Lock, Cyril Edward Leonard


He was 34 in 1917 and died in Lewisham in June 1951 aged 68.

13, Algernon Road, Lewisham*

Cyril Edward Leonard Lock*, was a Bank Clerk at the Westminster Bank, Oxford Street. He was a member of the Dulwich Branch of the No-conscription Fellowship and told the tribunal that he based his objection to military service on Christian beliefs.

Conscientious Objection during the First World War
Cyril's appearance before the Lewisham Military Service tribunal was reported on July 21, 1916 under the sub heading Clergyman and Friend's Conscience. He was supported in his application for absolute exemption by the Rev.J.A. Douglas, Vicar of St. Luke’s Camberwell who had known Cyril, when he was a member of the Church of England. Mr. Mead, the Chairman of the tribunal said “all they could grant a conscientious objector under the act was exemption from combatant duties".

The Rev. Douglas then told the tribunal that he was a Chaplain to the Surrey Rifles (21st London Regiment) and that, while he did not have sympathy with Mr Lock’s current views, it was the tribunals business to consider a man’s principals, and that they had the power to grant him absolute exemption under the Acts. The tribunal then commenced quibbling about Cyril’s handling of war loan script and Mr. Harry told Cyril that he was not living up to his principals by continuing to work in the bank. Mr. Douglas replied that a “man’s conscience is his own affair.” Cyril was refused absolute exemption, he was referred to the Pelham committee, and a question was asked in the House of Commons on 10 August, 1916. From 9 August, 1916 until 12 June, 1917 he did farm work near Wisbech, until he rejected the scheme.

Prison experiences:
He refused work of national importance because he now believed it meant releasing other men to fight. He was referred back to Tribunal and was conscripted into the Royal Fusiliers. He was court martialled at Hounslow on 3 September, 1917 and sentenced to 112 days hard labour at Wormwood Scrubs prison. Cyril was now an absolutist and he was again court martialled, and now sentenced to 2 years hard labour. He was imprisoned in Pentonville until he was released on 2 May, 1919 under what became known as the two year rule, whereby all prisoners convicted of army offences were released if they had served two years or more.

As with all others in this situation he was dishonourably discharged and his discharge papers stated he faced another two years in prison if he tried to sign up again!

After the First World War
At some time he may have worked with Friends' War Victims Relief Service
*Note: His surname is spelt as Locke in the Pelham committee minutes. Kelly's directory shows a Cyril Edward Lock living at 13 Algernon Road in 1915, although his address is shown elsewhere as 30 and 15, Algernon Road.

Cyril Pearce, University of Leeds, Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors
Lewisham Borough News July 21, 1916

Ann O'Brien, Volunteer Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre, July 2015

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