Conscientious objection and the First World War

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Small collection of items relating to conscientious objection including a typescript copy of a diary of an objector's experiences, printed extracts from a soldier of the battlefields of France and a dietary sheet for Walton Prison, Liverpool

Administrative / Biographical History

In March 1916 the Military Service Act allowed conscientious objectors, who could convince a military service tribunal, to be exempt from service but required service as a civilian or as a non-combatant in the army. It is estimated that there were about 16,000 conscientious objectors, with a large number being Quakers, about a third were forced into the army and then imprisoned if they continued to refuse orders.

Many objectors faced harsh imprisonment, with many dying as a result of their treatment those assigned to non-combatant roles were often given dangerous tasks for example as stretcher-bearers.

Conditions Governing Access

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Custodial History

Donated by TDW Reid, Stockport, 15 February 1983

Related Material

Records of the No Conscription Fellowship (Willesden Branch) [Ref U DCO]

Correspondence and journal of Robin Page Arnot as a conscientious objector [U DAR/2]

Papers of P. Smith relating to pacifism and conscientious objectors [Ref U DX76]

Correspondence of Frank and Myfanwy Westrope during Frank's imprisonment as a conscientious objector [U DX135]