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OBJECTING TO WAR
FIRST CO TO DIE
2 EUROPE GOES TO WAR
3 COUNTDOWN TO CONSCRIPTION
4 FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE IN SOCIETY
5 NO CONSCRIPTION FELLOWSHIP
6 THE SECRET PRESS
7 MANY TRADITIONS
8 THE TRIBUNALS
9 TRANSCRIPTS
10 THE 'won't-fight-funks'
11 THE COST OF CONSCIENCE
12 UNWILLING SOLDIERS
13 ALTERNATIVES AND DILEMMAS
14 PRISON
15 THE MEN SENTENCED TO DEATH
16 COERCION FAILS
17 DYCE
18 DARTMOOR
19 THEY WORK IN OVERCOATS
20 THE MEN WHO DIED
21 WINDING DOWN
21 SELECTION OF BOOKS
22 FROM CALL UP TO DISCHARGE


WHY WAR? supplement

Tribunal records are few and fragmentary. The description of the tribunal, its participants and arguments here are based on contemporary records.


part one
 - questions begin
 - the case of E. Draper
 - questions
 - books
 - note on narrative

 sample documents
 
- tribunal transcript
 - application for exemption
 - exemption certificate
 - statement
 - further appeal
 - charge sheet
 - discharge
  
 
also
   Jack's story through
   original documents

THE CASE OF EDWARD DRAPER


'Edward Draper - 'Fielding began, but was interrupted. The moment he said the name, there were loud cheers and applause from the listening crowd. Some of them shouted words of encouragement to Draper, who looked back over his shoulder, smiling, as he approached the Tribunal table.

'- 27 years of age, skilled textile worker, 18 Palmerston Road, Oldtown.' finished Fielding as the noise subsided.

'We know who he is!' called a man in the crowd.

'You listen to him!' cried another.

The Colonel spoke low and urgently. 'Mr Chairman, the room must be cleared of these people at once! This is clearly an orchestrated disruption of the Tribunal. It's outrageous.'

'We shall have to hear this case in private,' Harold Hartley agreed.

William North looked important. He had been confident there would be trouble. 'The police have been sent for. I got a message to the Chief Constable earlier.' The other Tribunal members eyed him doubtfully, but nodded or pursed their lips in grave approval. One of them pointed to the back of the conference room, where, sure enough, several uniformed constables had appeared.

The crowd had spotted them too, and began shouting.

'A trial in private is not a fair trial!'

'Free speech!'

'Free speech for the people!'

'As citizens we have a right to hear.'

'And to speak if we have to!'

Owen Sedley spoke to Bradfield: 'It is quite likely that Mr Draper has no connection with these people. Perhaps we should let him state his position.'

Edward Draper heard him. 'I'm as surprised as you are by this demonstration. But I think I can explain it. One of the reasons I'm widely known at my place of work and throughout Oldtown is that I've expressed a strong anti-war attitude in peacetime as well as war, indeed since I was fourteen years old. Perhaps if you let me speak to these people - '

Colonel Gordon said contemptuously, 'They won't listen to you!'

He spoke more loudly than he meant to, and the crowd spoke back.

'Yes we will!'

'We think highly of Draper, you know.'

'Yes, more than we do of this Tribunal!'

Owen Sedley stood up and signed to them for silence. 'You aren't making it any easier for Mr Draper with these remarks. He'll tell you so himself.'

Turning towards the crowd, Draper said earnestly, 'Women and men, I appeal to you to make no further demonstrations while my case is heard. If I get no justice, it doesn't matter - I'm just one man, representing the pacifist beliefs of many men as well as myself. I want fair play and no favours. Will you help? It's important that I'm heard in public.'

There were murmurs of agreement.

James Bradfield looked at the crowd, frowning. 'Be warned,' he told them. 'The slightest disturbance and the police outside will remove you.'

Then he turned to Draper. 'Now, Mr Draper, can you prove that you have been, as you put it in your written statement, "opposed to militarism" for more than a few convenient months?'

'Yes,' said Draper with complete confidence. 'I can call on a number of women and men who have heard me express that view, and my belief in the sacredness of human life, for more than a decade.'

Hartley leaned forward and spoke with real concern. 'Doesn't it trouble you that by refusing to fight you are sheltering behind the brave men who are fighting for your country?'

'In that sense I have no country. My country is the community of workers, wherever they are. I work for the economic and moral betterment of humanity, anywhere.'

'Including Germany?' asked North, with emphasis.

'Yes,' said Draper. Some of the Tribunal gasped.

'Well, you'd better go there, then,' said Colonel Gordon petulantly.

Draper glanced at him, then looked away. 'I would be no worse off there than I am here. Wherever I am, I work to persuade the people that war is never the way to settle disputes.'

North spoke as one who knew best. 'Oh, they might pretend to go along with you in time of peace, but when their blood is up, only force will do.'

'You can never defeat militarism with militarism,' Draper said. 'Meanwhile, the interests of the workers of England and the workers of Germany are the same, and I will not march against the workers anywhere.'

'Non-combatant service, then,' said Harold Hartley to the Chairman.

Draper spoke fast. 'Certainly not. Non-combatant service is still military service. I object not only to killing but also to manufacturing the ammunition and weapons to do it.'

The Colonel stared at him incredulously. 'But in heaven's name, man, the Germans are fighting against England!'

'They are not fighting against me,' said Draper simply.

Hartley said, gently, as if explaining to a child, 'You're an Englishman - of course they are!'

Edward Draper looked at him without expression. 'I don't think my name has been mentioned in the German Parliament.'

Any reply was drowned by laughter and applause from the crowd.

The Chairman got up and signalled to his colleagues that they should rise: this case needed private discussion in another room, not their usual rapid whispered exchange at the table.

In an anteroom next to the lavatories they perched on small hard chairs, all talking at once until Bradfield held up a hand for silence. Then he looked enquiringly at Sedley, who said, 'I think he has made out a good case.'

North would have none of that. 'Oh, he talks well, but his ideas are alien and crackpot. They could never work in practice. Any fool can see that.'

'He would say they can work when enough people believe in them,' said Sedley.

The Chairman spoke before North could reply. 'Well, one way and another Mr Draper has taken up a good deal more of our time than we normally allow. I think we have a majority vote that in the light of his evident sincerity we grant a two-month temporary exemption?'

'Yes, I support that,' said Hartley at once.

North said grudgingly, 'I suppose so - two months isn't long. He would have made an excellent officer, don't you think, Colonel Gordon? It's a dreadful waste of a good man. Still, in two months he will come under military control. He might be licked into shape yet.'

'Of course not,' said Owen Sedley impatiently. 'He won't fight, and he won't accept non-combatant status.'

The Colonel was genuinely astonished. 'These men are really quite insane. Doesn't he realise what he's passing up? As a non-combatant he could have an army rank, army pay, and government allowance for any dependants. And on top of that the coward's dream: the knowledge that he would never be asked to fight on the front line.'

Sedley spoke quietly. 'I think, Colonel, he is fighting on a front line of his own, and I for one respect that.'

Bradfield had been listening in silence. Now he stood up. 'In a way it is we who are taking the coward's way out. We are granting him a temporary exemption, and he will appeal against it in favour of the absolute exemption we have refused. The Appeals Tribunal will turn him down and give him enforced non-combatant status. He will reject that too, and face military discipline and prison. He knows it. We know it. And what help is all this to the war?'

Sedley said, 'I remember another objector saying that non-combatant service was like trying to stop a boat sinking by baling the water out instead of plugging the hole that was letting it in. "The only way to save life," he said, "is to stop the war." It has a certain logic, don't you think? I believe Edward Draper when he speaks of working for the interests of humanity.'

Abruptly Colonel Gordon stood up, knocking his chair over, and said intensely, 'The whole war is in the interests of humanity!'

James Bradfield, still thoughtful, looked at them all in turn. Then he said, 'We can scarcely disagree, however, that interests of humanity are best served by peace. It so happens that most of us believe that to preserve peace we must be prepared for war. Draper does not. But it is peace we want, and I am now going out to tell him that and wish him luck. Which of you will support me in that?'

And he went out without waiting for an answer.

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