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Farmer facing military call-up; RECRUITMENT Tribunal revokes service exemption.

Byline: John Rowbotham

An Inversnaid farmer failed to convince a recruiting appeal tribunal he should be spared military service.

Robert Blair had been given six months' leave of absence as he was the sole tenant of Garrison Farm which carried a stock value of PS4000.

Mr Blair was born on the farm which had been tenanted by both his father and grandfather. He took over on Whit Sunday, 1917.

A local tribunal which considered his case felt that Mr Blair - who was classed only grade three in terms of his fitness for the military - would render better service to the country by staying in Inversnaid.

Tribunal members were told Mr Blair was staying at Inversnaid Hotel and had at considerable expense restarted the coach service between Inversnaid and Stronachlacher.

The move was prompted by the extra demand for the coaches prompted by the influx into the country of Colonial soldiers who wished to visit Loch Katrine and Loch Lomond. Mr Blair had 11 horses engaged in the work.

However, the military representative Mr Quig, appealed against the decision to grant Mr Blair leave of absence. He said Blair had no practical experience of sheep farming and his farm could continue to function "quite well" even if he was in the Army. Mr Quig was also of the view that grade three men were required in the Army as well as other, fitter men.

Tribunal members upheld the appeal but ruled that Mr Blair should not be called up for a month.

Balfron man Mr John Simpson, Dunmore Street, also appeared before the tribunal. Mr Quig said given the Services' need for more men, the 26-year-old joiner should be in the Army.

There was laughter when Mr Simpson acknowledged that though he had not been medically examined, he was convinced he would be classed "grade one".

However,Mr Simpson's solicitor said his client was also a cartwright, as well as a joiner, and did "practically the whole of the cartwright work in the neighbourhood".

His father died eight years earlier and he was the sole supporter of younger members of the family. If Mr Simpson was taken for the Army, the business would collapse. The appeal by the military was refused.

Another Balfron tradesman, Plumber Alexander Cameron, also of Dunmore Street, appeared before the tribunal. The national service representative questioned the decision to grant him exemption from military service. Mr Simspon's lawyer said his clients business covered a wide area of the district and he attended to the water supply of a number of farms. It would be impossible to leave the work to just one man. His case was continued to allow him to be medically examined to see if he was fit for the Army.

He was sole supporter of younger members of the family.

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Publication:Stirling Observer (Stirling, Scotland)
Date:Jun 29, 2018
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