Cotterill, Leslie Gordon

Dates
18 April, 1899 to December 1978

Address
Hugheden House, Cassella Road, New Cross

Leslie Gordon Cotterill was aged 18 in 1911. In the 1911 census he is shown as living with his brother Henry Frank Cotterill who was also a conscientious objector and their parents Henry and Ellen. Leslie was single and was a Quaker, attending the Southwark Meeting House.

Conscientious Objection during the First World War
He appeared before the Deptford Military Service Tribunal on 4 June, 1917 where his case was dismissed. He was arrested on 18 October, 1917 as an absentee and was tried at Greenwich Police Court the following day. The Kentish Mercury of November 2, 1917 reported that he refused to plea, to take the oath, or to affirm. He was fined 40 shillings and remanded in Brixton Prison for seven days before being handed over to the 112 Territorial Reserve Brigade. He was court martialled at Wimbledon on 2 November and sentenced to two years hard labour at Wormwood Scrubs prison.

The Central Tribunal at Wormwood Scrubs adjourned his appeal on 14 December to take up references and eventually, on 4 January, 1918 he was found to be a genuine consciousness objector (class A) and referred to the Brace Committee. He was sent from prison to the Home Office Scheme at Wakefield Work Centre and later at Knutsford.

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

Source
Cyril Pearce, University of Leeds, Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors
The Kentish Mercury November 2, 1917


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

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