Willis, Duncan Ambrose

Dates
He was 27 in 1916

Address
43 Camplin Street, New Cross

Duncan Willis was a clerk and a member of the Dulwich Branch of the No-Conscription Fellowship and of the Dartmoor Branch of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Conscientious Objection during the First World War
The Kentish Mercury November 3, 1916 reported his appearance before the Greenwich Police Court Magistrates. He said had been to a Military Service Tribunal were he was offered a Non-Combatant-corps certificate, but had refused it. He had not responded to his call-up and had been arrested and charged with being an absentee, to which he replied that he was "technically guilty". He was not fined but was handed over to the military.

He was taken under guard to the Royal Fusilier's at Hounslow where he was court martialled 15 November, 1916 for refusing to obey and order. He was sentenced to 112 days hard labour and sent to Wormwood Scrubs prison.

At the Central Tribunal at Wormwood Scrubs on 15 December he was accepted as a genuine conscientious objector, class A, and referred to the Brace Committee (Home Office Scheme). He was sent under the terms of the Home Office Scheme firstly to the Wakefield Work Centre and then on 3 March, 1917 to Dartmoor work camp.

After the First World War
As a conscientious objector who had been court martialled and imprisoned Duncan 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 3, 1916.
Dulwich N-C.F What are Conscientious Objectors? July 1917 in the Cumbria Archive Centre ref:D/Mar/4/97


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

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