Arthur Robert Metzner was 30 in 1916
The 1911 census shows him living at 159 Brownhill Road Catford together with his widowed mother Jessie and his two sisters Adeline and Ethel. His brother Albert Edward Metzner was also a conscientious objector lived in the same road.
Arthur was a Seventh-day Adventist who worked as a missionary tract distributor and was training for the ministry, he also worked as a clerk.
Conscientious Objection during the First World War
Both the brothers submitted written applications from Glasgow to the Lewisham Tribunal and both the Lewisham Borough News and the Kentish Mercury reported their claim on 21 April, 1916. Both Arthur and Albert claimed conscientious objection on the grounds that they were Seventh-day Adventists in training for the ministry, and as such they believed that they were as entitled to exemption as other ministers of religion or officers of the Salvation Army were.
They also stated that they were strict observers of the Sabbath from Friday to Saturday and knew of co-religious who had been punished for refusing to obey orders in the Army. The Chairman said that on the evidence in their application the Tribunal would grant them non-combatant certificates. When their representative said he did not think that this would satisfy them and they could always appeal, the tribunal members commenced quoting from the New Testament to uphold their belief both in the case for war and that Christ taught that work could be done on the Sabbath, if essential, and said that the brothers should "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's". Mr Harry, the Military Representative, backed by the Chairman and tribunal members, then threatened to press for their application to be disallowed, if they refused non-combatant certificates.
Arthur accepted enlistment into the Non-Combatant Corps on the same day as his brother 19 June, 1916 at the Camberwell recruiting office and served with the the 4 Eastern Company at home until 20 December 1919 when he was demobbed.
After the First World War
Cyril Pearce, University of Leeds, Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors
Lewisham Borough News 21 April, 1916 page 6 cols 2 & 3
Kentish Mercury 21 April, 1916 page 3 cols 2 & 3
Ann O'Brien, Volunteer, Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre, June 2015
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