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.