On 28 February 1916 George Waugh Junior appeared for a local tribunal and asked for total exemption stating: “I apply for absolute exemption from every kind of military service. I cannot agree to my present employment being made a condition of exemption as that would be saying that I was assisting a nation when carrying on war”. I hold that the almighty God has made all humanity and that he alone is justified in destroying it and that I would not be doing right in destroying or assisting to destroy the body of man under any condition. I understand that it is a solemn responsibility to refuse to do the requirements of the state and I shall refuse whatever the consequence may be. In refusing to do the service required by me of the state in war time I am not against the country real interests, surely it is possible to help the country without doing injury to another. I believe the service in this sense is the oath of every citizen but protest against any attempt to make me part of the military machine of force by force. I believe the human body is the temple of God in some degree or less and that therefore no member of the human race should take an oath which has to do with the destruction of the human body.” The tribunal granted him exemption, but the military representative appealed stating that “he is engaged in war service with a company doing war work and his objection are unreasonable”.
On 28 March 1916 the appeal tribunal granted him exemption from combatant service only.
He was refused permission to appeal to the central tribunal and he wrote various letters asking for an explanation: “ My case is a real conscientious objection and under the military service act I am entitled to absolute exemption, I ask you to reconsider my case and give me leave to appeal to the central tribunal.”
On 20 May 1916 he was court martialled in Hamilton and sentenced to serve six months detention, then commuted to three months. On 11 September 1916 he joined the Army Reserve Class W. On 2 January 1917 he was re-called, but he deserted. He re-joined the unit on 7 April 1917. On 24 April 19167 he was court martialled in Edinburgh and sentenced to six months. He was recorded as being at home between May 1916 and November 1919.