1917 court: Conscripts face court over exemption cases

editorial image

The Scarborough Tribunal sat at the Town Hall. Dr Everley Taylor presided at the outset. Several cases were dealt with.

An assistant tripe dresser, 18, the last of four sons, employed by his father, class 2, which was said to correspond to category B1 and C1, was refused exemption, not to be called up before January 28th.

A male attendant until recently at a retreat, 18, appeared on grounds of conscientious objection.

The mayor said the tribunal recognised the claims to conscientious objection. There would be the obligation on appellant’s part to engage in work of national importance.

The managing partner in a printing establishment, 34, A1, whose case had been adjourned for some effort to secure a substitute being made, was granted a further three months temporary exemption.

No other point of special interest arose during the sitting.

In the evening, when the mayor (Mr CC Graham) presided, 12 cases were down for hearing, nine of these being butchers. In the cases of the butchers a solicitor stated that on July 27th the cases of seven men were brought forward, and at that time the tribunal expressed the opinion that during the busy time of the year they were satisfied there was not reasonable ground to reduce the number of businesses.

But they suggested that some plan of co-operation after the busy time might be decided upon, and they asked the Butchers’ Association to give careful consideration to some scheme whereby some men could be spared for the army.

Six years ago at Scarborough there were 50 master butchers without taking into account company shops. The number at the beginning of the war was 43. The number at present was 39, of whom 12 were of military age.

Of the six company shops in the town at the commencement of the war, all except two were now closed. Since the commencement of the war 79 journeymen and seven masters had joined the forces, and exclusive of two discharged soldiers and a public slaughterman, there were now only four journeymen of military age.

The percentage of butchers who had joined at Scarborough was 67 per cent. Of the seven master butchers who had joined up at Scarborough only two had partners, five shops really having closed.

The mayor pointed out that the population of Scarborough was now about 25 per cent less than at the beginning of the war, and thus the town, with 39 shops was better supplied.

The solicitor appearing replied that the shops had been greatly lessened in staff. Out of 74 assistants of military age, all but four were with the forces.

Mr R Richardson, on behalf of the Butchers’ Association, said the latter had honestly considered the matter of cooperation, but it was impossible with the depleted staffs.

The trade at Scarborough was hard to work, much more than a working class trade, there being much “carrying out” at Scarborough. With any influx of visitors the shops at present could not cope with it.

The mayor asked if compulsory rationing came in would it affect the matter, and Mr Richardson, who had explained there was considerable work under the Meat Order, replied that his experience was that when the Government took anything in hand it meant more work (laughter).

The mayor said the tribunal were certainly of the opinion that this was one of the necessary trades of the town, and one which it interfered with, the greatest care must be exercised. They expected to have some information very shortly as to methods in which one-man businesses had been treated in other parts of the country.

That might, or might not, bear upon the position in Scarborough, but the tribunal preferred, before taking action, to await that information.

Also there was the possible question of compulsory rationing which might have an effect upon the question. Under the circumstances the tribunal had decided to give temporary exemption, to all the cases, for three months.