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Checkweighman’s Appeal

August 1918

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Saturday 31 August 1918

Checkweighman’s Appeal

A case which has aroused considerable interest was before the Appeal Tribunal at Sheffield, yesterday, the Earl of Wharncliffe, R.N., presiding.

There was the unusual spectacle of a score of miners attending to testify to the importance of their checkweighman and the need for keeping’ him at his responsible duties. The appellant was Thomas Williams, 30 years of age, married, with two children. Grade 1, living  at Orchard  Street, Goldthorpe, and employed as checkweigher at Barmboro’ Colliery.

The case was before the Tribunal on July 5, when the appeal was dismissed, and the man was ordered to report on July 31st. It now came forward for rehearing on the ground that a statement which influenced the Tribunal on the previous occasion had been found to be inaccurate. The appeal for exemption was on domestic grounds.

Mr. A. Neal, for the appellant, said four brothers had joined the Army, of whom one had been killed and one was a prisoner. Three brothers-in-law had joined, and one had been killed, and another wounded and severely gassed. He had only two nephews of military age, and they were both serving. Appellant had a crippled brother, whose family he helped to maintain, and he also contributed to the support of his widowed mother, who was in very delicate health. When the case was last heard, the Tribunal were much influenced by letter, introduced by the National Service Representative, which seemed to suggest that a man named Cooper had been induced by Williams to make a false statement to the effect that Cooper, who had joined up voluntarily, had done so to protect Williams.

The Ministry of National Service prosecuted Williams at Doncaster on July 27 for causing to be written a letter containing a false statement in order to evade military service. The charge was dismissed, so that that matter was now got rid of.

Mr. Neal went on to speak of the appellant’s importance at the colliery, and the confidence reposed on him by the other workmen, and said he was now concerned in negotiations with regard to the drawing of two new price lists.

The National Service Representative said the whole of the facts, with the exception that with regard to the letter, were the same as when the Tribunal last heard the case. Appellant had had the advantage of the ballot, and if he had drawn certain number he would have been out of military service. Men with greater responsibilities and obligations than his had gone without a murmur.

The Chairman said they would settle the question on domestic grounds alone. In announcing that the appeal would be dismissed, he said they fully appreciated the hardness of the case, but the man was 30 years of age, and Grade 1, and the hardship was not more than in other cases which had come before them. The appellant would have to join up on September 30.

Leave to take the case to the Central Tribunal, was refused, on the ground that no question of principle was involved.