The hearing of Lawrence Daker
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On 24 March 1916, the Shipley Times & Express published a report of the Shipley Military Tribunal which included consider- ing the appeals of a number of Conscientious Objectors. The members of the tribunal were Cllr Thomas Hill (chairman), Cllrs C E Learyod, F F Rhodes, T F Doyle, Mr Ernest Illingworth and Mr J A Burton (representing the military authority). “There were 32 cases to be dealt with and of these 22 were conscientious objectors. A large number of the public attended and the accommodation of the room in which the Tribunal was held was taxed to its utmost.” The reports appear to have largely carried a verbatim note of what was said on both sides.
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Lawrence Daker, woolsorter in the
employment of Messrs C.F. Taylor & Co.,
appeared. He had been conscientiously
opposed to war two or three years and this was
a time when he had to make his views public.
Mr Burton: Do you not think it is bad for your
reputation to bring them forward among
young men of your own age?
Lawrence Daker: I am proud of my
conscientious objections.
Regardless of what other people think about
them?
Yes.
Cllr Rhodes: You only found your conscience
when the war started though, did you?
That was the only time it was necessary to
mention them.
Mr Burton: But where does your objection
end? Does it end behind a rifle, a gun, or
what?
I refuse to accept military training at any
price. I shall not fight at all.
Will you accept non-combatant service?
No.
There is too much work in that I suppose.
It is against my mind. As soon as my
conscience tells me it is time to go and fight,
I shall go.
Your conscience tells you what you should
not do. Does it never prompt you to do what
you should do?
Can you prove to me what conscience is?
I want you to go and think it out what
conscience is.
Application refused.