Rockingham, Frank

He was aged 24 in 1916

333, Stanstead Road, Catford

Frank Rockingham was a draper and a minister of religion at the Lecture Hall, Perry Hill.

Conscientious Objection during the First World War
His appearance the Lewisham Military Service Tribunal was reported in the Kentish Mercury on 3 March, 1916, under the sub-heading "Better Be Shot At Home", and was also reported in the Lewisham Borough News on the same date. Frank requested total exemption on the grounds that he was a preacher of the Gospel and a minister of religion to the Christians who assembled at the Lecture Hall, Perry Hill. This was refused by the members of the tribunal because he was not "solely employed as such". He told the tribunal that he objected to non-combatant service as he was afraid that he would be asked to do something against his conscience and that on refusal would be shot. He added that he would rather be shot at home as a traitor than if he disobeyed and order and was shot as a deserter. He was given a non-combatant certificate and was told by the Chairman that the certificate would prevent him from being required to do what he objected to doing.

War Service
He was conscripted into the Non-Combatant Corps at Camberwell on 19 May, 1916. He served with the Non-Combatant Corps 4 Eastern Company attached to 10 Border Regiment from then until 30 June 1916; then with the NCC 5 Eastern Company until 14 August, 1918.

On the 15 August, 1918 he transferred to the Royal Army Medical Corps under strict non-combatant criteria and served in France from 15 October, 1918 to 1 June, 1919. He returned home on 2 June, 1919 and was demobbed on 29 June.

He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

After the First World War

Cyril Pearce, University of Leeds, Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors
Lewisham Borough News March 3, 1916
Kentish Mercury March 3, 1916

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

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