Cotterill, Henry Frank

He was 20 in 1916

Hughenden House, Cassella Road, New Cross.

Henry was married and worked as a clerk. His brother Leslie Gordon Cotterill who was also a conscientious objector is shown living at the same address in the 1911 census, together with their parents Henry and Ellen.

He was a member of the Dulwich Branch of the No-Conscription Fellowship and a Quaker.

Conscientious Objection during the First World War
Henry was arrested in Amersham Vale on on 10 July, 1916 as an absentee who had failed to report to his regiment, and was tried at Greenwich Police Court. His appearance before the Magistrates was reported in the Kentish Mercury on July 14, 1916. He refused to plead guilty to falling to attend because he said had been before the tribunal without result. Henry said he was willing to serve in a civilian capacity but was told he was wanted in a military capacity. He was fined 40 shillings or 21 days in gaol. When he said he would take the 21 days he was told "no you won't it will be taken out of your pay." He was handed over to the 10th London Regiment and court martialled at Hurdcott Camp on 24 July, 1916 where he was sentenced to 6 months hard labour commuted to 112 days to be served at Winchester County Prison.

He was found to be a genuine conscientious objector (Class A) at the Military Service Central Tribunal held at Wormwood Scrubs on 14 August and was referred to the Brace Committee. Henry was discharged from prison on 31 August to the Home Office Scheme. He appears in a photograph taken at Dyce Camp in October 1916, he was later sent to Wakefield Camp and on 28 March, 1917 to Dartmoor.

Henry would have been supported in his stand by the Dulwich Branch of the No-Conscription Fellowship and by Quaker chaplains.

After the First World War
As a conscientious objector who had been court martialled and imprisoned Henry would not have been allowed vote for five years from the end of the war.

Cyril Pearce, University of Leeds, Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors
Kentish Mercury July 14, 1916.
Dulwich N-C.F What are Conscientious Objectors? July 1917 in the Cumbria Archive Centre ref:D/Mar/4/97

Ann O'Brien, Volunteer at Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre, October 2014

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