Letter from F. C. Crowther outlining his position as an internationalist, June 9th 1916

Item type: Letter Date: 1916 Description: Letter from a conscientious objector, F.C. Crowther, requesting a witness to speak on his behalf at his tribunal hearing. During the early years of World War I the British Army was made up of volunteers. By 1916 the heavy losses being suffered made it clear to the government that more men would be needed. Consequently, on January 27th 1916 the Military Service Act was introduced. This made it law for all single men between the ages of 18 and 41 to join the armed forces. The act was further extended to include married men in May 1916. Many of those who held religious, political or humanitarian beliefs that killing was wrong refused to fight. These men were known as ‘conscientious objectors’, or ‘COs’ for short. Under the new act objectors had to appear at a tribunal which would decide whether or not they could be excused military service. The objector was allowed to make a speech in front of the tribunal, setting out his case. He would then be allowed to call witnesses on his behalf and to question any witnesses brought against him.

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