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I Abertillery Notes. I

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I Abertillery Notes. I [ Abertiliery I.L.P., At the weekly branch meeting held a week Thursday, the Chairman (Comrade H. Phinni- I rnore) presiding, a very interesting report of the Biyj iiitwi- Conference was given, by Mrs Hos- kins Comrade AV. Edwards reported on the last Federation meeting held at Newport. Other matters in connection with the forthcoming visit (July 20) of the Hall. Bertrand Russell N; were arranged. The Abertilleiy members are keen on the Federation Rally, to be held at Gilwei-n on the 15th. Speaker to be Mr Jowett, M.P.. or Mr Richardson, M.P., and progress was reported in the planning of that event. An enjoyable outing is expected. The Secretary was I -also instructed to .send the greetings of the ? branch to Tom Gale, who has been removed by reason of the necessities of the military situa- tion. I Mrs. Walker at Abertillery, I f? Mrs. Walker, of the Workers' Suffrage Fede- ration, was the chief speake,ra,t a rather hur- xiedly arranged open-air meeting held in Abel- r tinery on Saturday evening. Miss M. Pallister 'took the chair, and a number of friends as- K ssted by seUing literature and taking a collec- ?. tion A large crowd soon gathered, and the ? -address of ?Lrs. Walker, dealing with the war ? and its complications and the pJ;.sent position of the women's movement, was listened to with much interest. A series of meetings is being .held in the surrounding districts. 1 Conscience Discovered. At the 7th inst, the | I Local Tribunal held an all-day sitting, under the B chairmanship of Mr John Phillips, others pres- » ent being Messrs. A. H. Dolman. W. T. Wil- liams, W. If. Lloyd, W. Walters W. B. Har- rison (military representative), and T. Nichol- son (Board of Agriculture), with Mr W. Gait (Clerk) and Mr D. R. Davies (deputy clerk).- I I; Amongst a great number of cases heard, four were of Conscientious Objectors, all members of ? the N.C.F. and I.L.P. [ The first appeal heard was that of Tom Pow- ?11 Chairman of the N.C.F. Branch, a colliery a .stoker, who had refused to allow his employers I to have him exempted as a "starred" man, preferring to maintain his personal claim. He said he would stand to his convictions come what might.—The application was refused. Frank Collier, employed at a local Co-op. Stores in the grocery and provision department, maintained strongly his Conscientious Claim. During his hearing some facts concerning his domestic position were elicited.—Result eventu- ally was appeal refused on the Conscientious •grounds, but two months' exemption allowed on domestic, grounds. Another case was that of Walter Gulliford, a bread deliverer and grocer's assistant.-—This ap- plication was also refused. The other case was that of J. Andrews a milk deliverer. Applicant said he had held his present views for 15 years.—Result finally, in hIs case, was that absolute exemption was gran- ted, providing he took up work of national importance. It seems that his present occupation will fulfil those requirements, so that he will be undisturbed. Our comrade is to be congratulated; he well •deserves exemption on the grounds claimed. He is undoubtedly a genuine Objector, and there- fore entitled to what lie has received. On Wednesday, June 5, Henry Thomas Gale, 21. of Abertilleiy, Conscientious Objector to Military Service, was arrested by the police for having failed to report himself at the Recruit- ing Office, in. accordance with the notice serv- ed upon him. Gale's occupation was that of colliery stoker, working at the surface of the Tillery Colliery. Last week he was on the 2— 10 shift, and he was arrested about 2-30, "shortly after commencing his day's work. Under the escort of the police he was allowed to go home for a wash and change of clothes, after- wards being taken to Abertillerv Police Station. Wednesday night he spent in a. cell, and on 'Thursday morning, at 9 o'clock he was re- moved to Ebbw Vale. Abctat 4.30 he was brought before the magistrates at the Police 'Court there. During the hearing of his case the 'Chairman of the Bench asked could the colliery CODipaTiy employing him do without him. In ? reply to that question Tom Gale's father spoke from the body of the court. He said "No! He had been sent, for that morning to work extra to make up for the removal of his son." The result of the hearing was a fine of 40/- and costs inflicted, and the prisoner to await a mili- ■ tary escort. About 4.30 p.m. he left Ebhw Vale. for Cardiff Barracks, in the charge of two sergeants, both unarmed. In the same train, for the same destination travelled Gjde's father, who is. by the way. the respec- -bed secretary of the Abortillery N.C.F. Branch. V Arrived at Cardiff,, the Recruiting Office pro- vided the next scene in the story. The prisoner was there* asked for his certificrate received from the Tribunal (non-combatant), the authori- ties being seemingly unaware what class of de- serter was in their custody. Without any oth- er formalities, Comrade Gale was then taken to the Barracks; then his pockets, etc., were emp- tied, and then he passed from the observation of his father to undergo a similar trial of strength to what so many of our cherished 00 m- mades have undergone during the last few months. Around the above case are several unusual and rather remarkable circumstances, which deserve publicity and enquiry. A few points of •! interest can briefly be stated. At the Local Tribunal Gale was granted non-combatant ser- vice. This, of course, not being satisfactory, the usual appeal was made to the Appeal Tribunal. J A reply made there in response to a question is worthy of note. The applicant was asked was he a Socialist. "Well, no," he replied, I am getting beyond that, I am what you may term a budding Anarchist." This aroused laughter, but that response is very suggestive. in these times of oppression and persecution. The forcing ground of Conscription will be pro- ductive of many rebellious spirits, whose ex- istence will be made evident, without doubt, in the future. To get back to the main facts of the ease,\ Gale's position and attitude towards military service must be mentioned. At the Police Court r trial at Ebbw Vale he said he believed he was 4 the first member of the Miners' Federation to be arrested. It must be remembered he is a .r,.)Iliei-y stoker, and a Federationist. At his col- tjtery unattested men were asked to sign for 'he Company to appeal for them, but Tom would not do so. He said, You can do what you like but I am having nothing to do with it o-nwith military service. I shall maintain my own appeal on Conscience grounds." Whether or not the company did actually appeal for him is not known. Apparently they did not. Any- how, there seems proof that in other plaoes all colliery workers have been exempted without regard to their personal views or claim. Gale was as indispensable as any other man at the colliery. To show how difficult it was to allow him to be taken, it must be told that four times he has been called up—May 18, May N 31, June 5 and June 19. Each time he has I;' gone on working, and by some arrangement or other his employers had had his notice post- poned. Subsequently he was arrested at work, and the subsequent development have proved that lie was a man that could ill be spared.

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