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Military Tribunals – Walter STEWART

Market gardener

First Hearing

Date of Hearing
14 Mar 1916
Case for exemption
Walter Stewart’s appeal was heard after that of his brother, William. The younger brother appeared in the role of conscientious objector. Among his stated reasons, he stated that he was opposed to all wars as contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ. Questioned, he proceeded to state his views at length. He said he was opposed to all war as all wars were contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ in the New Testament and he could not be involved in taking up arms and assisting to send millions of lives to eternity before their time. He did not believe in war. The proceedings of the tribunal were reported verbatim. The Chairman: “Do you believe in the Old and New Testament?” Applicant: “I believe that when Jesus Christ came He gave us a new dispensation. My principles are based on the New Testament and not on the Old Testament and I take the New Testament as a guide.” The Military Representative: “Are you a Quaker?” Applicant: “Yes.” The Military Representative: “I have a great respect for Quakers, although I don’t believe in their views. Do you know the verse in the Bible that ‘he you love chasteneth’? Why not chasten the Germans?” Applicant: “I don’t quite see your meaning.” The Military Representative: “You know that you are indirectly prosecuting the war; if you grow feeding stuff for the soldiers you are helping the war. You won’t object to going into the RAMC?” Applicant: “Yes. The point is made in my own manner. I cannot conscientiously go and undertake a thing that is contrary to my religious belief.” Further questioned, Stewart said that he did not speak for his brother, adding “it is a serious position I am placed in today.” Mr Cope: “We are expected to love our enemies. Do you expect us to love the Germans at the present time?” Applicant: “Yes. We are asked to forgive.” Mr Cope: “I’m afraid it would not be reciprocated.” The Chairman: “What if they came over your house and dropped a bomb?” Walter Stewart’s answer was not plainly heard. In reply to Mr A R Williams he said he objected to helping to produce ammunition and to home defence just as much as foreign service. He would be trained and equal to others if the necessity arose. The Military Representative: “Is your brother a Quaker?” Applicant: “No; we should have been on a par had he been.” The Military Representative: “What do you mean on a par?” Applicant: “Equal.” The Military Representative: “Meaning that he is inferior to you?” Applicant: “I did not say so.” Mr Williams: “Have you had this conscientious objection since the war started?” Applicant: “No; I have had it for twelve years."
Outcome of appeal
Exemption - total
Journal Date
18 Mar 1916

Other Information

Final Outcome
Exempted from military service