HOW IT IS DONE

From The Tribunal, Thursday 25th May 1916

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For other extracts go to: http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

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Scene: Guard room of any barracks
Enter Captain, who addresses Conscientious Objector: Well, are you still determined to be obstinate?

C.O.: I must respectfully decline to obey any military order.

Captain: Umph! You’re a d———— fool, you know, and you will have to go through the mill if you don’t consent to make the best of a bad job and give in now you have made your protest.

C.O.: My decision is absolutely unalterable; I shall never submit to become part of the military machine.

Captain: OH! Well, then of course, you shall have to be court-martialed.

C.O.: I am quite ready to suffer any consequence of my action.

Captain: You may be liable to be shot in certain circumstances.

C.O.: I should consider it an honour to die for the faith which is in me.

Captain: I see it’s no use wasting my time further on you. I will call the corporal and give you an order in his presence. You will, I suppose, refuse to obey my order, and this will be sufficient for the court-martial.

(Captain goes to door and returns with corporal.)

Captain, to Corporal: I want you to watch this carefully. I am going to give this man an order, and he is going to refuse to obey it.

(Corporal salutes and stands at “attention,” with a twinkle in his eye.)

Captain to C.O.: Private Smith – “’Shon!”

(C.O. declines to “’shon” and sits down instead.

Captain: You witnessed that, Corporal?

Corporal: Yes, sir!

Captain to C.O.: That will do. You will receive notice of your court-martial in due course.

C.O.: Thank you, sir. Good day!
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The scene above is a perfectly accurate description of the procedure adopted with the majority of our members prior to their trial by court-martial. Of course, the military authorities should be the best judges of what is likely to “prejudice the discipline of His Majesty’s Army!”

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