Conscription was introduced in January 1916 for single men aged 16-41. A few months later married men were also included.Men who were called up for service could appeal to a Local Military Tribunal. Tribunals were held at town level and also at county level. Reasons for appeal included ill health, hardship, moral or religious grounds or if they were already doing important war work. Men who appealed on moral or religious reasons were known as Conscientious Objectors (Conchies or COs).
16,000 men registered as conscientious objectors in Britain between 1916 and 1918 when conscription was introduced. Men who were called up were automatically considered to be enlisted, therefore when they refused the charge stated “when on active service they disobeyed a lawful order from a superior officer”. This usually resulted in a prison sentence.
In the Queensferry area one man applied for exemption on these grounds, he was a Salvation Army Officer. He was refused at first but by 1917 he was granted an exemption. Many COs who refused to fight but weren’t sent to prison were usually sent to work camps in various parts of the country.