Tribunals must not be clearing house for cowards
Home Page Home Page Home Page
On 10 March 1916, the Shipley Times & Express published the remarks of F W L Butterfield, the prospective Unionist Candidate for Shipley. He had made clear his opinion of con- scientious objectors during a speech at a smoking concert at the Unionist Club. ‘All citizens should be proud to serve their country under the Military Service Act even if for one reason or another they have failed to volunteer,’ he said. Object ‘I do not except the so-called conscien- tious objector for although there are, no doubt, some genuine cases who object to combatant service, yet they are a small number and the conscientious objection clause should not be made the
clearing house through which the cow- ards of the country can pass on to comfort and safety while the more worthy men of the community are suf- fering every kind of hardship and pouring out their blood for the com- mon welfare. ‘It behoves all military representatives and recruiting tribunals to see that that class of persons does not get through on a foolish protest.’ And the newspaper followed up with an editorial which said: ‘We agree with Mr Butterfield in the opinion that the men who are genuine in their objection to combatant service are very few in number. ‘Many of the applicants for exemption
under the conscientious objection clause of the Military Service act have not stood the test of cross-examination before the Tribunals Shirking ‘What they call conscientious objections to fighting were wretched excuses for shirking their duty at a momentous crisis in their country’s history. ‘There may be some genuine cases but as Mr Butterfield observed, it is important that this particular clause should not be made the clearing house for cowards of the country to pass through unscathed, on the way to permanent comfort, ease and safety, while others are enduring untold hardship and pouring out their life’s blood freely and generously for the common cause.’
More on Conscientious Objectors More on Conscientious Objectors More on Conscientious Objectors
F W L Butterfield