Neal relations at Cuckoos Cup, The Wrekin
Cover of book by Arthur T Hagg

Illustrating a strong objection to war Further conchie connections

A further insight into the stance grandfather Sydney Howes took during the first world war has been found, thanks to a social media reminder of the use of address-based searches on the 1921 census, for free.

Online access to the full records is currently only available through Findmypast, via pay per view or a high-cost annual subscription. Cutlock & Co doesn’t have any urgent family mysteries that 1921 info might solve, so no need to splash out yet, especially as useful information can still be found, as in the following.

An unexpected name at Waller Road

Searching the FMP 1921 census on 12 Waller Road, New Cross, the residence of grandparents Sydney and Emily Howes {1}, wasn’t likely to produce any real surprises. Perhaps just giving an idea of the other family living in this large Victorian terraced house. That turns out to be 6 men and women with the surname May, ranging in age from 92 to 48. An odd grouping but nothing meriting immediate investigation {6}. However, listed alongside the two expected Howes names, both Norwich born, there is another person from that city – Arthur Thomas Hagg, born 1895. Why might gran and grandad have this presumed lodger? It could be purely a financial arrangement but a little research using those basic details reveals more, as set out below.

Having previously discovered Sydney’s involvement in the No-Conscription Fellowship during the Great War, and written about how Conscientious Objectors (aka ‘conchies’ or COs) created their own “communities of resistance“, the presence of a Quaker conchie adds even more evidence to his support for the cause.

Both Arthur Hagg and Sydney Howes appear under the letter H (obviously) on ‘The Men Who Said No’ website {5}. Perhaps this Cutlock & Co article, along with the two linked above, can fill out that bare listing a little.

WW1 service record for Arthur Hagg

Found by searching on the Ancestry website. Below: a couple of front page excerpt images plus a transcription of the key information recorded, with original abbreviations, some of which are hard to read.

Not an ‘Enrolment’ record!

Note that this is a ‘Record of Service Paper’, a re-titled ‘Enrolment Paper’ form.

First two pages: No. 1737, Arthur Thomas Hagg, 4th Eastern Non Combatant Corps (NCC). Gives height as 5′ 3 3/4″ (compare with the prison record!).

Further down the front page is the Exemption from combatant services on conscientious grounds “granted by local tribunal”. Note that despite this Arthur “refuses to sign” (faint writing), with the wrong middle initial shown immediately before.

Statement of the Services of No. 1737 Arthur T (M crossed out) Hagg:

No. 4 Company Border Rgt. 10th, 9 June 1916, Posted.

4th Eastern NCC, 10 June 1916, Joined.

4th Eastern NCC, 10 (or 19?) Jun 1916, tried by WCM and sentenced to imprisonment with Hard Labour for 112 days for: When on active service disobeying a lawful command given by his superior officer.

12 Jun 1916, In Guard Detention Room awaiting trial. To Maidstone Prison.

4th Eastern Coy NCC, 25 Nov 1916, In g’d detention room awtg trial. 25.11.16 Tried by DCM. 8.12.16 and sented (sic) to 112 days with H.L. for when on active service disobeying a lawful command given by his superior officer.

4th Eastern Coy NCC, 18 Apr 1917, In G’d detention room awtg Trial 18.4.17. Tried by BCM 23.4.17 and sentenced to one years imprnt with HL for when on active service disobeying a lawful command given by his superior officer.

25 Apr 1917 To Mountjoy Prison.

A glaring discrepancy

His refusal to sign the ‘Record of service’, and the likelihood that he also didn’t give full particulars, can explain some discrepancies to the prison register, but not a change in height of over 6 inches! However, with the same service number (1737) it is clearly him.

A year on from April 1917 and he is back in prison serving another, longer stretch, presumably having been released before the original full period – back into ‘non-combatant’ service and refusing orders again. This is the pattern followed by a fellow prisoner too, but possibly to a greater extent – see next section and note 4 links.

Prison register

A partial transcription from a record in Ancestry’s Ireland Prison Registers 1790-1924:

Imprisoned in Mountjoy Prison, Dublin. Age 23, 5′ 10 1/4″, 163lbs. Last residence: Arbour Hill Bks. Occupation: schoolmaster & soldier with Eastern Coy NCC 1737. On remand 2 Feb 1918, under sentence 11 Mar 1918, sentence 2 years from 7 Mar 1918, expiration 6 Mar 1920.

On the line above in that document, George F Demaine {4} gets the same treatment for the same offence, and is listed as a Quaker (although he appears to be a Methodist). A few years older, he was born in Keighley, Yorkshire, and has 4 Irish Prison records listed on Ancestry. He is a ‘sculptor’ at the time of his wedding in 1927 at a Wesleyan Methodist chapel.

This record doesn’t give Arthur’s release date but George was “finally released on 16 April 1919, under the provision for releasing all COs who had by that date served at least two years in prison, whether or not in a single sentence.” Quoted from document on Ancestry uploaded by David Shuttleworth {4}. It is likely that Arthur would have been let out at about the same time.

See Note 7 for a little on CO experiences of Mountjoy Prison,

Arthur’s work and connections

On the 1939 register, Arthur is at 37 Belsize Square, Hampstead, born 11 Nov 1895, an artist (commercial) and single. It looks unlikely that he has any descendants.

Ancestry also comes up with listings for him in The Classified Directory of Artists’ Signatures, Symbols, & Monograms. Second edition, enlarged and revised, 1982 and Dictionary of British Artists Working 1900-1950. Volume I. 1975.

Basic info from Artist Biographies: Painter and designer who … attended Norwich School of Art 1910-12, … Westminster School of Art 1912-14 under Walter Bayes and Bernard Meninsky.

A Google search on Arthur Thomas Hagg brings up a couple of items from Abes Books (at Dec. 2022):

  • Illustrator of ‘She Was Queen of Egypt: the Lives of Four Queens’ by Holmes, Winifred, published by G. Bell & Sons, London, 1959.
  • Author/illustrator of The Bedtime Book, published by John R. Battley (Battley Brothers, Clapham. Listed on Abe Books, Dec. 2022 at £41.)
Book front cover image, sourced from Abe Books listing

The Bedtime Book front cover is a familiar one – this rather stood out in the Waller Road book collection on family visits, due to both its large format and striking pictures. Now we know why it was there, although finding a publication date could add more.

Publisher/printer John Rose Battley was a CO sent to work in a market garden in Twickenham, and became Labour MP for Clapham in 1945. The connections continue, as Battley Brothers was at 40 Queens Road, Battersea – next door to the address for Sydney Howes on his and Emily’s marriage in 1919.

Neighbours in Hampstead

As a side note, Arthur’s fellow residents at September 1939 in Belsize Square NW3 are an eclectic mix, but maybe not that surprising for Hampstead. The same register page has Paul List-Odess a ‘chess master’ and Hildegard Arnold a ‘cellist, soloist and teacher’. Plus a headmistress, industrial psychologist, hotel proprietress. And also on the page as a refugee, Hans Mahler appears in various passenger lists as a manager from Vienna going back and forth to America before settling there.


  1. The address they would remain at for the rest of their married lives. For FMP search purposes, Waller Road is in Deptford, rather than New Cross.
  2. The 1921 census was taken on 19th June 1921, having been delayed by a couple of months.
  3. Arthur Thomas Hagg was born 1895 in Norwich (mother Russen), died Hampstead 1962. Per 1901/11 census: father Arthur Josiah Hagg (looks like Wagg in 1901) variously shoe manufacturers foreman or boot clicker, mother Alice Louisa. At 1939 a widowed Alice is with daughter Alice L Bridges at 34 Knowsley Road, Norwich, the same address as in 1911.
  4. Also on The Men Who Said No website, plus more on the sculptor and his CO experience on this Not Just Hockney page (site covers artists with a Bradford connection).
  5. The Men Who Said No site is a Peace Pledge Union project documenting Conscientious Objectors 1915-1919. It has some quirks – to find known CO names use Google or the index at the bottom of the Names intro page.
  6. After a little investigation: Sydney and Emily bought 12 Waller Road in 1926, at about the time that their second child was born. Looking at the profile of the 6 members of the May family, a likely scenario is that Augusta, born 1829 and the mother of three of the others, died (likely death registration late 1921); son William with presumed wife Maud and child Herbert move out to their own place (which appears to be by early 1922), leaving single sisters Eliza Jane and Zillah to move to the small top floor flat, so the four making up the Howes clan can take over the larger downstairs premises and garden, having previously managed upstairs. Zillah was still living in the flat when your editor was a very young lad.
  7. The ‘Mapping Resistance to War’ section of The Men Who Said No website says “29 English conscientious objectors are known to have spent time in Mountjoy Prison” with complaints about the food and insanitary conditions. It was “one of the prisons in which COs produced clandestine newspapers”, the Joyland Journal.



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