From The Tribunal 8th August 1918

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


Now we shall win the war!!
In a war for justice it is right that a just and righteous people should be led to victory in a just and righteous cause by a just and righteous leader. Surely no one better than a just and righteous judge, learned in the laws of the land of justice and freedom could be chosen for the position.

Wizards – even Welsh – must fail, but Time brings the man. He has arrived.

At the Lanarkshire Tribunal, sitting in the County Buildings, Glasgow, on July 22nd, last, was heard the appeal for exemption from military service of William Starkey, Junior, a young International Bible Student, who is so un-British as to claim a conscience.

Willie is a simple lad (not a simpleton, but like many similar throughout the land, clean minded and clear brained), and, believing in the Bible commandment “Thou shalt not kill,” he cannot grasp the revised version, “Thou shalt not kill except in war now preached by the khaki clothed ministers of the Gospel of the Prince of Peace.

Sheriff Lee of Lanarkshire, who presided at the Tribunal soon sized up the situation: no ordinary Sunday-go-to-meeting Christian this, but a just and righteous judge to Israel who has no room for a law which allows a conscientious objection and no mercy for those who believe the British government ever intended such a clause in the Military Service Act to become operative.

“Thou shalt not steal” is a sensible and conscientious Bible commandment which the learned judge is determined shall be obeyed: but “Thou shalt not kile”-! Scrap the Bible.

William Starkey’s father attended the Tribunal on his son’s behalf, and notified me that the appeal was dismissed and permission to appeal to the Central Tribunal refused.

Mr. Starkey, senior, writes me: “I was amazed at the apathy of the Court when confronted with scripture texts: they were simply ignored, and so far as the clause in the Act is concerned, for the conscientious objector, it is a diabolical mockery – for a C.O. has no quarter. However, we can thank God for the strength that enables us to sympathise with even our enemies. I feel I must tell you that during the Sheriff’s questioning, as I was explaining that the Christian is exhorted to render unto no men evil for evil, he remarked that we might as well scrap the Bible if that was it.”

William Starkey, Junior, is the first C.O. from the village of Gartcosh, near Glasgow. It requires great courage for a young lad to stand out in a small village where everyone knows him. This William Starkey has done, and his parents have reason to be proud of him: but we all owe Willie a special recognition in that he has discovered for us the man and the way to win the war.

His Honour, Sheriff Lee, of Lanarkshire, is the man the way is “Scrap the Bible.” So simple a solution after 4 years of slaughter!