The hearing of Francis Charles Perry
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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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Francis Charles Perry, a student, who had conscientious objections to taking part in warfare, said he was studying for an examination which would take place about June. The Chairman: Is it a final examination? Francis Perry: Yes, it is for B.A. Mr Burton: Could you not take that at a later date?
No, it would be impossible, I should lose everything I had learnt. It would drive everything out of my head. You think in a short time you would forget your preparations for it? I am sure I should. That is a strange value to put upon a university education. It cannot be worth much. Do you not think we are rather pressed in this country just now? Well, of course, that relates to the other part of my claim. Yes, but the point is whether or not you are serving your country better in getting ready for this degree or whether you are helping the men at the front. I believe teaching is one of the highest forms of social service. Postponement was granted to enable the applicant to take his examination.