Monday, 15 June 2015

Neighbours in Refusal to Bear Arms

(more on Ealing’s Conscientious Objectors: Hanwell)

Previous posts have looked at the cases of Arthur Morley Jones of 24 Grove Avenue, and his brother Sydney Langford Jones, of 67 Shakespeare Road, who both became Conscientious Objectors in the First World War. Data from the Pearce Register now available at the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website shows at least another half-dozen COs living in Hanwell:
·         George Brodie, Post Office worker, 50 Deans Road;
·         Alfred George Hooker, Postman, 57 York Avenue;
·         H. W. Locke, 12, Milton Road;
·         Frank Scrace, Electric fitter, 1 Market Parade; “wife's address” 34 Boston Road;
·         Jonathan Trigg, Commercial traveller in foodstuff, 29 Clitherow Avenue/ 43 Grosvenor Road;
·         Horace Edwin Walker, Dept. Manager in Southall metal goods factory, 52 Grove Avenue.               
and an A. E. Jones and an M. Jones whose details are uncertain –
·       the former with address given as “Hanwell”, said to have been given a prison sentence (Durham Civil Prison) and transferred to the Home Office Scheme - "12.10.16 gone for WNI (Work of National Importance) at Wakefield; 28.11.16 at Denton, Newhaven; 28.8.17 at Dartmoor”
·    the latter’s arrest said to have been reported by the No-Conscription Fellowship, 5-9-16, address given as  “Hanwell”, “Absentee” from Magistrates’ Court.
For the most part, the known addresses were within easy walking distance of each other, and of the Council’s offices in Cherington Road, where the Hanwell Local Tribunal was based.
The former Hanwell Urban District Council offices,
 where Hanwell Local Tribunal hearings were held.
Information from record transcriptions
H. W. Locke, who lived in the next street down from Sydney Langford Jones, differs from the others insofar as he didn’t wait for conscription; he served in the (Quaker) Friends' Ambulance Unit from Nov.1914 to Jan.1919, according to its List of Members. Presumably he did not therefore need to claim exemption, and hence does not appear in Tribunal records.
Frank Scrace is described, unusually, as “Atheist”, suggesting that his case may be worth examining more closely. His connection with Hanwell is uncertain (an address in Tooting is given as his main one), and he does not seem to have made an appeal to the Middlesex Tribunal. According to the 1911 Census he and his wife Maude were living at 2 Handsworth Cottages, West District Road, Ashford, Middlesex. His wartime fate is summarised as: (Drafted into a combatant unit and disobeyed orders) Prison: Wormwood Scrubs transfer to Wandsworth CP (Civil Prison) 1.2.17 to 8.3.17 (Remission); Wandsworth 26.3.17 to 17.8.17 (Remission); Canterbury CP to Wormwood S. 6.11.17; 2.9.18 transfer to Wandsworth. By Jan.1919 had served 3 sentences and two years. Illness - released on health grounds by order of Secretary of State 10.1.19.
Alfred George Hooker applied to the Hanwell MST (Military Service Tribunal) as a member of the Plymouth Brethren and was granted Exemption from Combatant Service, 14.7.16. Evidently accepting this (his name does not show up on Middlesex Appeal Tribunal files), he served in the Non-Combatant Corps: 24.7.16 Hounslow, (6 Eastern) 25.7.16, (11 Eastern) 11.5.18; Home: 24.7.16 - 24.12.19 Demob.

Information from record transcriptions and Appeal Tribunal (MAT) files

Jonathan Trigg: Married. Born 1-9-1879. Military Service Tribunal Hanwell: Exemption from Combatant Service) conditional on Work of National Importance. Military Service Tribunal Appeal relates to health issues.
Application for Medical Re-examination [after being placed at Grade I]:
That I am not medically fit for military service, having heart trouble, also [...]
May 14th 1918
FOR APPEAL TRIBUNAL:          The Application is allowed. 28th May 1918
The Application was supported by a letter from a West Ealing doctor, J. Anderson MB, dated 12-5-1918, confirming Trigg’s account of his problems including : cardiac disease – a mitral murmur [...]
The final document is a certificate dated 12-5-1918 from H W. Price MD of Harley Street, concluding: In my opinion there is enlargement of the heart and organic mitral incompetence
Transcription at IWM site states: WNI (Pelham) (Work of National Importance under the Pelham Committee) 10.10.18 to 5.12.18 Rejected by Army Medical Board in 1916 and 1917 but passed grade 1 in 1918; to work at Isleworth Rubber Co. but work too heavy for him; 5.12.18 allowed to return to his former employment.

George Brodie applied to the Hanwell Tribunal early in 1916 both on grounds of conscience – ‘F’ – and on account of the hardship – ‘D’ – that would ensue for his parents if he was called up.
I have a conscientious objection to participation in warfare which I regard as morally wrong
My parents are old and infirm and entirely dependent upon my earnings & I am married but my marriage did not take place until after Nov 2nd [...].
29th February 1916
He added a fuller statement, a note from his parents, and
a copy of a letter from the Member of Parliament for this division to whom I wrote briefly describing my domestic position.”
This note, dated 19-1-16, is signed W Joynson Hicks
 Dear Sir,
At one o’clock this morning the government assented to an amendment of a very wide character enabling persons in the position of yourself to appeal to the Military Tribunal for exemption on the grounds mentioned in your letter.
Brodie’s application was, however, refused, his appeal dismissed, and leave to appeal to the Central Tribunal refused. The pattern was repeated on his second attempt, in June-July. (His was among a batch of 8 appeals sent from Hanwell to the Middlesex Appeal Tribunal on 11-7-16, not necessarily - indeed probably not - all from COs). The fact that his conscientious objection was not based on religion prompted the usual adverse reaction:
... The appellant considers that a policy of disarmament should have been pursued by all the Nations before the War ...
It is merely a case of muddled political theories, and of a refusal to face facts.
[signed] James Morley
18th March 1916
From transcription at IWM site: Brentford Police Court 21.8.16, tried, fined 40/- and handed over; Absentee; Post Office worker, released for service 31.7.16. Prison: Wormwood Scrubs. Non-NCC (Drafted into a combatant unit and disobeyed orders) Work Centre under Home Office Scheme: Denton, Newhaven; 28.8.17.
TO FOLLOW: A closer look at George Brodie’s case as presenting features of special interest.

Horace Edwin Walker, by contrast, based his claim and appeals on religious conviction, as did his Grove Avenue neighbour Arthur Morley Jones. He is described as a “Baptist 'of the narrower sort' almost a [member of the] Plymouth Brethren” and quoted the New Testament extensively in his statements. He was granted Exemption from Combatant Service by the Hanwell Tribunal but went on to appeal for the absolute exemption he sought.
He did not want to serve in the Non-Combatant Corps but was willing to undertake work of national importance as long as it was not normally associated with waging war. Among the letters of support he obtained was one from another CO, Archibald Montague Mather of 72 Adelaide Road, West Ealing. Mather is on record as having been ‘formerly Baptist, now "[Plymouth] Brethren" because he objected to the pro-war stance taken at Baptist chapel.’
The Military Representative was not favourably disposed to Horace Walker despite his explicit denial of political motivation:
This is a claim on the ground of conscientious objection which I must leave to the tribunal.  I may point out however that the claimant is taking a very fair salary working for a firm which is manufacturing munitions of war.
[signed] James Morley
1st July 1916
He later dismissed a further appeal as “the usual attempt to get further time” (11-8-1916).
In fact Walker had supplied a letter from the Southall firm where he was a Departmental Manager, H G Sanders of Gordon Road, “manufacturers of metal goods”, stating that
“Mr. H. E Walker is employed in a branch of our factory that is not in any way connected with munitions or war work, and in fact he intimated to us some time after the war started that if his work could be considered in any way as being connected with munitions he would have to resign from the position he occupies.”
He was nevertheless clearly less of an absolutist than some, who would have had nothing to do with such a firm, and when all avenues of appeal were eventually exhausted he put up with being drafted into the Non-Combatant Corps (14.9.16 Hounslow barracks), no doubt helped by being passed as “Medically fit for Home Service only” and being eligible for periodic leave etc. (he was married).  His transcribed record reports “No disciplinary incidents except for a case of over-staying his leave in August 1918 shortly after his son was born” and gives his Demob. date as 31.12.19.

Part of Hanwell (south Hobbayne) with some streets where COs had addresses.
(Cherington Road as in above picture is south of Hanwell station, at end of Ballfour Av.)

WORK IN PROGRESS; In addition to those named here as having Hanwell connections, at least four COs were confined in Hanwell Asylum – London County Asylum at the time – after the Central Tribunal, meeting at Wormwood Scrubs, decided they should be certified insane. It is hoped that research will reveal more about them. UPDATE ON THIS TOPIC HERE.