Report for military service when called upon

Hertfordshire Mercury, 15th June 1918



At Cheshunt Petty Sessions, Ernest John Ripley (28), butcher, of 58 Turners Hill, Cheshunt, was charged that, being a person amenable to the Military Service Act, he failed to appear at the Hertford Recruiting Office on 22nd May when called up for permanent military service.  He pleaded not guilty.

Police Sergeant Oliver stated that he saw the prisoner the previous day and asked him why he had not joined up in accordance with his calling up notice.  The prisoner had said  “I did have a notice three weeks back, but I sent it back.  I appeared at the Hertford Appeal Tribunal on Saturday and they said they could do nothing for me, but advised me to report to the recruiting office.  I didn’t go there but came straight home as I had some meat which would spoil”.  Lieutenant Hannaford, of the Hertford Recruiting Office, said he had signed and posted a notice to the prisoner to report on 22nd May.  The prisoner did not report, but the notice was returned by Messrs Breeze and Wyles, solicitors, saying that they were applying for a fresh medical examination of the man.

The prisoner was entirely out of date to apply for a fresh medical examination or to go to the Tribunal.  The Recruiting Office returned the calling-up notice to Messrs Breeze and Wyles, stating that if the prisoner did not report at once he would be arrested as an absentee.  This man had been doing all he could to avoid military service since last October.  The prisoner said “Certainly, why shouldn’t I, when you leave strong single men in Turners Hill who are not doing nearly the business that I am.  I have three brothers serving.  I didn’t think I was to report as I received no further calling up notice.  Another thing, I am a Grade 2 man and there are plenty of strong young men still working in the factory: but the military are down on me because I am earning an honest living”.

The Clerk said “The Bench has nothing to do with that”.  The prisoner said that there were single young men walking about Flamstead End but that the military did not touch them.

The Chairman said the prisoner would be handed over to an escort.  The prisoner said “All right, sir, that’s the way to do business”.  A member of the Bench said “It is a very bad case”.

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