Conscientious Objectors in WWI (UK)

Frederick Herbert Pullum (1888 – 1996)

In 1874, bus conductor, Frederick Pullum was widowed, when his children were aged 6, 4 & 2 but he did not remarry until 1884, when on the 15th of March, he married Emma White at Holy Trinity Church in Islington, London. He worked as a cable maker and later became a Telegraph Cable Examiner and foreman. Frederick and Emma’s first child, a daughter, died when a few months old in 1887. They had a second child the following year and this was their son Frederick Herbert.

Frederick Herbert was born on 20th July 1888 in Islington. His father died when he was aged 13. Aged 20 he was a student electrical engineer at the Institute of Electrical Engineers in Westminster and living with his widowed mother. Less than 2 years later in February 1910, his mother died in St Bartholomew’s Hospital.  He worked as a clerk for a wholesale provision importer and on 17th April 1911 he married Minnie Miller in her birth place, Beer in Devon. They had 2 children: Gordon LeFranc Pullum (Le Franc is after his 2nd great grandmother) born in 1912 and Annie (Minnie) Lillian Pullum born in 1914.

The family were living in Golders Green, London when on the 16th of June 1916, Frederick attended a Military tribunal in Hendon as he had applied for a certificate of exemption from combatant service. The application was refused on the grounds that there were no real grounds for conscientious objection.
Frederick appealed the decision and the appeal was heard on 21st July 1916 at Guildhall, Westminster. The appeal tribunal decided that Frederick was to be exempt from combative service on the grounds that  conscientious objection to combatant service had been established.

On August 15th 1916, Frederick joined the No.7 Coy Non-Combatant Corp. However almost immediately he was found guilty of not obeying a commanding officer. His sentence of 56 days imprisonment with hard labour was commuted to detention for the same period. Frederick voiced his objections to the charge in a letter.

In the October , he was transferred to a reserve occupation but on the 3rd of April 1917, he was recalled  to the army reserve class as his work was no longer of national importance. He objected by letter and went AWOL for 2 days. A telegram was sent to his wife and he was traced to a different address. The police were sent to take him to Salisbury Plain but he returned of his own accord.

There were several disobediences throughout 1917,  then on July 21st 1918 he refused to get up from his bed when ordered to do so by a commanding officer. On this occasion he was found guilty and sentenced to 56 days hard labour, which he spent in Wandsworth detention barracks. In December 1919 he went AWOL again but was demobilised on the 27th of that month.

Frederick outlived his son, who died unmarried in 1960. Frederick died 8 years later.

(Updated 15.10.2017)