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h Conscientious Objectors' Heard by Brecon Tribunal. I THEOLOGICAL STUDENTS' CLAIMS. I A LIVELY INTERROGATION. There was a crowded attendance of the public at the Brecon Borough Tribunal, which was held at the Town Hall on Thursday evening. Chief interest appeared to lay in the cases of a number of claims under the conscientious objection clause of the Act, and the Mayor, when these cases came on, asked the public to keep their opinions until they got outside and not express them there by applause or exclamation. The Tribunal have given you the privilege of being present said the Mayor, a privilege which some other Tribunals have not granted, and, therefore, I hope you will respect it. (Hear, hear.) The members of the Tribunal were the Mayor, 'Messrs. James Morgan, T. E. Trew, John Davies ,and Edwin Davies. with Mr G. Hyatt Williams (clerk), Mr Best was the military representa- iiTCi, < Matheinatical Masted A mathematical master at Christ College, who claimed on the ground that no substitute could be Sand to take 1m place and &190 on conscientious ,aKi it was extremely difficult at pre- S to find a substitute; the headmaster had tried and fwas tin? mathematical master I trying. work of the sch001, and a3pre^ boys for the Army ex- ?m?tion to be heldm the eummer, and ms »(. xeady replacing a master who was now in the 'Army. With regard to his conscientious ob- jection, he based-bis belief on the sanctity of buman life, and he believed that an inter- national war, however just its claims, could not achieve its des Ired end. The Mayor Don't you think that is very in- consistent since you are receiving pay for pre- paring boys for the Army? Applicant said the Mayor s Objecti<ku would b,- justified if he were doing nothing else but pre- paring boys for the Army; but when boys were in & school which was not carried on simply to send boys to the Army, it seemed very difficult for tifei to refuse to train them when it was their own special wish. If be were doing nothing else but preparing them for the Army, the Mayor a ob- jection would be justifiable. He was a mathe- matical master, and boys came to him who wished to join the Army, and if he were to refuse to help them in that aim. to a certain extent he would come under the Defence of the Realm Act be would be hindering recruiting. The Mayor (to Mr Best) Do you wish to ask him any questions? Mr Beet I don't think it is worth it. In a sense, if he is preparing boys for the Army there cannot be much conscientious objection about it. The Mayor The unanimous opinion of the Tribunal is that the appeal is not assented to. Applicant Can I make an appeal? The Clerk Yes. if you make it within three davs. I Trefecca Student. F. T. Davies (Brecon), a student of Trefecca College was a conscientious objector on religious grounds. He had been at Trefecca two years, and out of 38 students there were now about six or seven remaining as supply ministers to the dis- trict. Replying to Mr Best, applicant said he might be in college another three years. He was prac- tically at the commencement of his career. There was one other member of his family serving in the Territorials. You really desire to be exempt from all service to your country ?—From all military service. If there is any service I can do which is not directly or indirectly connected with military service I will do it. He could notdlStmguish between non-combatant and combatant service. Do you drink tea.?- Yes. Don't you think it is against your conscience to help to pay for the war with the taxes on the tea?—It is one thing to serve the country through the necessities of life and through civil circum- stances. Do you think when you drink a cup of tea that you are helping to pay the taxes which are paying for this war?—I am conscious of this war. Has it ever occurred to you to give up tea?- No, it has not. Do you eat bread?—Yes. I suppose you know that the bread consumed in this country partly consists of foreign wheat or flour, and in order that that might come in to this country it has to be protected by our fleet?- Yes. Are you willing to accept that protection and to get your bread at the expense of the lives of men without giving anything in return for your f country ?—I am willing to give return in this way so long as mv work will be for the preserva- tion of life and not for its destruction. You are quite willing that other people should sacrifice their lives in order to keep you alive? (Applause.)—I don't look at the question in that way. You know what Daniel did. He did without those things which he thought was wrong for him to take, May I commend that to your notice. If you have a conscientious objection to in any way serve except in your own way, you should do without those things for which you pay to keep up the war. Applicant I am following the new dispen- sation. I am following as close as I can Christ's teaching. Mr Best I am offering you a suggestion that you can follow that, but at your own expense. The Mayor The decision is no exemption in this case. (Applause.) Applicant Under the leaflet issued Iby the Army Council I find that I am free from mili- tary work. The Mayor We decide not. The leaflet mentioned by applicant had refer- ence to a list of theological students who "may be" excepted from the provisions of the Act, if they so desired. Memorial College Students. Richard Oswald Davies, of the Brecon (Memorial College, aged 26 years, said he had been in col- lege three years. He applied on conscientious grounds, but he had knowledge that there were certain instructions 'from the War Office pertain- ing to theological students, and he was aware that he was excepted under a clause there. The Clerk There are permissive instructions to the Tribunal—the undermentioned students "may be" excepted. Applicant May I ask the Tribunal if I may be excepted under that clause? The Clerk You wish to withdraw your con- scientious objection and apply under that clause? Applicant No, but I was not aware of these instructions when I filled my form and sent it in. (To the Mayor) I am in my last year but one at the college. Answering Mr Best, applicant said he did not aba a don any of the grounds he put in his form for exception. He would be content to take ex- emption under this Army Order. Your conscientious objection does -not arise so far as that is concerned?—There is no need to bring forward a conscientious objection if ex- emption is granted under that Order. But this is an Army Order, not a civil order?- I cannot see there is any need to bring forward anything I put down in my form if I understand I may be excepted according to these military instructions. I understand that although you object to war, or participation in war in any shape or foim, you are quite willing to be exempted under a Military Order?—Yes, because I know this Order has not OOGn issued strictly on military grounds. Further questioned, applicant was understood to say he was willing to be dealt with under that Order. He understood that it did not limit the Uribunal from making exemption conditional on his taking up some other work. Are you really determined ,in your mind to do nothing to help your country in this war except that which you yourself are settled upon?—Yes. You heard the questions I put to Mr Davies about the consumption of those things which pay the taxes towards the support of the war, and also the consumption of bread, which is only pos- sible by the risk of the lives of men, what are your views on that?-In the first place I am ask- ing for-- Do you think it right that the bread supply of this country should be protected by our Navy?— I simply stand on the same beliel- ,Say "yes" or "no." It is simply a question of is it right or is it wrong?—I cannot answer that. Are you content to take that bread, brought at the price of other men's blood, and yet hold your conscientious objections?—The only thing I can say is that they are privileges which, in a sense, I cannot help. You know the story of Daniel? Are you pre- pared to do the same?—No. Prepared to give up drinking tea?—No, that is one of the things I have got to take involun- tariiy. Isn 't this an involuntary Act? Isn't it dictat- ed by the nation that you should serve in some form? Why can't you take that involuntarily?— Because it has to do with my conscience. Your conscience allows you to contribute to the Stat-e for the purposes of the war, but it does not allow you to help a wounded man?—Well, that is in a sense much more voluntary than the other. Which is? Taking tea?—It is part of my food. You need not take tea?—It is almost indispen- sable in this country. What did they do before they had tea in this country?—They drank something else. (Laugh- ter.) Principal Lewis here asked the Mayor if he would allow him to ask a question. The Mayor Not at present, you shall have an opportunity. "Prolonging the Agony." I Levi John Evans, another student, said he iud been seven years at the college. Mr Best I don't want to prolong the agony, so to speak, you heard the questions. Do you agree with the previous applicants' answers?- I agree with the spirit of the answers. You substantially agree?—Yes. Edward Morris Jones and Geo. Lewis, other students, also claimed on the same grounds and I said they agreed generally with the answers given to Mr Best. Mr Best's Interpretations. I R. E. Jenkins, another studtnt, replying to Mr Best, said he did# not agree with Mr Best's inter- pretation of the answers given. "One thing you assume," said applicant, "is that a man is not willing to help a wounded man." Mr Best I asked him if he were. Applicant Well, if you asked me that, question I could not agree with the answer you assume. That is, a man is quite willing to help a wounded man, but he is unwilling to help him in the way in which the army is required to do so. We are prepared to do any remedial work in so far as it is consistent with our principle. Mr Best Tell us plainly how are you prepared to help the wounded?—I have already been work- ing with the Y.M.C.A. and I think that work is regarded by the Army as helpful to a man either in or out of the army. I ask you a plain question—you say you object to my interpretation of the answers given.—I ask you how are you prepared to helpsthe wounded?— In the way in which I should find in the sphere of the Christian ministry. You wouldn't take any practical part in help- ing, only in preaching to them?—I would use all my efforts to do any remedial work I had in my power to do—but not work that means the further- ance of the war. You would not be prepared to carry them on a stretcher?—Not in connection with the Army. You are not prepared to help the wounded of the Army by even helping to carry a stretcher?— Nothing so far as- Mr Best (sitting down) Oh thank you, thank you D. J. Davies and Gomer Davies said they ag- reed with the answers given by the others. I Over Again. Oswald J. Francis in reply to Mr Best as to whether he agreed said, "I should like you to ask, them again." (Laughter.) Mr Best concluded several questions to applicant with "You 'are one of those people who don't like doing that which other people tell you?—It is a question of God's voice in the human heart which I cannot gainsay. The last applicant, David Price, said he agreed substantially with the answers given by the others. I Principal Lewis. Principal Lewis obtained the Mayor's permis- sion to ask a. question, and after being told that speeches were not allowed said You have here an Army Council instruction. The question I want to ask is this whether you are of opinion that the interpretation which you have given to the clause marked 1 is the only interpretation pos- sible, or is the probable interpretation. The Mayor Have you any further question? Principal Lewis Only under that clause. The Mayor I would not give you the answer to that at present. Principal Lewis Am I allowed to make any remarks with regard to the applications which have come before you. They will be explanatory remarks. The Mayor assented. Principal Lewis said it was with regard to the stage which these students had reached in their training for the ministry. As a rule their course extended for six years. They spent three years in their arts course and three years studying theo- logy. All the men of their first year had enlist- ed with the exception of two; all the men in their second year had gone: all in their third year had gone with the exception of one. Those three were in Cardiff. All the men in their fourth year had gone. They had before them to-night, nine students who were in their last year or last year but one. The next question he would ask was whether these applicants did not come under "D" of the Army Council Instruction, and whether, if they did they were not really excepted according to the regulation? In other words whether they are not in the same category as clergymen and ministers of religion, who are outside the Military Service Act altogether? I Tribunal's Decision. The members of the Tribunal then retired and upon returning, The Mayor said the majority of the Tribunal had decided not to assent to the applications. (Ap- plause from the public which the Mayor immed- iately rebuked, reminding the audience that he had previously asked them not to express their opinion.) Town Clerk and Principal. I Principal Lewis May I be allowed to repeat my question which I think you said you would answer. And will you allow me to ask one or two more ? The Mayor The Tribunal have decided that I am not to answer any questions. Principal Lewis And I am not allowed to ask any question? The Clerk The application is not assented to and you have a right to appeal within three days fronr now. The Clerk here rose to leave the court saying "The court is finished. You are not here as an applicant." (A laugh.) Principal Lewis It may be very smart but hardly courteous on the part of the Town Clerk to answer me in that way. The Clerk I do not think so. Why didn't you oome here as an applicant on behalf of the stud- ents yourself ? The inlay*r I should certainly answer your questions if I were allowed to. but the decision of the Tribunal is that no questions ought to have been allowed. Principal Lewis Then I am to understand from the Town Clerk, who has gone, that we are al- lowed to make an appeal within three days. The Mayor That is so. Principal Lewis I think a great deal of trouble would have been spared if it had been made un- necessary to appeal. I wanted to ask a question on the interpretation of the Order, and I am sorry that the Town Clerk is not there to answer it. The court then closed. Other appeals will be f.nd in another column.

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