Monday, 15 August 2016

More Scottish First World War COs: from Orkney, Shetland and Cullen

The Northern Isles did not produce many Conscientious Objectors in the First World War, but we do have a couple of names, and some details about each.
A view of Burrafirth, Unst, Shetland
Alexander Robert Cook was a Schoolteacher in West Unst, Shetland, aged 40 in 1917. One of 130 (so far counted) Presbyterian COs, he was an "Absolutist" (refusing alternative service) and also one of about 30 COs who were certified "insane" during the war. In his case this occurred after a harrowing series of events.
  • Military Service Tribunal, Shetland 23.3.16, granted Exemption from Combatant Service only
  • Sent to Non-Combatant Corps, Fort George 6.3.17
  • Court Martial at Hamilton 13.3.17, sentenced to 112 days hard labour, Wormwood Scrubs prison
  • Central Tribunal at Wormwood Scrubs 27.4.17
  •  - refused to accept alternative service under the Home Office Scheme
  • Released and returned to unit 15.6.17
  • Court Martial at Hamilton 21.6.17 -  sentenced to 1 year.hard labour; Barlinnie Prison
  • Released to rejoin unit 22.11.17; 
  • Hospital, Hamilton 29.12.17 - 1.1.18 (Scabies) 7.3.18 - 6.3.19 
  • Diagnosed with 'Delusional Insanity', sent to Dykebar War Hospital, Paisley 6.3.19-13.6.19
"Died in Dykebar War Hospital 13.6.19" - "rather suddenly" according to the authorities.
Footnote:
Although Alexander Cook seems to have been the only CO admitted to Dykebar Military Hospital, there is an interesting parallel with an Australian soldier whose aberrant behaviour (“disorderly conduct”) - which may be seen as amounting to a rejection of his role in the war - led to the same eventual diagnosis of “delusional insanity”. He survived the experience of Dykebar, however.
Information (edited from http://harrowercollection.com/hornew.html, with thanks to PG for the tip-off):-
William Horn (not Horne) enlisted with A Company 35th Battalion AIF on the 11th of December 1915 and was an original member of the Battalion and left Sydney on board HMAT A24 "BENALLA" on the 1st of May 1916. Whilst AT SEA on the 23rd of May he was Charged for being Absent Without Leave from 14:00 to 22:30 and was Awarded 14 days Fatigue duty and [forfeited] 1 day’s pay. William disembarked AT Plymouth, England on the 9th of July. William was marched to the 9th Training Battalion but 2 month later transferred to the 17th Battalion and proceeded overseas for France on the 30th of September 1916.
 After arriving in Etaples, William joined the 54th Battalion AIF on the 12th of October but found himself in trouble again on the 18th of November 1916 and was again Charged with being Absent From Billets, from 07:30 17/11/1916 to 16:00 18/11/1916. Admonished by Lieutenant C. E. SHAW Forfeits 2 Days’ Pay.
 A couple of days later William was sent to the Australian Field Ambulance on the 22nd but rejoined his unit again that afternoon but was sent back to hospital on the 30th of November. A week later William was transfered to the Australian Casualty Clearing Station suffering from Mental Deficiency and on the 26th of January he was transfered to the 8th General Hospital at Rouen as being Mental[ly ill].
 William was evacuated back to England on the 3rd of March 1917 and admitted to the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley and remained there for nearly a week before again being transfered to the Dykebar Hospital at Paisley as a Mental Patient.
 He remained at Dykebar until the 29th of August and was transfered to the Lord Derby Hospital at Warrington. After a history of disorderly conduct and in and out of Mental Hospitals, William was returned to Australia on board HMAT A72 "Beltana" on the 18th of October 1917 for discharge due to 'DELUSIONAL INSANITY' and disembarked at Sydney, Australia on the 13th of December and was discharged as Medically Unfit on the 23rd of January 1918.

Alexander Robert Cook
Marital status    Single
Occupation         Schoolteacher
Age        40.5
Birth year            1877
Year       1917
Address               West Unst [Westing, Unst]
Address 2            Shetland
Local authority  North Isles County District
County Orkney & Shetland
Country                Scotland
Latitude               60.74
Longitude            -0.88
Ordnance Survey reference        HP607073
Service number                3776
Absolutist            Yes
Motivation          Presbyterian
Military Service Tribunal                MST (Military Service Tribunal) North (?), Shetland 23.3.16 - ECS (Exemption from Combatant Service) only; Central Tribunal at Wormwood S. 27.4.17, refused to accept HOS (The Home Office Scheme, administered by the Brace Committee) conditions
Central Tribunal                Central Tribunal Nos. W.3337 Refused HOS
War Service        Fort George 6.3.17; NCC (Non-Combatant Corps) (3 Scottish) CM (Court Martial) (4 Scottish) 13.3.17 Hamilton 112 days HL (With hard labour) Wormwood S.; released and returned to unit 15.6.17; CM (Court Martial) Hamilton 21.6.17 - 1yr.HL (With hard labour) Barlinnie CP (Civil Prison); released to rejoin unit 22.11.17; Hospital, Hamilton 29.12.17 - 1.1.18 (Scabies); 7.3.18 - 6.3.19 'Delusional Insanity'; Dykebar War Hospital, Paisley 6.3.19-13.6.19
War Service comments Died in Dykebar War Hospital 13.6.19; Mental illness NOTE the WO363 file contains a great deal of medical detail
Prison   Wormwood S. 16.3.17 to 15.6.17; Barlinnie CP (Civil Prison) 25.6.17 to 23.11.17 released to unit
WO363 true
Notes    *The NA/WO363 file gives his next-of-kin as his sister at 12, Atholl Place, Edinburgh
Sources                NA/WO363/C1668; NA/WO86/74/145, 76/117; LMA/4417/01/016 - Wormwood S. Nominal Register; NAS/HH21/70/55 Barlinnie Register 1916-1919; NA/MH47/2 Central Tribunal Minutes; FH/SER/VOPC/Cases/2(4026)
Record set          Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918

=============================
Robert McKay came from Finstown in Orkney, but not much else is known about him in the context of conscientious objection to the First World War; his motivation is not stated. Although he is said to have been in prison, he was evidently not one of the ultra-hard-line Absolutists, and accepted the terms of the  Home Office Scheme. Like many others, he was eventually sent to work at Dartmoor.

Robert McKay
Age        -
Birth year            -
Year       -
Address               Finstown
Address 2            Finstown
Local authority  Mainland County District
County Orkney & Shetland
Country                Scotland
Latitude               58.98
Longitude            -3.18
Ordnance Survey reference        HY322119
Motivation          -
Work Centre      HOS (The Home Office Scheme, administered by the Brace Committee) 25.5.17 been in prison then at Broxbourn, leaving for Dartmoor 18.5.17; 28.8.17 at Dartmoor
WO363 false
Sources                Collins Notebook; FH/SER/VOPC/Cases/5(4236); Not found in NA/WO363;
Record set          Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918

=============================
The harbour at Scapa Flow, of great importance in both world wars
Alexander Guthrie Tulloch was a 21-year-old student in 1916. He seems to have accepted the decision of his Military Service Tribunal  on 25.8.16 that the should be granted Exemption from Combatant Service only, conditional on his being willing to serve in the RAMC. No doubt bidding farewell to Stromness, where he lived, he was sent to the Non-Combatant Corps at Fort George and apparently served with no major disputes or incidents from 16.10.16 until demobilisation on 21.2.19.

Alexander Guthrie Tulloch
Marital status    Single
Occupation         Student
Age        21
Birth year            1895
Year       1916
Address               Plainstones
Address 2            Stromness
Local authority  Stromness Burgh
County Orkney & Shetland
Country                Scotland
Latitude               58.96
Longitude            -3.3
Ordnance Survey reference        HY250090
Service number                3072
Motivation          -
Military Service Tribunal                MST (Military Service Tribunal) 25.8.16 - ECS (Exemption from Combatant Service) conditional on RAMC
War Service        NCC (Non-Combatant Corps) 16.10.16 Fort George, NCC (Non-Combatant Corps); Home: 16.10.16 - 21.2.19, Demob.
WO363 true
Sources                NA/WO363 - on line - incomplete
Record set          Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918



=============================
John Addison Findlay had visited Orkney as a 15- or 16-year-old on a fishing boat in 1901, according to the Pearce Register transcription. Other evidence (1911 Census, birth record, affiliation) strongly suggest that his home was in Cullen. He was a member of the Plymouth Brethren, one of the denominations most consistently opposed to the war, and would probably have encountered several co-religionists in the course of his trials and troubles as a CO.
[After being denied full exemption by the local Tribunal, if he applied:-]
  • Sent to the Gordon Highlanders [and presumably refused to obey orders]
  • Court Martialled at Aberdeen 8.6.17 
  • Sentenced to 9 months with hard labour) commuted to 140 days
  • Wormwood Scrubs Prison  18.6.17 to 23.9.17
  • Came before Central Tribunal at Wormwood Scrubs 3.8.17, judged CO "Class: A - Genuine"
  • - referred to Brace Committee and sent to Dartmoor 23.9.17.
John Addison Findlay
Occupation         Fisherman*
Age        32
Birth year            1885
Year       1917
Address               * (1901) [236 Seatown, Cullen, in 1911]
Local authority  -
County -
Country                Great Britain
Latitude               -
Longitude            -
Ordnance Survey reference        -
Motivation          Plymouth Brethren
Military Service Tribunal                MST (Military Service Tribunal) Central Tribunal at Wormwood S. 3.8.17, CO class A, to Brace Committee
Central Tribunal                Central Tribunal Nos. W. 4008 Class: A - Genuine
War Service        4 Gordon Highlanders; CM (Court Martial) Aberdeen 8.6.17 - 9 months HL (With hard labour) com.140 days, Wormwood S.
Prison   Wormwood S. 18.6.17 to 23.9.17 to Dartmoor
Work Centre      HOS (The Home Office Scheme, administered by the Brace Committee) 23.9.17 to Dartmoor
WO363 false
Notes    *Occupation in 1901 census and registered on a fishing boat in Kirkwall harbour, Orkney
Sources                NA/WO86/76/92; LMA/4417/01/016 - Wormwood S. Nominal Register; Not found in NA/WO363; NA/MH47/2 Central Tribunal Minutes;
Record set          Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918

Birth certificate, Pitsligo 1884, for John Addison Findlay.
(Note parents married in Cullen).
1901 Census showing First name(s)   Last name  Relationship    Marital status  Gender    Age     Birth year        Occupation       
James   Findlay   Head   Married   Male    49        1852    Fisherman  Cullen, Banffshire         
Maggie  Findlay   Wife    Married           Female 47        1854  Portknockie, Banffshire        
Isabella Findlay    Daughter         Single  Female 25        1876
Jane     Findlay    Daughter         Single  Female 20        1881    Fishworker
George Findlay     Son      Single  Male    17        1884    Fisherman
James   Findlay     Son      -           Male    14        1887    Fisherman
Jessie   Findlay     Daughter         -           Female 11        1890    Scholar 
(All except Maggie said to have been born in Cullen, Banffshire, Scotland)
[Address given as Cullen, with no street/ house number]
As noted above, according to the Register, John, 16 in 1901, was away from home on census night, on a fishing boat at Kirkwall. Other names are consistent with the 1911 image below and with his birth record.


1911 Census image for the Findlays
at 236 Seatown, Cullen

236 Seatown, Cullen, summer 2016 
 

Alexander and George Mair were from the Seatown in Cullen too, and would certainly have been known to John Findlay, the more so as they were about the same age, and fellow adherents of the Plymouth Brethren (such religious groupings were and are strong in the fishing communities of the north-east).

Alexander,the elder by 2 years (32 in 1917), was sent to the Gordon Highlanders Depot, then - 
  • Court Martialled at Aberdeen 29.5.17 -  sentenced to 112 days with hard labour
  •  in Wormwood Scrubs Prison 8.6.17 to 28.8.17
  • before Central Tribunal at Wormwood Scrubs 20.7.17, judged "Class: A - Genuine"
  •  - referred to Brace Committee 
  •  - sent to Home Office Scheme Work Centre in Kew Gardens 28.8.17.
George, a Boat Builder aged 30, followed or was dragged along the same path, on the same dates, as far as the Brace Committee referral, but was then less fortunate (in all likelihood), being sent to work at Dartmoor on 26th July or 26th August 1917. So he would have been separated from his brother at this point, but would very likely soon have encountered John Findlay (see above), as well as other Brethren.


Alexander Mair
Age     32
Birth year        1885
Year    1917
Address           * (1891)
Address 2        Cullen*
Local authority            Cullen Burgh
County            Banffshire
Country           Scotland
Latitude          57.69
Longitude       -2.82
Ordnance Survey reference    NJ510670
Motivation      Plymouth Brethren
Military Service Tribunal        MST (Military Service Tribunal) Central Tribunal at Wormwood S. 20.7.17, CO class A, to Brace Committee
Central Tribunal          Central Tribunal Nos. W. 3938 Class: A - Genuine
War Service     Depot Gordon Highlanders CM (Court Martial) Aberdeen 29.5.17 - 112 days HL (With hard labour), Wormwood S.
Prison  Wormwood S. 8.6.17 to 28.8.17 to Kew Gardens
Work Centre   HOS (The Home Office Scheme, administered by the Brace Committee) 28.8.17 to Kew Gardens
WO363           false
Notes   *Family address in 1891 - father a fisherman. 'F' George and Alexander Mair, brothers.
Other Conscientious Objectors in family        Yes
Sources            LMA/4417/01/016 - Wormwood S. Nominal Register; Not found in NA/WO363; NA/MH47/2 Central Tribunal Minutes;
Record set       Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918
["F" refers to Conscientious Objection as the grounds for applying for exemption from military service - there were half a dozen other possible grounds under the Acts] 

George Mair
Occupation      Boat builder*
Age     30
Birth year        1887
Year    1917
Address           39, Seatown *
Address 2        Cullen
Local authority            Cullen Burgh
County            Banffshire
Country           Scotland
Latitude          57.69
Longitude       -2.82
Ordnance Survey reference    NJ510670
Motivation      Plymouth Brethren
Military Service Tribunal        MST (Military Service Tribunal) Central tribunal at Wormwood S. 20.7.17, CO class A, to Brace Committee
Central Tribunal          Central Tribunal Nos. W. 3939 Class: A - Genuine
War Service     Depot Gordon Highlanders CM (Court Martial) Aberdeen 29.5.17 - 112 days HL (With hard labour), Wormwood S.
Prison  Wormwood S. 8.6.17 to 26.8.17 to Dartmoor
Work Centre   HOS (The Home Office Scheme, administered by the Brace Committee) 26.7.17 to Dartmoor
WO363           false
Notes   *Family address and his occupation in 1901 census. 'F' George and Alexander Mair, brothers.
Other Conscientious Objectors in family        Yes
Sources            LMA/4417/01/016 - Wormwood S. Nominal Register; Not found in NA/WO363; NA/MH47/2 Central Tribunal Minutes;
Record set       Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918


1901 Census record for Mair family in Cullen [no street/ house number given]
James   Mair     Head   Married           Male    49        1852    Fisherman        Rathven, Banffshire
Margaret          Mair     Wife    Married           Female 48        1853    Fisherman's Wife 
George Mair     Son      Single  Male    14        1887    Boat Builder   Sandhaven, Aberdeenshire
John Wm         Mair     Son      -           Male    12        1889    Scholar            Cullen, Banffshire

Ann Mair         Falconer  Mother-In-Law  Widow  Female 70        1831    - Rathven, Banffshire
[George, at 14, is already working as a "Boat Builder"; Alexander (16) is presumably away from home, perhaps working elsewhere, on census night.] 

From Cullen: 
 
A view over the Seatown
Cullen, late 20th century

A more impressionistic view
To Dartmoor:
COs at work camp



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