Born on 8 August 1893 in Cambridge, where the family attended Castle Street Primitive Methoduist Church, he won a scholarship to St. Catherines College and became a teacher at Kings School, Peterborough. When compulsory conscription was introduced in 1916, he declined to plead exemption on other grounds and became a conscientious objector. Along with others he refused to obey orders and was imprisoned and subjected to harsh treatment and eventually sent to Field Punishment Barracks in Boulogne. Sentenced by a court-marshall to death by shooting, he and others were reprieved at the last minute by the intervention of the Prime Minister, Asquith. He was sent back to serve a ten-year sentence at Wormwood Scrubs, but in 1919 was released with others from Maidstone Prison. As a conscientious objector he found it difficult to gain post-war employment, but eventually became a Maths teacher at Caterham.
His Diary is in the Liddle Collection at Leeds University.