woundwort, on 06 April 2012 - 09:42 AM, said:
I wonder how much of this was due to the dynamic of the protest organisers, having lost sons, brothers, fathers, now seeing McClements not only return unscathed but resume a position of social respectability. I don't have a personal copy of VitW (it's good for local information, but is in serious need of a contents/index system), and don't recall what he did in the Non-Combatant Corps, or did he go for anything like stretcher bearer?
Yet, clearly his request was approved. There's another account from VitW of a tailor's assistant from Lybster, whose request was rejected, despite defences from other members of the community. Given that his petition was made at the start of war, this'll go back to my wondering if McClements met with such levels of vituperation in part due to his attackers' grief.
As a man allowed by his Military Service Tribunal exemption only to the extent of being enlisted in the Non-Combatant Corps, McClements would have had no further choice in what he did than to accept the work allocated to the Corps, usually heavy manual work, road and railway laying and repairing, transporting stores etc. As to medical assistance, the Army, in its infinite wisdom, deemed it unnecessary to take advantage of offers. Alfred Evans was a case in point: he asked his Tribunal to allocate him to the RAMC. The Tribunal had no power so to allocate, but recommended him as a non-combatant to the RAMC. The Army ordered him to the NCC, which Evans refused, so he ended up being improperly shipped to France, court-martialled and sentenced to death, finally reprieved and spending the rest of the war in prison. So much for the wise use of manpower.
I am puzzled by the account of the tailor's assistant from Lybster, whose "petition" (I assume "application" is meant) is said to have been made "at the start of the war", i.e, 1914. But as conscription was not instituted until 1916, how could any apllication for exemption be made in 1914? It is also said that "defences" were made by other members of the community. As applicants, by definition, were not defendants, where did the "defences" come in? Some clarification would clearly be useful, and if the name of the applicant were disclosed, this would help in verifying the facts.