Exempting clergy

The Technical School swimming class at the Dunedin Municipal Baths. - Otago Witness, 12.9.1917.
The Technical School swimming class at the Dunedin Municipal Baths. - Otago Witness, 12.9.1917.
The Expeditionary Forces Bill, which the Minister of Defence introduced in the House of Representatives yesterday, contains a few proposals that will excite a good deal of comment.

One of these has reference to the position of ministers of religion under the Military Service Act. It is now proposed to exempt clergymen from the operation of the law enforcing military service, and thus to bring the provisions of the law of the dominion into harmony with the Imperial law on the point.

Amongst ministers of religion themselves there is a conflict of opinion as to whether the bearing of arms is consistent with their sacred calling, and the question is not one upon which any satisfactory conclusion can be reached, but the total exemption of them from the obligation of service is the only reasonable and the only possible course to adopt if the claims of the clergy of any particular denomination to be exempted are held to be valid.

Another section of the Bill provides that youths of nineteen years may be permitted to enlist voluntarily for active service. This proposal may be regarded as the revised version of the proposal that the minimum age of compulsory enrolment should be reduced to nineteen years.

The discreditable shuffling by one or two Ministers over the matter can only have served to confirm the impression that it was actually contemplated by the Government that the military age should be reduced, and that it was simply in deference to the public outcry against it that such a proposal was dropped.

We hope that Parliament will reject, also, the provision to admit of the voluntary enlistment of immature youths. The enactment of such a provision would clearly have the effect of putting lads in a false position who have not reached the age at which they should except in circumstances of dire necessity, be expected to enter the army.


Cadets in camp

The Otago High School Senior Cadet Battalion has gone into camp at Tahuna Park. Early on Monday afternoon the battalion marched from the school, via Princes street, to Tahuna Park.

The afternoon was spent in pitching tents, and by tea time the boys were accustomed to their proper places. The camp commandant is Major H. L. Cooper, with Major Brett Shand as second in command; the camp adjutant is Lieutenant W. S. McCrorie, and the school officers present are: Lieutenant A. K. Anderson (O.C. battalion), and Lieutenants Thomson, D. C. Anderson, W. E. Holmes, L. N. Ritchie, and H. Drees. Over 370 cadets comprise the total present, and these, with 19 staff sergeant-majors and instructors, make over 400 under canvas.


Mosgiel crossing danger

At a conference of school committees at Mosgiel on Monday evening, one of the speakers pointed out the danger that existed to children at lunch hour through a goods train standing or shunting on the Gordon road crossing.

He had noticed children crawl underneath the trucks and others climbing across with bicycles rather than wait till the crossing was cleared.

He suggested that the Mosgiel and East Taieri Committees should make representations to the Railway Department with a view to having the crossing clear at lunch hour. This course was agreed to. - ODT, 12.9.1917.


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