From the Tribunal, July 6 1916


Mr. Peto asked the Home Secretary how many of the leaders of the Anti-Conscription movement who have been sentenced by Court-Martial to terms of imprisonment have since been released; whether these men of military age have restarted their efforts to break down the Military Service Act immediately on release; whether he is aware that Clifford Allen, the chairman of the “No-Conscription Fellowship” urged men of military age, at a meeting at 186, Bishopsgate. On April 8, to defy the Military Service Act, and promised assistance to all who were absentees, and that Clifford Allen was sentenced to a term of imprisonment; will he say whether he is now at liberty; and will he say whether he addressed a meeting at the offices of the National Council Against Conscription at 22, Bride Lane, E.C., on Tuesday evening, the 20th instant, at six o’clock/

Mr. Tennant: The answer to the first part of the question is that there have been no releases, as far as I am aware, and the second part does not therefore arrive. Mr. Clifford Allen has not been sentenced. He is still at liberty, but is due to report for service on June 30. The meeting of the Executive Committee took place from 4.30 to 6 on the date mentioned.


Mr. Whitehouse asked the Prime Minister if he would, pending the adoption of the methods he has outlined, prevent the dispatch of any more conscientious objectors to France?

The Prime Minister: As far as I am concerned, and as far as the War Office is concerned, no soldier will be sent to France who we have good reason to believe is a conscientious objector.





In spite of repeated assurances as to the impossibility of the death sentence being inflicted on conscientious objectors in France, we received on Thursday, June 22, news that on the previous Thursday, at Bologne, four conscientious objectors, who had been court-martialled for refusing to obey military orders, were sentenced to be shot.

The four men were Messsrs. Marten, Scullard, Foister and Ring. On the date mentioned, the regiment was drawn up and the men paraded for their sentence to be pronounced, the court martial having been held some days previously. It is said to have been an impressive and solemn function.

The court-martial sentence of death was pronounced by an offer; after which there was a pause, and then came the announcement of the subsequent commutations of the sentence to


These men were members of the first party of conscientious objectors sent on May 8 to France, where the Non-Combatant Corps is stationed, and employed on such duties as quarrying and road-making. Before going to France they had served a term of imprisonment in Harwich Redoubt. They have consistently refused to obey all military orders on the ground that it is against their conscience.

It is understood that sentence of death was commuted by General Sir Douglas Haig. The prisoners have been transferred to Rouen, and it is expected that they will be returned to England.
h3. From The Tribunal [*** insert date of article ***}

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


From The Tribunal June 22nd 1916

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

Among Conscientious Objectors who have endured hardships with a cheerful courage are some who have found their trouble most difficult to bear, not so much because of their physical pain, but because their sufferings have been caused by the ill-will and the maliciousness of those in whose charge they have been placed. The legal punishment may be hard to bear, but the illegal ill-usage by individual soldiers, accompanied as it is with hatred occasioned by their misunderstanding of the victim’s point of view, is without doubt most difficult to bear, just because of the hate and misunderstanding.

Among such Conscientious Objectors were four men in the same place. Their usage was so rough and brutal that the accounts of it which reached us, and which were also sent to numerous people, aroused such intense feeling that quite a number of people became active on their behalf. It was no easy matter patiently to wait until the accumulation of material, confirmed fortunately by information from an independent source, was sufficient to constitute evidence upon which action might be taken. The aim in connection with the matter was, of course, to have an immediate stop put to the bad treatment of these men in particular, and of others too, as reports showed us that this kind of treatment was, to some extent, going on all over the country. An interview with some officers in high position, and it is comforting to find that their view and the view that they said was held in the army, was dead set against anything in the nature of bullying; indeed, they urged that they should be given specific information which would enable them to make examples of the guilty parties, if such they were. Of course, they professed absolute belief that what we complained of had never occurred and was quite impossible. The crux of the position was that they said such treatment could only be stopped if definite charges were made and disciplinary action reverted to, and the challenged the production of evidence to this end. What was to be done? The friend who had this matter in hand regarded the whole question from the Christian standpoint. He felt that while he desired that the bad treatment should cease, he was not willing to occasion the punishment of those who were guilty. It took some time to explain this attitude to the officers, but it is a great pleasure to record that when once the attitude was grasped the whole atmosphere of the interview changed, and that unbending – so far as officers in high military positions can unbend – they showed the greatest possible interest and sympathy.

Further interviews were arranged with other officers – this time those having the particular men in their charge. Practically the same experience was encountered, and in the final result there was quite obviously a friendliness on the part of the officers seen, and the definite promise from the officer commanding the regiment that if such bullying had taken place he would see to it that it ceased as far as these men were concerned, and be quite impossible in the future in his regiment for these men or any others. As a matter of fact, apart altogether from the action here described there may be a War Office inquiry into what was endured by these men. It may even be that some offenders will be punished, but this would be deplored by the friend who had the matter in hand, and by the men concerned.

Two things further have to be recorded: First, that so far as can be discovered, the bad illegal treatment has altogether ceased at that particular barracks; and, second, that when the four men were brought singly before the Commanding Officer, without knowing anything of the action taken on their behalf, or the attitude of the friend concerned, they each, when it was put to them, said they had suffered the bad treatment as described, but had no desire to give names or retaliate upon their tormentors in any way whatever.

June 22 19i6

What you didn’t know about Marple women (and men!) in WW1

Monday, November 7, 2016 to Saturday, November 26, 2016

Marple Library (upstairs room) 7 to 26 November During usual library opening hours ADMISSION FREE


Songs and poems for peace

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Plus stories of those who gave alternative service during WW1 – 4-5pm – followed by candlelit vigil for peace on the steps at Stockport Art Gallery , Wellington Road South SK3 8AB Stockport for Peace


From The Tribunal June 15th 1916

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


Dr. F.B. Meyer and Mr. Hubert Peel have just returned from a visit to some the companies of the Non-Combatant Corps now in France, the journey having been undertaken as the result of a suggestion made just before his departure from Russia by Lord Kitchener during the discussion of the Conscientious Objector with some well-known Free Church ministers.

In an interview with a London News Agency representative, Dr Meyer explained that it was not sufficiently realised that the 450 men who had been drafted abroad were to be divided into two categories, namely those who had accepted the non-combatant certificates granted by the Tribunal, their conscientious objection being met by release from actual combatant service, and those who felt it inconsistent for them as Conscientious Objectors to do any work of a military nature.

“We found two companies of the men in the former category,” said Dr. Meyer. “hard at work in a quarry where they are relieving royal Engineers from the task of providing the metal for the French roads for which the British authorities are responsible. Many of the men are Plymouth Brethren, and they have been allotted the use of a kiln for their religious worship, which they conduct themselves. Their religious scruples arising out of the Commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ are met, and they seemed to be working well and contentedly.”

The chief problem of the authorities, however, is regarding the men, amongst whom are several Quakers, shoolmasters, and University men, who, though they have been recognised as Conscientious Objectors, have only been granted exemption from combatant service by their Tribunals.

“This does not meet their case,” said Dr. Meyer, “and since their arrest thy have refused to obey any military orders, with the consequence that on arrival in France, they have become liable to various severe penalties, which in ordinary cases might include the death penalty, though I think we take it for granted that it will not be inflicted in any of these cases.”

“Fourteen of these men we were allowed to visit in No. 1 Field Punishment Barracks, where most of them were finishing a period of 28 days’ detention, while several were also awaiting the results of the Courts-Martial that had been held on them. By the courtesy of the Commandant I addressed the men and also spoke to them individually.

The men stated that they had not been subjected to rough treatment, that they were prepared to take their punishment, and that their treatment was decidedly better than much they had experienced in England.

In the Guardroom of another camp liberty was given to Dr. Meyer to speak to a party of 21 men who were awaiting Court-martial for a refusal to obey orders.

“It is a great pity from the point of view of military efficiency that these men should have been sent to France,” he said. “They have received no training, and their detention in the camp only interferes with the smooth running of arrangements. Would it not be wiser, therefore, to hand over these men to the civil authorities, which, at the expiry of the sentence inflicted by the military, might set to work of national importance, under a kind of ticket-of-leave system, until the end of the war? If a man would not accept the latter, he could, of course, be kept in custody.”

Caught in the War Machine? Women in German 1914-18

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Grassington & District Peace Group and Skipton Quakers Annual Peace Lecture, given by Dr Ingrid Sharp, 7.30pm at Friends Meeting House, Skipton, the Ginnel, off Newmarket St. [email protected]



From The Tribunal, Thursday 1st June 1916

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

Case Dismissed

Summonses against three members of the Nottingham Branch of the N.C.F., taken under the by-laws, were dismissed at the Nottingham Summons Court on May 24th, on a technical point raised for the defence.

The defendants were H.W. Lowe, of 174 Birkin Avenue; Richard Papworth, of 105, Egypt Road; and Thomas Parker, of 106, Bluebell Hill, who were charged with distributing handbills on the footway to the obstruction and annoyance of pedestrians. The “handbills” consisted of copies of the Tribunal, which were being distributed to people as they left the churches.

The names of two other members, Messrs. Levy and Bird, were also called, but in respect of these Inspector Hewett informed the magistrates that the men were in the custody of the military, having been fetched under escort. In consequence of that fact, he asked the summonses against the men should be allowed to be withdrawn. This was granted.

Inspector Bingham produced a certified copy of the by-law under which the proceedings were taken, from which, under cross-examination, Mr. Young, who defended, read an extract explaining to the magistrate that the by-law made it an offence for any person who “in any street or market-place of the city of Nottingham” distribute any handbills “advertising any trade, business or profession, or the sale of any goods, wares, or merchandises, or any lecture, entertainment, or performance.”

Mr Young: Have you looked at these papers they were distributing? – Yes sir.
What profession or business do they advertise? – None.
What goods, wares, or merchandise? – None.
Lecture or entertainment? – They advertise the tribunals.
But those are supposed to be courts of justice!

After corroborative evidence had been called, Mr. Young submitted that there was no evidence of any advertising. There were three small advertisements, but these advocated a cause and literature supporting that cause, and were not at all the sort of thing the by-law was intended to stop.

Tribunal, June 1 1916



From The Tribunal, Thursday 25th May 1916

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


Scene: Guard room of any barracks
Enter Captain, who addresses Conscientious Objector: Well, are you still determined to be obstinate?

C.O.: I must respectfully decline to obey any military order.

Captain: Umph! You’re a d———— fool, you know, and you will have to go through the mill if you don’t consent to make the best of a bad job and give in now you have made your protest.

C.O.: My decision is absolutely unalterable; I shall never submit to become part of the military machine.

Captain: OH! Well, then of course, you shall have to be court-martialed.

C.O.: I am quite ready to suffer any consequence of my action.

Captain: You may be liable to be shot in certain circumstances.

C.O.: I should consider it an honour to die for the faith which is in me.

Captain: I see it’s no use wasting my time further on you. I will call the corporal and give you an order in his presence. You will, I suppose, refuse to obey my order, and this will be sufficient for the court-martial.

(Captain goes to door and returns with corporal.)

Captain, to Corporal: I want you to watch this carefully. I am going to give this man an order, and he is going to refuse to obey it.

(Corporal salutes and stands at “attention,” with a twinkle in his eye.)

Captain to C.O.: Private Smith – “’Shon!”

(C.O. declines to “’shon” and sits down instead.

Captain: You witnessed that, Corporal?

Corporal: Yes, sir!

Captain to C.O.: That will do. You will receive notice of your court-martial in due course.

C.O.: Thank you, sir. Good day!
The scene above is a perfectly accurate description of the procedure adopted with the majority of our members prior to their trial by court-martial. Of course, the military authorities should be the best judges of what is likely to “prejudice the discipline of His Majesty’s Army!”

Conscience and Conscription: Resistance to War 1916-2016

Friday, October 14, 2016 to Saturday, October 15, 2016

Peace History Conference, Leeds Venues: Holy Trinity Church and Leeds City Museum. Further information via
http://www.abolishwar.org.uk/ and book tickets online here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2585702


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