UK Adventists and WWI Tribunals

Victor Hulbert, communication director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the UK and Ireland, has posted a short article about the role of tribunals for WWI recruits. Hulbert explains:

Approximately 130 Seventh-day Adventist young men were conscripted between 1916 and 1918, some serving in Non-combatant corps, others spending time in prisons or work centres across the country. A generally pacifist religion, Adventists held strongly to the principles of the 10 commandments, including the 6th, “Thou shalt not kill”. They were believers in civil and religious liberty but could be described as ‘conscientious co-operators’ rather than absolute objectors to the country’s conduct in war.

Hulbert shares that “The tribunals generally respected their refusal to bear arms – but that was the only exemption.”

William George Chappell worked selling Christian literature. He was called to a tribunal in Brynmawr, South Wales on 25 March 1916. In his notice of appeal he stated that “as I am a Seventh-day Adventist [I] am opposed to war.” Noting Bible verses that supported a pacifist stance he stated that he felt it more important for him to ‘go preach the Gospel’ than to be involved in the war.

The tribunal disagreed stating that his work was ‘not of national importance’ and only exempting him from combatant service.

Read the entire article at Everyday Lives in War.

Photo: “Adventist Conscientious Objectors in Dartmoor Prison.” Posted by Victor Hulbert at Everyday Lives in War.