Friday, 15 July 2016

Conscientious Objectors from Lewis, continuing.

As well as Donald Maclennan, three other men from Lewis, as previously noted, appear on the Pearce Register. Their varying experiences in the First World War, according to the records on that database, are looked at here. In addition the Appeal Tribunal files for two of them have been consulted.

1. Donald Morrison, Garrabost.

First name(s)
Donald
Last name
Morrison
Marital status
Single
Occupation
Student (Divinity)
Age
22.1
Birth year
1894
Year
1916
Address
32, Garrabost
Address 2
Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
Local authority
Stornoway Burgh
County
Ross And Cromarty
Country
Scotland
Latitude
58.2
Longitude
-6.39
Ordnance Survey reference
NB420320
Service number
2451
Motivation
-
War Service
NCC (Non-Combatant Corps) 14.8.16 Fort George, (3 Scottish)
WO363
true
Sources
NA/WO363 - on line - incomplete
Record set
Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918

As in the case of Donald Maclennan, assignment to the NCC indicates that Donald Morrison would have been granted partial exemption (ECS - Exemption from Combatant Service only) by the local tribunal, probably in Stornoway. Since there is no mention of appeal, court-martial or prison in the case of the latter, it is likely that he accepted this, rather than being among the  "absolutists" who refused any form of military service.

2. Murdo Macleod, Cromore

The Appeal Tribunal record for Murdo Macleod can be viewed as a pdf (11 pages)

Appeal against Conscription, 1916 by Murdo Maclood, Conscientious Objector - Excerpts
The file is prefaced by a handwritten letter dated 1st April 1916 protesting against the decision of the Appeal tribunal (image above).
It may seem surprising that someone who described his occupation as “Fisherman and working on the croft” should display such a degree of literacy and specialised knowledge as is apparent in the letter and statements here, but only, perhaps, to those not acquainted with islanders of his generation.

Notice of Appeal. (Stamped, Stornoway, 20-3-16).
(2) Grounds on which appeal made:
(a) On grounds of my constitutional relation to “Second” Reformation in (1638016490 overthrown at the Revolution Settlement for which reasons, principally, we as a body are dissenters from Settlement, which testimony was issued by the Reformed Presbytery, first in 1761 renewed in 1777, and again in 1842, and publicly adhered to in “Chisholm’s Defence of Reformation Principles” (1913) with which I identify myself.
(b)   Since the Revolution Settlement the “Catholic Relief Bill” contrary to “Act for preventing the growth of papacy” in King William’s First Parliament Nov.23. 1700; again “Change in King’s Coronation Oath” 1910, and finally the recent “Special Envoy for the Pope”; for which reasons, I, conscientiously, cannot serve under the Military Service Act.
Murdo Macleod        
13/3/-16         
For Local Tribunal
The Tribunal after hearing the Applicant disallowed the claim but recommended him for non-combatant service.    
Stornoway 11th March 1916
For Appeal Tribunal (Ross & Cromarty and Sutherland, Lewis Section)
            Appellant heard, Appeal refused.
Stornoway 31st March 1916.
Leave to appeal further [to Central Tribunal] was also refused, the appellant not having stated any reasons sufficient justify a further appeal.
Reasons in support of the [original] Application *
            I had accepted the testimony of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland, previous to the outbreak of this war, as published in the years 1761, 1777, 1842; and published and adopted in 1913 by that body of men with whom I identified myself, in a book “Defence of Reformation Principles”. The aforementioned position is against any part in this war.
This attitude had been taken up by us before any word was heard of this war.
Murdo Macleod                    
26/I/-16
*A longer written statement (4 pages) is on file, further explaining Murdo’s conscientious objections in terms of his religious beliefs:
God has commanded rulers to rule “in the fear of the Lord”, and has given them explicit rules in His Word… and no ruler or government has any authority (that of a Tyrant) to enact laws, and force the same on people, which are inconsistent with the rules of the Word of God.
… I therefore adhere to the position of dissent…
… No power, can maintain the Kingdoms that rebel against the Great King
… For these reasons I can’t undertake to serve under the Military Service Act.
Decision of the Tribunal: [against which the appeal was lodged]
Stornoway 11th March 1916
The Tribunal disallowed the claim. Applicant recommended for non-combatant service and enrolled at once in the R.A.M.C. [Royal Army Medical Corps].
Murdo McLean Chairman.      

His reasons, considered in detail, may be unique among COs; they are certainly unusual. The underlying principle of refusing to abdicate his conscience and responsibility for vital decisions was, however, shared by most if not all, and he turned out to be among the most resolute, as his record shows:
  • Sent to 4(R) Seaforth Highlanders  
  • Court Martial at Invergordon 10.11.16 - sentenced to 112 days hard labour
  • Central Tribunal at Wormwood Scrubs 8.12.16 - refused to accept the Home Office Scheme (administered by the Brace Committee) conditions
  • Court Martial Ripon 21.2.18 -  sentenced to 1 year with hard labour)
  • Served time in: Wormwood Scrubs; Stafford Military Prison; Winson Green Civil Prison, Birmingham.
By Jan.1919 had served 4 sentences and two years.

First name(s)     Murdo
Last name           McLeod
Occupation         Fisherman and crofter
Age        29
Birth year            1887
Year       1916
Address               28, Cromore
Address 2            Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
Local authority  Stornoway Burgh
County Ross And Cromarty
Country                Scotland
Latitude               58.2
Longitude            -6.39
Ordnance Survey reference        NB420320
Absolutist            Yes
Motivation          Reformed Presbyterian 
Military Service Tribunal                MST (Military Service Tribunal) Lewis District 11.3.16 - ECS (Exemption from Combatant Service), non-combatant; Ross, Cromarty and Sutherland Appeal 20.3.16 - refused, ECS (Exemption from Combatant Service) confirmed; Central Tribunal at Wormwood S. 8.12.16 - refused to accept HOS (The Home Office Scheme, administered by the Brace Committee) conditions
Central Tribunal                Central Tribunal Nos. W.2257 Refused HOS
War Service        4(R) Seaforth Highlanders; CM (Court Martial) Invergordon 10.11.16 - 112 days.HL (With hard labour); CM (Court Martial) Rugeley 14.6.17 - 6 months HL (With hard labour); CM (Court Martial) Ripon 21.2.18 - 1yr.HL (With hard labour)
Prison   Wormwood S.; Stafford MP (Military Prison); Winson Green CP (Civil Prison), Birmingham; By Jan.1919 had served 4 sentences and two years.
WO363 false
Sources                NA/WO86/72/111, 76/98, 80/140; FH/FSC(1916/20)/SER3 - COIB Two Year Men; NA/MH47/1 Central Tribunal Minutes; FH/SER/VOPC/Cases/5(4104); NAS/SC33/62/1/20.
Record set          Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918


3. Charles Record, Stornoway, originally from Essex

In 1911 Charles was working as a "servant" while training to be a teacher, and living with his parents and sister (also a teacher) at 58 Borthwick Road, Stratford.

First name(s)     Last name           Relationship      Marital status    Sex         Occupation         Age        Birth year            Birth place
George William Record  Head     Married                Male      Decorative Japanner      47           1864       London Bethnal Green  
Annie    Record  Wife      Married                Female -              45           1866       London Stepney              
Charles Record  Son        Single   Male     Servant In Training For Teacher 19           1892       Essex Wanstead Slip      
Gladys  Record  Daughter             Single    Female Elementary Student Teacher      18           1893       Essex Wanstead Slip

Five years later he was a science teacher in the Nicolson Institute, Stornoway, living at 28 Point Street.


The whole Appeal Tribunal record for Charles Record can be viewed as a pdf here (8 pages)

Appeal against Conscription, 1916 by Charles Record, Conscientious Objector - Excerpts

The file is prefaced by a handwritten letter dated 20th May 1916 protesting against the decision of the Appeal tribunal (image of first of two pages above).

Notice of Appeal. (Stamped, Stornoway, 20-3-16 [Same date as for Murdo Macleod]).
(2) Grounds on which appeal made: My application was for total exemption on grounds of conscientious objection. By granting me exemption from combatant service the Local Tribunal apparently admitted my sincerity.
  I appeal for total exemption; so that I may not be compelled to assist in the taking of life.
  In particular I appeal for exemption from work involving the taking of the Military Oath. At present I can disobey laws which conflict with my conscience, if willing to suffer the penalties. By taking the oath I surrender that right, by solemnly promising to obey all commands of the military authorities; thereby handing over my conscience to them. This is quite impossible for me; especially since I object to the purpose for which the military organisation exists, & therefore to most of its requirements. Even though I might never receive a command which conflicted with my conscience, I cannot make the offer to discard my convictions.
Charles Record         
March 4th 1916
Reasons for the decision of the Local (Stornoway) Tribunal

The Tribunal having heard the Applicant refused the Application, but recommended him for non-combatant service.    [2-3-16]

For Appeal Tribunal (Ross & Cromarty and Sutherland, Lewis Section)
            The Tribunal having heard the appellant refused the Appeal.
Leave to appeal [further, to Central Tribunal] was also refused, the appellant not having stated any grounds to justify persuasion [?].
Stornoway 31st March 1916. [Same date as for Murdo Macleod]

Reasons in support of the [original] Application
            As a Christian I cannot undertake the responsibility of inflicting death.
My international ideals convince me that I ought not to take part in international disputes which involve the killing of my fellows.
I believe all occupations designed to assist the military authorities to partake of the same nature as actual combatant service.
[A written statement (in duplicate) accompanies the forms*].
Charles Record         
*This is on file and reinforces the points summarised here.

Decision of the Tribunal: [against which the appeal was lodged]
Stornoway 2nd March 1916
The Tribunal refused the Application and recommend that applicant be relieved from combatant service and enrolled at once in the R.A.M.C. [Royal Army Medical Corps].
John Mackenzie Chairman.     

What Happened Next
The Pearce Register gives details of the penalties Charles duly underwent in accordance with his conscience: 

  • Became an Absentee (i.e. left his place of residence), probably when the appeal was refused. 
  • Arrested 30.6.16
  • Drafted into the Seaforth Highlanders (having refused non-combatant service) 
  • Court Martial at Ripon,14.7.16 - sentenced to 1 year imprisonment
  • Served time in Northallerton (Civil Prison) and Durham (Civil Prison).
  • Came before the Central Tribunal at Wormwood Scrubs, 1.9.16 - found to be CO class A, genuine
  • Referred to Brace Committee for work under the  Home Office Scheme
  • In work centres at Wakefield, 12-10-16, and Dartmoor, 28.8.17 and 21.2.1918.
[Murdo Macleod - see above - was also sent to the Seaforths, and court-martialled at Ripon]

First name(s)     Charles
Last name           Record
Occupation         Science teacher, Stornoway School Board
Age        24
Birth year            1892
Year       1916
Address               28, Point Street
Address 2            Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
Local authority  Stornaway Burgh
County Ross And Cromarty
Country                Scotland
Latitude               58.2
Longitude            -6.39
Ordnance Survey reference        NB420320
Motivation          Religious [and Internationalist]
Military Service Tribunal                MST (Military Service Tribunal) Stornoway Burgh 2.3.16 - refused; Ross, Cromarty and Sutherland Appeal 20.5.16 - refused, granted ECS (Exemption from Combatant Service) with a recommendation to RAMC; Central Tribunal at Wormwood S. 1.9.16 - CO class A, to Brace Committee
Central Tribunal                Central Tribunal Nos. W.1023 Class: A - Genuine
War Service        4 (R) Seaforth Highlanders; CM (Court Martial) Ripon 14.7.16 - 1 yr imprisonment.
Magistrates Court            Arrested 30.6.16
Magistrates Court comments     Absentee
Prison   Northallerton CP (Civil Prison); Durham CP (Civil Prison)
Work Centre      HOS (The Home Office Scheme, administered by the Brace Committee) 12.10.16 at Wakefield; at Dartmoor 28.8.17 and 21.2.1918
WO363 false
Sources                Tribunal 27.7.16; Cumbria RO(Carlisle)D/Mar/4/97; NA/WO86/71/38; Sanctuary Autograph Book WYB8/2/1; NA/MH47/1 Central Tribunal Minutes; Not found in NA/WO363; FH/SER/VOPC/Cases/7(1559); NAS/SC33/62/1/1;
Record set          Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918


No comments:

Post a Comment