Tuesday, 14 February 2017

“The Appeal Tribunal have decided that the appeal be dismissed” ....... February 28 1917

The Appeal Tribunal was one of the many held regularly across the country during the Great War to determine whether a conscripted man had a case to be exempted from call up.

"the appeal be dismissed"... 1917
Now I have written in detail about these tribunals in Manchester Remembering 1914-18.*

“There are many detailed accounts of tribunal hearings ranging from press reports to the memoirs of those who appeared before them.  

Writing in 1920 John Graham whose book remains a good history of the movement wrote that 'there was little uniformity in the practice of the Tribunals.  The Local Tribunal in Liverpool was hopelessly tyrannical, the one in Manchester was judicial and reasonable.' 


Often in response to a prepared statement outlining his opposition on religious or humanitarian  grounds questioning revolved around the simple question of what would the objector do if faced with a German invasion and worse still an attack on his own family.

In many cases the members of the tribunals were both abrupt and unsympathetic to arguments of principle and quite scathing and dismissive in their comments.  In response to the arguments of one objector the Chairman of the Manchester Appeals Tribunal commented “it is ..... [about] doing your duty.  It is your duty to take part in the defence of your country and the public law of Europe.”

But not all the appeals were from conscientious objectors.  Employers also appeared on behalf of employees who they judged were essential to their business and along with these were individuals making out a personal case.”**

Travel pass, 1917
Now I don’t yet know the grounds upon which Albert Edward Dawson made his appeal or why it was turned down, but the Tribunal having dismissed the appeal  instructed him to “report on April 30 1917” and by July he was in Egypt.

The letter containing the news along with a number of travel passes giving permission for Private Dawson to travel to Alexandria by train have just been acquired by David Harrop who supplied much of the memorabilia that features in the book.

As yet Private Dawson still sits in the shadows.  I know he served in the Army Service Corps and was awarded the Allied Military Medal and Victory Medal.

Tonge Street, 1894
It is likely that he was born in 1899 and spent some of his early years at 16 Tong Street in Ancoats which was a four roomed property which long ago vanished although for the very interested it is possible to stand on the spot by turning off Merril Street on to Frost Street and gazing across the open ground.

Back in 1911 number 16 along with the other residential properties didn’t even warrant a mention in the street directory and the compilers recording only the presence of the Holt Town Ragged School and Mission Church.

Private Dawson’s father was Robert H Dawson who in 1901 was a “general carter.”

And that is pretty much it for now, but I remain very confident that we will uncover more about Private Dawson but for now will be happy to look at the original documents which David will be exhibiting along with other memorabilia at the book launch for Manchester Remembering 1914-18 which will be at Central Ref on Saturday February 18 between 1 and 4.30pm.

Pictures; documents relating to Private Dawson, 1917 from the collection of David Harrop, detail showing Tonge Street, Ardwick, 1994 from the OS map of South Lancashire, courtesy of Digital Archives Association, http://digitalarchives.co.uk/




Manchester Remembering 1914-18 by Andrew Simpson was published by the History Press in February 2017

Order now from the History Press, http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/publication/great-war-britain-manchester-remembering-1914-18/9780750978965/ or Chorlton Book Shop,info@chorltonbookshop.co.uk 0161 881 6374

*A new book on Manchester and the Great War http://chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/A%20new%20book%20on%20Manchester%20and%20the%20Great%20War

**ibid, Manchester Remembering 1914-18 page 81

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