George Bellingall Scott

On 29 February 1916, George Scott applied for total exemption, stating: “I conscientiously object to destroying, or taking any part in the destruction of God’s greatest work, man. I cannot inflict death upon my fellows because I hold that war is inconsistent with the teaching of Christ, and because I believe in the fatherhood of God over all men. I will not destroy that which God has created.”

On 10 April he was denied exemption and he appealed: “Despite the decision of the Local Tribunal I am still a Conscientious Objector. The point which influenced the Local Tribunal most, to come to the decision arrived at, was the fact that I was a member of the No Conscription Fellowship. They held that this organisation was of political nature and being political I had no legal grounds for exemption. May I inform you that the no conscription fellowship is not formed on political grounds at all but is open for enrolment to any and every one who has conscientious objections, whether religious or moral, to military service. Now, Sirs, whether you agree with them or not on this point I consider I should have a fair hearing as an individual Conscientious Objector and not to take into account what organisations I belong to, on which fact the Local Tribunal made their decision. Secondly, the Military Representative made the statement that I did not make these objections to the Canvasser under the Derby Scheme. This is a deliberate untruth and the members of the Tribunal accepted his statement. I am prepared to contradict and prove to you in the presence of the Canvasser that I did forward those objections. Finally, I refuse to believe that any body of men could come to a just decision in such a very important matter s deciding whether I have a real conscientious objection or not since I was only before them a few – a very few- minutes, only asking some tribunal questions and not giving me the opportunity of making a statement in defence of my case. With these points in view it is clear that the decision of the Local Tribunal cannot stand and the only just decision is absolute exemption.” The appeal was dismissed. He refused to serve. He was court martialled and sentenced to imprisonment.