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"I said some time ago that if I were to be killed if I did not go to the war I would rather be killed."

This statement was made by William Martin, waterside worker, Grey Lynn (Mr. Finlay), when he appeared before the No. 1 Revision Authority (Mr. A. H. Johnstone, K.C.) to-day in applying for his release from detention. Applicant denied that he was afraid of the "hurts and dangers of war." - .

Asked by Mr. J. L. Greenberg, Crown representative, whether he was prepared to join a non-combat-ant unit, Martin said he would not do so as it would,mean "patching up men to fight again." ,

The application was based on humanitarian grounds, Mr. Finlay saying that Martin had held his views since adolescence. His attitude had been a topic of conversation with fellow workers and his views had been maintained in spite of opposition. Applicant's views had been strengthened by the depression which he regarded as the outcome of the last war. Cross-examined by Mr. Greenberg applicant admitted having struck a fellow inmate, but said he did so under extreme provocation. He said later that he would defend himself against a ruthless foe up to the point of killing. i Mr. Greenberg: As a watersider did you handle supplies for war?— Yes, I handled Incoming shells as well as foodstuffs. You did handle shells?— They were part of the cargo. To Mr. Finlay applicant said he thought the conflict between the Nazis and Russians was largely due to the big combines in the world. He did not regard World War 11. as a "war to end war." Mr. Johnstone: This country was ' in danger of invasion in 1942. It was a reality, was it not?— That is i true. Do you not feel a certain amount of gratitude to the United States forces which came to our aid?—l do not feel that. It seemed ridiculous to me that some troops had gone away and others were brought here. We should have brought our own men back. If there had been a landing on Takapuna Beach, say, what would you have done about it?—l have Already said I would defend up to the point of killing. Decision was reserved. What N.Z. Should Have Done "I think New Zealand should have done as Ireland did by remaining neutral or do what Denmark did ana allow an invasion," said Louis Alexander Niederer Major, shop assistant, of Wellington, and later a farmer, of Mataura. War, he said, was immoral and impracticable. Stating that his application was made on moral and ethical grounds and not on religious ones, Major said he was brought up as an Anglican. He became interested in social problems and sought the truth. In 1934 he joined the Territorial Force voluntarily and continued training until 1937. Applicant said he became associated with the Rev. O. E. Burton and Mr. B. C. Barrington, leading active pacifists, and attended their street meetings. Toward the end of 1939 he came to the conclusion that he could only be a conscientious objector, and in 1940 he joined the Peace Union and Friendship Course Objectors. An appeal by "his father was allowed on the ground that the son should carry out territorial training but he refused to do so and in June, 1940. he declined to accept military uniform. Questioned by Mr. Greenberg, applicant said he volunteered for home defence in September, 1939, but at that time he was not a conscientious objector. His attitude was that if New Zealand were attacked it was his duty to defend the country, but later he changed his views as the result of coming into contact with people opposed to war. Martin said he had no hatred of the Japanese. He was of the opinion that New Zealand could not have stopped an invasion owing to the size of the country and its lone coastline. — The authority reserved decision. "No Right to Declare War" The contention that the Government had no right to declare war without consulting the people was voiced by Eric William Henry Kingston, a labourer, formerly employed by the Railway Department at Christchurch. "I was a trade unionist and I was a member of the ] Labour party, but I do not support its policy in regard to war," he said, adding that he was still a member of the A.S.R.S. Kingston, who said he. could not take part in the killing of his fellow men, stated that if he had taken the oath of allegiance he would have lost the right to freedom to express his own views and that he would have to obey orders. He said he based his application on social ' grounds and said society had not i filled its obligation towards men. He had heard men say that after the depression they would not fight for a country that did not fulfil its social obligations to them, yet later those men went into the forces. He was a pacifist and objected to having recourse to settling disputes by war. Applicant also contended that conscription in all countries could be blamed for war. To Mr. Greenberg. applicant admitted that after he left -the Railway Department he was apprehended by the police at Nelson, where he was working under an assumed name. His explanation of this was that he was "just catching up after four or five years on the dole." He admitted he was then avoiding service. Mr. Greenberg said that detention camp records classed Kingston as "a nuisance, lazy, a schemer and a dodger." Applicant denied these and he was examined at length by the authority as to a number of penalties imposed on him, as shown by camp records. Kingston said the work in camp was uninteresting and dull and he had no incentive to work. , After evidence had been given by his father, decision was reserved.

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Bibliographic details

"RATHER BE KILLED", Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 185, 7 August 1945

Word Count

"RATHER BE KILLED" Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 185, 7 August 1945

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