Objectors at Kalgoorlie

The following report was carried in The West Australian on 10 April, 1942:


A Refusal to Kill.

KALGOORLIE, April 9.—Raymond Walter Hodges (31). a grocer’s assistant, was the first conscientious objector examined before Mr Stot ter, RM, sitting as a Court of Appeal this afternoon. Hodges said that he had been a Christadelphlan since 1934. “I believe in the commandment, Thou shalt not kill’ and intend to obey it,” he declared. He considered that the building of aero dromes, roads and similar work, doing fatigues, feeding of soldiers engaged in fighting, contributed asmuch towards killing as the using of a rifle. If a man came home wounded from the war he would do all he possibly could to help him but not under military direction.

Replying to the Magistrate he said that he had not bought war savings certificates. That would be helping to kill. He was buying a house and owned a motor car. The Magistrate: You expect every body else to protect and pay for these things and keep you looking pretty while doing nothing to help.

Replying to further comment by the Magistrate, Hodges said: “That is as good as saying I am yellow. I am prepared to go into the front line without a rifle. That is a challenge.”

Asked by Cant O’Dra, of the Militia, if all countries were alike why he did not go to some other place, Japan for instance. Hodges replied: ‘”This is where God gave me birth and is pleased to keep me. I consider God is with me. I can have peace anywhere.” He added that if his property. was threatened he would not go to the police for protection. He would do nothing to prevent his child from being kidnapped remarking, “The Lord is my helper.” The Magistrate: You are not human if you would sit back and see you child kildnapped without doing something to prevent it. Get down to common sense: read Scriptures with a little common sense and you will get more out of them. John Richard Symington (30), a timberman, Married, said that he had been a Christadelphian most of his life.

The Magistrate: What are your objections? Not too much of the Scriptures I hope.

Symington: We can only quote Scriptures and then use a little commonsense with them. I would render assistance to injured persons only as civilians and in the name of Christ. I will not be found in uniform. If I am fitted with one it will be only when I am in a straight Jacket. While I have two hands I will not willingly wear a uniform. Military duty is not compatible with my beliefs. I would not take up arms to protect myself or my wife. God will look after his own.

To Capt O’Dea Symington said that he believed the Bible accord ing to the interpretations of Or Thomas and his own common sense. He did not know who carried on Christianity during the centuries be tween the Apostles and Dr Thomas He considered that he would lose all hope of eternal life if he did army medical work.

The Magistrate ordered that both men be registered for non-combatant service.