Harry Ockrent, tailor

On 28 February 1916, Harry Ockrent applied for total exemption, stating: “I have always regarded life as something sacred and supreme which ought to be preserved and not destroyed. Paramount to all practical considerations Is to me the sacredness of human life. Were to take human life under any circumstances either in the name of my country or as a means to further my private interests, I would regard as a murder, therefore I cannot under any circumstances take part as a combatant whereby I should be called upon to destroy human life. My conscientious objection to taking human life is clear and irrevocable and cannot be over called by any act of parliament”.

On 13 March, he was denied exemption. He appealed, but the appeal was dismissed. In a separate statement, he wrote: “The local tribunal made practically no effort to discover the genuineness of my conscientious convictions, and I received a very unfair hearing, if the conscience clause in the military service act is not a “scrap of paper” then you must grant me absolute exemption. This is my unalterable position, and no power on Earth can compel me to abandon my neutrality.”