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CHRISTIAN SCIENCE AND MILITARY SERVICE


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     I am  a little (Synonym for "totally")  perplexed by a local casualty to me whose officer file  says that he was a Christian Scientist- a belief about which I know nothing.  The casualty is Captain Duncan Beresford Tuck, late 16th Middlesex (Public Schools)  att. 2nd Middlesex, died of wounds 30th March 1918 at 2 British Red Cross Hospital Rouen. His service history and beliefs pose several questions.

 

      That he was attached to the CS doctrine of avoiding medical interference is shown by his commission application, which shows against "Vaccination"-Only if absolutely necessary". He was wounded on 1st July 1916 at Beaumont Hamel (MID in 1915)- shot through the right foot  and  flesh wound to left thigh leading 2 platoons out of the trenches- he just about got over the parapet. He was later diagnosed by X Ray as having a fracture of the heel as well.

    On 26th March 1918 , he was wounded-records list GSW left leg, but intriguingly also fracture of left tibia as accident-   He died of complications before his father could reach him.  In July 1918 his records were amended to show that he "died of wounds"    I suspect strongly that the latter is the case but the change of listing from "accidental" to DOW, linked with CS does leave me to wonder whether his religious beliefs played any part in his demise.

    Would any colleague have any information regarding CS during the Great War in Britain (not the Mary Baker Eddy stuff)-in particular, whether anything is known of anyone refusing medical intervention while wounded on service???  

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Thank you Terry- I had the reference to this thesis but it refused to download when I tried to do it. Your link opens it instantaneously-I will be nominating you to the Nobel Prize Committee forthwith  :wub:

 

    I just about had Tuck framed to write up and wanted to check something again in his officer file at Kew (which means I couldn't read my writing from old notes)-I had not seen the CS reference before.  It's an interesting point that could alter the whole balance of  what I write up about him-and it should be of some more general concern- Everything I have ever read about religious beliefs and the war has tended to the pacifist/ Conscientious Objection end of the market.  That there were men  who served but whose religious beliefs were against medical treatment must have come up a number of times during the war. Probably represented in the literature somewhere-Now all I have to do  is find it!!

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Thank you Terry- I had the reference to this thesis but it refused to download when I tried to do it. Your link opens it instantaneously-I will be nominating you to the Nobel Prize Committee forthwith  :wub:

 

    I just about had Tuck framed to write up and wanted to check something again in his officer file at Kew (which means I couldn't read my writing from old notes)-I had not seen the CS reference before.  It's an interesting point that could alter the whole balance of  what I write up about him-and it should be of some more general concern- Everything I have ever read about religious beliefs and the war has tended to the pacifist/ Conscientious Objection end of the market.  That there were men  who served but whose religious beliefs were against medical treatment must have come up a number of times during the war. Probably represented in the literature somewhere-Now all I have to do  is find it!!

The late Dr John Rae in his book Conscience and politics , specifically about WW1 writes "Thus while the Central Tribunal ruled that in Christian Science there was "no evidence in of conscientious objection within the meaning of the Military Service Acts", at least five Christ Scientists were granted exemption by lower tribunals."  The  problem lay with local tribunals who, understandably perhaps had know knowledge of fringe religions.  Nevertheless the author does give a source that might be useful in you quest which sets out the Christian Science position on military service.

 

BR Wilson, Sects and Society: a sociological study of three religious groups in Britain. London 1961 p 176.

 

TR

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Thanks Terry- there seems to be little in the way of primary sources about CS in the UK- I may have a zap of the Christian Science Monitor and report back.

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I have been pondering the position of the Plymouth Brethren during the war. My great grandmother Ada Moore (1871-1962) was unquestionably a member - my father remembers this about her. Her husband, my great grandfather David Moore (1868-1917), would seem to also have been (the attached newspaper report of his 1917 funeral tells us that the service was conducted by the Plymouth Brethren).

 

From what I can gather Plymouth Brethren were not Conscientious Objectors, but insisted upon non-combat roles. Yet David and Ada had two sons who served in the Royal Artillery in the First war - the attached alludes to this. Both sons were living at home at the start of the war, and indeed one of them saw pre-war service with the Territorial Force. 

 

I suppose the answer could be that the parents were members of the Brethren, but the sons were not. But this seems to me to be rather unsatisfactory.

2417BF0B-12B1-4146-90A7-2177BF8CB433.jpeg

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Whatever their position on military service, Christian Scientists would most probably have difficulties with vaccinations.

RM

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4 hours ago, Uncle George said:

I have been pondering the position of the Plymouth Brethren during the war. My great grandmother Ada Moore (1871-1962) was unquestionably a member - my father remembers this about her. Her husband, my great grandfather David Moore (1868-1917), would seem to also have been (the attached newspaper report of his 1917 funeral tells us that the service was conducted by the Plymouth Brethren).

 

From what I can gather Plymouth Brethren were not Conscientious Objectors, but insisted upon non-combat roles. Yet David and Ada had two sons who served in the Royal Artillery in the First war - the attached alludes to this. Both sons were living at home at the start of the war, and indeed one of them saw pre-war service with the Territorial Force. 

 

I suppose the answer could be that the parents were members of the Brethren, but the sons were not. But this seems to me to be rather unsatisfactory.

2417BF0B-12B1-4146-90A7-2177BF8CB433.jpeg

Uncle George, if you want to start a separate thread on the subject of the Plymouth Bretheren I can help.

 

TR

 

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22 minutes ago, Terry_Reeves said:

Uncle George, if you want to start a separate thread on the subject of the Plymouth Bretheren I can help.

 

TR

 

 

Thank you Terry, I shall do just that.

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3 hours ago, rolt968 said:

Whatever their position on military service, Christian Scientists would most probably have difficulties with vaccinations.

RM

 

   Of course, RM-  vaccination was a very contentious issue for chunks of the Nineteenth Century. But it does raise an interesting point-which reference to the experience of other smaller religious groups might help to resolve-  would VOLUNTARILY applying for military service, as Duncan Tuck, override any scruples of conscience at to medical treatment?After all, could his religious beliefs have been overcome by being ORDERED  to have medical treatment- in a manner similar to ,say Jehovah's in a hospital in our times whose scruples may be overcome by order of the court.  ( I am thinking here of the fate of  Philip Kerr, Lord Lothian in 1940, while Brit. Ambassador in Washington)

5 hours ago, Uncle George said:

I have been pondering the position of the Plymouth Brethren during the war. My great grandmother Ada Moore (1871-1962) was unquestionably a member - my father remembers this about her. Her husband, my great grandfather David Moore (1868-1917), would seem to also have been (the attached newspaper report of his 1917 funeral tells us that the service was conducted by the Plymouth Brethren).

 

From what I can gather Plymouth Brethren were not Conscientious Objectors, but insisted upon non-combat roles. Yet David and Ada had two sons who served in the Royal Artillery in the First war - the attached alludes to this. Both sons were living at home at the start of the war, and indeed one of them saw pre-war service with the Territorial Force. 

 

I suppose the answer could be that the parents were members of the Brethren, but the sons were not. But this seems to me to be rather unsatisfactory.

2417BF0B-12B1-4146-90A7-2177BF8CB433.jpeg

 

     Thank UG- Most interesting. Our next door neighbour was from the Dockyard Police when I was a kid.  I presume the Moses of the Watch Committee is Jimmy Moses??

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     Thank UG- Most interesting. Our next door neighbour was from the Dockyard Police when I was a kid.  I presume the Moses of the Watch Committee is Jimmy Moses??

Indeed so, the future Mayor and MP. I was interested to see that the Metropolitan Police ( ‘the Mets’, in the then usage) took precedence  over the force in which he served.

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UG, a complex subject as you no doubt know.

 

The Brethren split into two sects in 1849; the Open Brethren and the Exclusive Brethren.  The least explicit non-combatants  were the Open Brethren who pointed out the incompatibility of of fighting with with the teaching of Jesus Christ but  some of their members joined the armed forces. The Exclusive Brethren highlighted their unwillingness to be “unequally yoked with nonbelievers” in the army.

 

As a point of interest, one member of the Open Brethren  in WW1 was Lieutenant Colonel William Dobbie RE who was a member of Operations Branch at GHO at the armistice. He was duty staff officer when he received at the signal that hostilities were to cease on 11.11.18 and it fell to him to sign the signal to be distributed the BEF.  He continued in service post-war and would become the Governor of  Malta as Lieutenant General in WW2 until replaced by Viscount Gort in 1942.

 

Conscience and Politics - OUP 1970, by the late Dr John Rae is a book well worth reading on the whole subject.

Edited by Terry_Reeves
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4 minutes ago, Terry_Reeves said:

UG, a complex subject as you no doubt no:

 

The Brethren split into two sects in 1849; the Open Brethren and the Exclusive Brethren.  The least explicit non-combatants  were the Open Brethren who pointed out the incompatibility of of fighting with with the teaching of Jesus Christ but  some of their members joined the armed forces. The Exclusive Brethren highlighted their unwillingness to be “unequally yoked with nonbelievers” in the army.

 

As a point of interest, one member of the Open Brethren  in WW1 was Lieutenant Colonel William Dobbie RE who was a member of Operations Branch at GHO at the armistice. He was duty staff officer when he received at the signal that hostilities were to cease on 11.11.18 and it fell to him to sign the signal to be distributed the BEF.  He continued in service post-war and would become the Governor of  Malta as Lieutenant General in WW2 until replaced by Viscount Gort in 1942.

 

Conscience and Politics - OUP 1970, by the late Dr John Rae is a book well worth reading on the whole subject.

 

Thanks Terry. 

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