap iron without any warning, because they were annoyed by an issue of “The Tribunal.” Evidently what “The Tribunal” says is of no small importance.


The following is the statement of what happened at his works, sent us by Mr. Street, the printer of “The Tribunal”:

“On Monday afternoon, April 22nd, 1918, at about 3 o’clock, six police officers entered my printing works at 4 Blegborough Road, Streatham, S.W.

The officer who seemed to be in charge asked if my named was Samuel Howells Street, and did I print “The Tribunal for April 11th? I answered, ‘I did.’ He then told me he was instructed to break up the whole of my plant and machinery. They produced no warrant. I told him that part of it was not mine, but belonged to the landlady, Mrs. Love, and it was on the premises when I took them. He told me that it did not matter, he must carry out his instructions and at once told his men to continue.

They started taking the machines to pieces by unscrewing them, but when they found any difficulty, they simply broke the piece off. In this way they have completely ruined a Crown folio cropper, a Crown folio handpress, a Foolscap folio Mofitts, Empress platen, and a Foolscap folio cropper.

They then started throwing the parts into separate boxes, and put them in the cart. They then took the forms and standing matter, split what was tied up, and the books, invoices and stationery, the ‘copy’ of jobs that were in that place.

Again I remonstrated with them about Mrs. Love’s part of the plant, but they would not hear me.

Belonging to Mrs love there was: half h.p. gas engine, Crown folio cropper, Foolscap folio cropper and about six hundredweight of type in cases.

Of my plant there was: Foolscap folio platen machine, Crown folio handpress, 20 inch cutting machine, all the fittings, and two and half tons of type, about 4 cwt. of paper (value about £15.)

The same amount of plant could not be bought today for than £480 or £500.”


The same day (Monday, April 22nd) three detectives from Scotland Yard visited the publishing office of “The Tribunal,” 5 York Buildings, Adelphi, W>C>, and asked to see the publisher, Miss Joan Beauchamp. They asked if she was still publisher of “The Tribunal.” She said she was. They then asked if she was responsible for the back page of the issue of April 11th, and she replied in the affirmative. They next asked who was the editor of the paper, and this she declined to tell them, and efter warning her of the consequences of refusing information, began to search the office. In the course of their investigation, they happened upon an old newspaper cutting referring to Hubert W. Peet and a brilliant inspiration struck them – surely he was the editor? They seemed a little disappointed on learning that our comrade had been in prison nearly two years. After a prolonged search they left the office carrying with them a number of books and papers.


As our readers know, this is not the first time that Scotland Yard has found “The Tribunal” of absorbing interest. On February 9th, 1918, the Hon. Bertrand Russell, R.R.S., was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment for a passage in an article which appeared in our issue of Jan. 3rd, and Miss J. Beauchamp was fined £60 and costs for publishing the same. The appeal against these sentences has not yet been heard. On the same date Miss Beauchamp was also summoned for publishing a “Guardroom Message,” which appeared in the same issue, but after hearing that witnesses to the truth of the message were to be brought forward, the public prosecutor asked that the case should be adjourned sine die.

The issue for the week following the prosecution contained an article on the “Moral Aspects of Conscription,” by Miss Joan Beauchamp. The police seized all copies they could find of this issue, and not content with that, dismantled the National Labour Press, who were at that time printing “The Tribunal.”


We know full well that there is no limit to the power of the D.O.R.A.. that there is no act of suppression or oppression which cannot be committed in her name. The press in this country is no longer free; it is bound hand and foot, and is the servile tool of those who would fasten militarism upon us. But in spite of that we still believe that the liberty of the press is as much worth struggling for, and being persecuted for, as it was in the days gone by.

We are not daunted. We shall go on with the message which we believe it is our duty to deliver. We are trying to show the world – Scotland Yard included – the vision of that new way of life in which the methods of violence have no part. We have no fear of the ultimate results of the conflict between the spirit of violence and the ideal for which we stand.


From The Tribunal April 18th 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

Corder Catchpool, a Quaker C.O., has been awarded the 1914 (Mons) Star for ambulance work at the front. Catchpool joined the Friends Ambulance Unit in September 1914, and served in France and Flanders – (the latter part of the time as Adjutent), till May 1916, when he came home because he felt he could serve the cause of peace better there than at the front. He went before the Tribunals, and was given exemption from combatant service. Eventually he was arrested as an absentee on 12th January, 1917. Since that time he has divided his time between serving one sentence of 112 days in Wormwood Scrubs, six months in Exeter Prison, and a third of six months in Ipswich prison. While he was serving this last sentence the ribbon of the (Mons) Star was sent into prison for him, and the Governor of the prison sent for him and pinned it on. He is now waiting for an escort to take him to prison for a fourth time. In his statement before the District Court Martial on Thursday 26th March, he said:-

“I am a lifelong member of the Society of Friends, and am fully persuaded of the incompatibility of Christianity and War.

“Towards the close of my third imprisonment I thought out a careful defence in anticipation of the present D.C. M. On the day of discharge, when returning under escort to the Battalion, I heard of the awful struggle which has just broken out with fresh intensity in France. Words seem a mockery at such a time, and I have therefor determined not to detain the Court with a detailed explanation of my own case. There is hardly a moment when my thoughts are not with the men in France, eager to help the wounded by immediate human touch with their suffering. This I was privileged to do during the nineteen months spent at the front with the F.A.U., from October, 1914 to May, 1916, while it was still possible to give voluntary service. At times the impulse to return to the work becomes almost irresistable. May God steady me, and keep me faithful to a call I have heard above the roar of guns. In the feverish activity of my hands, i might help to save fraction of the present human wreakage; that would be for me no sacrifice. It costs far more to spend mind and spirit, if need be in the silence of a prison cell, in passionate witness for the great Truths of Peace. That is the call I hear. I believe that only spiritual influence will avail to free the world at last from war. to save our soldiers’ little ones, and confused struggling humanity itself, from all that men an women are suffering now. I honour those who, in loyalty to conscience have gone out to fight. In a crisis like the present, it would be unbecoming to elaborate the convictions that have led me to a cause so different. To-day a man must act.

I believe with the strength of my whole being that, standing here, I am enlisted in Active Service as a soldier of Jesus Christ, who bids man be true to the sense of duty that is laid upon his soul.”


From The Tribunal April 11th 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 196 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal


1. Every worker kept in his place.

2. Trade unionism crushed, and any attempt at combination on the part of the workers sternly discouraged.

3. The worker educated to make an efficient cog in the military machine, and taught by a servile press only what his masters consider good for him.

4. Everything in civil life decided by military necessity.

5. The yoke of conscription fastened upon the neck of labour so that by military discipline revolt shall be made impossible.

6. Large standing armies maintained; armaments piled up, and enormous Government contracts for shipbuilding, gunpowder, rifles, food, clothing, etc., assured to the capitalists.

7. Economic war between the nations continued and suspicion fostered by secret diplomacy.

8. Fresh wars sprung upon the peoples for the financiers’ benefit when enough armaments have been prepared.

In short, the world kept in bondage to fear.


1. Individual liberty for all.

2. The workers of the world united in mutual trust and helpfulness.

3. Education such that each can develop his powers to the full.

4. Freedom of choice for all, so that evey one can contribute his utmost to the common good.

5. Conscription abolished in all countries.

6. Universal disarmament, the aim of production to be for use and beauty – not for destruction and death.

7. Economic co-operation between all nations with full exchange of ideas – scientific, aesthetic, and spiritual.

8. Peace on earth, goodwill to men.

9. In short, the world cradled in freedom and learning through joy.



This is a further update in series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
_For other extracts go to:_http://nfpb.org/tribunal


Prison experiences

On the 23rd November, 1917, we entered the prison, and were taken in charge by one of the warders (a sergeant), whose duty it was to take our personal property from us and to array us in prison garments. During these preliminaries we are subjected to much abuse and bullying from the sergeant in question, and from several of his fellow N.C.O.‘s. In the most offensive and blasphemous language we were told that this particular prison was the worst place in France, that they were able to break men’s hearts there, and further, that we should be glad to work seven days a week after a few days with them. We were then interviewed by the Governor, who told us that we should be compelled to work Saturdays, as they were authorised to employ physical means in order to secure their object. On leaving the Governor we were set to work on the parade ground with some other prisoners who were working there. This was at three o’clock on Friday afternoon, one hour before our observance of the Sabbath Day commenced. We had plainly stated that we could not consistently continue work beyond four o’clock. By that time five or six sergenats, each armed with stick and revolver, had collected near the working party, As soon as we ceased work, with one accord these men rushed at us and knocked us down in turn with their fists. As each man rose from the ground this treatment was repeated. We still refused to work, and the attack was renewed with sticks. In several instances we were kicked brutally whilst on the ground. Two of sergeants became so infuriated that they now drew their revolvers, but were prevented from leveling them by the intervention of several of their fellow N.C.O.‘s. In no case was the slightest resistance offered by us. We were then rushed to the punishment cells, the sticks being freely used on the way, and several sergeants ran in among us deliberately tripping us, thus bringing heavily to the ground on the square. On reaching the cells we were placed in irons – called “figures of eight” on account of their shape – which are made in various sizes to grip the wrists securely one above the other behind the back. In some cases the irons were too small, and caused the most excruciating pain on being screwed up. In this helpless condition wer were isolated, each main in a small cell about 7 feet by 41/2 feet, having a concrete floor and iron walls. The extreme cold was very trying in this condition…

Personal Statement by ________

|n the cell the sergeants agreed that I was the ringleader because I was the tallest. The smallest pair of “figure eights” was brought and screwed down upon my wrists. So small was the pair that to get them on my flesh was ripped and cut in several places. The circulation was practically cut off, leaving my hands dead. I was then pushed into a cell, and pinned against the wall by one sergeant, whilst the others in a most passionate rage struck me continually about the head and in the stomach. Then one burly N.C.O. lifted me up bodily, and with his knee threw me backwards to the other side. The contact with the iron wall caused the irons to cut more, and sent acute pain to all my nerves. This kind of treatment continued until I dropped to the floor. I was picked up, but collapsed again, whereupon I was kicked several times in the middle of the back. Finally I became unconscious. I had made no opposition by force, or even uttered a word which could have given the least offence…


Correspondence: Release or Imprisonment/

From The Trinunal March 21st 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

To the Editor of The Tribunal

Dear Comrade, – I am taking advantage of the opportunity afforded to me by the brief interval between the sentence of imprisonment which I have just completed and the one which I will begin in a few days, to impress upon the readers of the “Tribunal” the grave and urgent necessity of continuing with greater vigour than ever before the agitation and demand for the release of the absolutists.

I have just finished reading the two letters which appeared under the above heading in the issue of the “Tribunal” for February 28th, the one by Douglas Bishop, and the other by Oswald Clark. With the letter of Douglas Bishop I am wholeheartedly in agreement, and on behalf of many hundreds of absolutists C.O.‘s , as well as their relatives, I give him my sincere and hearty thanks. But with Comrade Clark’s demand that we should place “Peace” before “Release” in our programme, I cannot at all agree. The No-Conscription Fellowship is not merely a Peace Association. It is true that we earnestly desire, and are willing to work for peace, but the Fellowship did not come into existence merely as a Peace Society; it had a special object in view. The first and foremost object of the No-Conscription Fellowship is, and ought to be, as its name suggests – no conscription. Our purpose and an N.C.F. must be the defeat of conscription, and one of the surest ways to defeat conscription is to obtain the early and, if possible, the immediate release of the absolutists.

Apart from the defeat of conscription, both the N.C.F. and the Friends’ Service Committee believe in the sacredness of life. Knowing this, as I do, I am not only unhappy, as Douglas Bishop says, but I am surprised and amazed to read of the recent decision of the Friends’ Service who maintain that “it is better for absolutists to remain in prison until public opinion is in favour of their release rather than that those outside who hold similar views should demand the release of these men.” For what does that decision mean? It means this. The absolutists who are now in prison will have to remain in prison for many years to come, and at the end of that time I am afraid that many of our comrades will have passed to life beyond, and may others will be complete physical and mental wrecks. I have spent the last eighteen months in and out of prison in studying closely the absolutist question, and I do not make that statement without full and careful consideration.

What the Friends’ Service Committee ought to do, in my opinion, is not to wait until the public is in favour of their release,” but instead to make the public acquainted with the facts. For there is a large section of the public who do not know of the stand of the absolutist, so careful is the Government and Press to give publicity only to the men who accept the scheme.

There are some among our comrades whose temperament is such that prison life has little effect on them, and others who believe in suffering for suffering’s sake, but these comrades should not say “do not agitate for us,” they are only entitled to say “do not agitate for me.” If something is not done withing the next twelve monts the services of many of our friends will be last to causes of progress, but perhaps that is the object of the Government. – Yours fraternally,
Arthur L.G. Williams,
No.7 Hut, N.C.C., E2 Lines,
Park Hall Camp, Oswestry,
March 9th, 1918


From The Tribunal, March 14th 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

A shocking case of the ill-treatment of a Conscientious Objector at the hands of the military has just come to light, and illustrates in a forcible manner the brutality which exists in Military Detention Barracks.

Maurice Andrews, of Aberaman, a Russian Jew, aged 22, who left Russia at the age of seven, was arrested last December, court-martialled at Wrexham on January 22nd, and sent to Hereford Detention Barracks to serve a sentence of 56 days detention. There he was ordered to put on uniform and refused. What happened to him is described in a letter written on March 3rd by a friend who had just visited him in the gruard-room at Wrexham, whither he has been returned for another court-martial:-

“Poor fellow! He has been treated worse than a dog bu the military authorities. He has only been in their hands two months, and the biggest part of the time he has served in Hereford Military Prison. He is practically a physical wreck. He was shivering when I spoke to him this morning, as the guard-room was covered with ice. I will try to relate to you what he told me he had been through. He was sent from Wrexham to Hereford. There he refused to recognise orders. They stripped him of his civies, and left him in a cold cell in a singlet and pants for eight days. They refused to return his civvies, forced him into khaki and put him in a padded cell. They were strapping his hands behind his back for four hours every day. They relinquished the strap torture for the handcuffs, but afterwards found he could unloose his trousers with his handcuffs on, and they again used the strap. His wrists, poor fellow, I think he will bear bear the marks for life. He was put on No. 1 diet for two or three days a week. He hunger struck for two and a half days as a protest against this agony. Then they brought him before the Chief Commandant, but he was forced to wear khaki to return to Wrexham. He is in danger of physical collapse.”

And all this in spite of the fact that is clearly laid down in the Army Act that brutality is illegal! But this state of affairs in military detention barracks is only part and parcel of the whole brutal military machine. A soldier, who was recently giving some account of life in detention barracks, added: “But unless they make detention so terrible that a man would do anything sooner than endure it again, they would never keep discipline in the Army.” Could there be a stronger indictment of the whole system?

Andrews has now been court-martialled again, and is awaiting the promulgation of his sentence. He is clearly in no condition to face further imprisonment, even in a civil prison, to which, as a Conscientious Objector, he should have been sent in the first instance. The least that the authorities can do, in face of what he has suffered, is to discharge him from the Army.


From The Tribunal March 7th 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918.
For further extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal


Speaking in the House of Commons on June 26th, 1917, Captain Gwynne, M.P. said:

“These are people who are not a blight upon the community; they may prove to be the very salt of the community. I am speaking now as one who has seen war. I think that everybody who has seen war has one governing desire, and that is to see war abolished from the world. I am not at all sure that these people, whom we propose to reject as outcasts of the State, may not be the best people to help in the fight to make an end of war. There is one thing that nobody can deny them, and that is courage, the most difficult form of courage in this world, the courage of the individual against the crowd. That is a courage which every State will do well to protect and guard. That is the courage which, above all others, makes for freedom. It is for that that I desire to see these men electors, and that I vote for giving them votes – just exactly as I would give votes to the soldiers – because they are the people who have shown not merely physical courage, but because they have made civic responsibility their plea. They have shown a spirit of initiative. These people, in refusing to act, have taken action which must have been extremely difficult to take, and when we are told that the good of the nation is somehow impaired by allowing these men a voice in our national councils, I ask myself. ‘What is the good of the nation’? Are you going to advance the real interests of this country, or of any country, by stamping out such people from among your full citizens? Progress, as far as I can understand, comes not with the crowd, but with individuals. Freedom in the last resort is won by individuals working against the crowd, and these are the people who make for freedom. It is in the interests of freedom during a war that is fought, at all events professedly, for freedom that I resist this attempt to limit what is the exercise of their legal freedom, and what is, I think with the Noble Lord, the exercise of higher morals.”


From The Tribunal 28th February 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For further extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

We need not remind our readers that our issue of February 14th was suppressed by order of the Home Secretary on account of the article on “The Moral Aspect of Conscription.”

In the House of Commons on February 25th. Mr. Lees Smith complained that regulated brothels in the neighbourhood of the British military quarters in France had not been placed out of bounds by the War Office, as similar places had been by the United States military authorities, in localities in which American troops were quatered.

In his reply Mr. Macpherson, the Under Secretary for War, laid great stress on what he described as the importance of interfering as little as possible with the jurisdiction of the civil authorities in an Allied country. He assured the House that if our soldiers were found in any way “creating a disorder in any of these institutions,” the Army authorities would have no hesitation in taking action; but they could not do it in a rough and ready way. Our officers in a particular town would go very quietly to the mayor of the town and would make the necessary complaints, and he was sure that joint action would then be taken – and taken promptly – “without hurting the sympathies of the French people or casting any slur of upon an institution which they think proper to maintain in their midst.

Mr. Lees Smith having asked whether it was seriously suggested that it would endanger the relations between this country and France merely because it was stated that these places were out of bounds for British soldiers, received the following reply:-

“I did not expressly say that I implied that, and I meant to imply a great deal more that I cannot discuss in this House. I might have given a semi-sufficient reason, not quite a sufficient reason, for our inaction if my hon, Friend wished to have an answer, but I am hoping that the Committee realises that there are far greater difficulties behind this.”

Mr. Chancellor: Do I understand that the impression is that offence would be given to the military or civil authorities in France if you protect our soldiers from disease and moral ruin by placing these places out of bounds?

Mr. Macpherson: No, the hon. Member for Northampton said that there were thousands of unregistered women outside in the streets, and he went on to imply that relations took place between soldiers and these women. If that is so, human nature being at is, I am not at all sure that it is such a bad thing to have a certain house where women are registered and kept clean.

The Manchester Guardian remarks:- “It is plain that what Mr. Macpherson called an ‘unsavoury and malodorous subject’ will have to be raised again and yet again until a satisfactory statement is forthcoming. Those are not the fitting terms in which to describe the question. What is malodorous would be encouragement or connivance in such a manner by anyone responsible for the good name of the British Army. Hundreds of thousands of very young men are going to France month by month from decent homes, many of them withing a year of leaving school.; they are now going under a law of compulsion, and the least which their parents have a right to ask is that all reasonable precautions should be taken to keep the grosser forms of temptation out of their way.”


From The Tribunal, February 21st 1918

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the Uk between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb/org.uk/tribunal

Emmanuel Ribeiro, who was arrested in January, 1917, and has been hunger-striking in the Warrington War Hospital for over twelve months, is now in a very serious state of health. On 13th February a friend obtained permission to see him, and has sent the following report:

“Ribeiro was forcibly fed during our visit, but we were not allowed to see the process, although we saw the tube etc., brought in. It was over in a few minutes, and when we returned he was ill and giddy from the effects of the treatment. He was evidently suffering from very strong movements of the heart. He pressed his hand hard on his left breast, seemed pale and exhausted, and for a time could speak only with difficulty……I consider that the condition of Ribeiro is alarming, his health being much worse than when i last saw him. I fear he will die if not quickly liberated.”

But in spite of these facts we are told that the Medical Board recently announced that Ribeiro was going on well! The authorities know that he will never be in a fit state to be Court Martialled, yet they still continue their persecution of him rather than discharge him. Ribeiro has amply proved his right to exemption under the Act; moreover he is one of those Conscientious Objectors “in a poor state of health” whom the Government have promised to release.

In a leader in the Manchester Guardian of February 18th the case is commented on as follows: “The whole process is stupid, useless, wasteful and disgusting. If anything more need be said it may perhaps not be irrelevant to remind the Government that by this sort of senseless persecution they are doing more perhaps than in any other to ruin their credit with great numbers of thinking men and shake their confidence in a cause for the support of which such measures are deemed to be necessary.”


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