Lardent, Joseph Charles

He was 35 in 1916.

342, New Cross Road, New Cross

Joseph Charles Lardent, was an Optician. He was a member of the International Bible Students Association, a corporation founded in 1914 in London to promote the interests of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Conscientious Objection during the First World War
Joseph was referred to the Pelham Committee as a conscientious objector prepared to undertake work of national importance, the Committee recommend he work at the Eye Hospital , but the London County Military Service Tribunal disagreed and placed him on a farm in Basingstoke; two dates are linked to these decisions 29 April and 7 July, 1916. The Pelham Committee (formally, the Committee on Work of National Importance), was the body charged in March 1916 with trying to find suitable civilian occupations for conscientious objectors who were prepared to undertake the work of national importance. According to Hansard (HC Deb 10 May 1916 vol 82 cc666-7 666) application to the Committee could only be made through the Tribunals. In Joseph's case and no doubt in others the Tribunal seemed to find nothing odd about referring a man to the Committee for a decision, and then over-ruling that decision. Quite why the London County Military Service Tribunal felt working on a farm was of more importance than working as an Optician must be put down to their desire to impose some form of suffering and ensure the CO was not seen to be coddled. This penal attitude to conscientious objectors would ensure that Joseph was moved out of Deptford and away from his fellow Witnesses.

Alternative Service during the War
He worked on a farm in Basingstoke under the terms of the 'work of national importance' scheme.

After the First World War
A photograph of Joseph taken with his brother outside an opticians in Surrey is held in the archives at the IBSA House, Mill Hill, London

Cyril Pearce, University of Leeds, Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors
Hansard (HC Deb 10 May 1916 vol 82 cc666-7 666)
for the Pelham Committee's attitude towards COs see Lois S, Bibbings, Telling Tales About Men, Manchester University Press paperback 2011 pp127-128
Gary Perkins, for the sake of the Kingdom

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

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