Outcasts, Cowards and Quakers – Re-examining the Conscientious Objectors of the First World War

This talk given by Professor Lois Bibbings will consider conventional ideas about objectors alongside an exploration of who these men (and women) were, what they did and why, what happened to them and how they were viewed. A complex picture emerges which takes us a long way from stereotypical images of objectors as, for example, despised, rejected, unmanly, lacking courage and/or devotedly religious. This event is organised by the Bristol Skeptics Society and takes place at the Smoke and Mirrors […]

Refusing to Kill – Bristol’s WW1 Conscientious Objectors

Over 350 men from the Bristol area refused to fight in World War 1. They claimed the status of conscientious objector for moral, religious or political reasons. Some agreed to take non-military roles. Others spent much of the war in prison, often under harsh conditions. This illustrated talk presented by Professor Lois Bibbings tells the stories of these men and the people in the city who supported them. This event is part of a series of Lunchtime Lectures by Bristol Libraries. There is no need […]

Studio 1: Starting the flame: Agitators, Conchies and Miners in the Forest of Dean

Bristol Radical History Festival 2018 Poster Light
In August 1917 a meeting of Forest of Dean Miners passed motions against the conscription of miners and in favour of an immediate negotiated peace to end the war. This talk will discuss the role agitators and conscientious objectors played in this process and what happened next. Ian Wright recently authored Ring Out the Thousand Wars of Old: The Forest of Dean World War One Conscientious Objectors.

Who Refused To Kill?

WW1 Conscientious objectors research workshop

miscellaneous 2018 poster
An opportunity to do your own research into Conscientious Objectors and resistance to war during World War 1 Bristol Central Library staff and members of Remembering the Real World War 1 will show you how to access archive sources and online databases to find out about conscientious objectors. Places on the workshop are free but limited. You can book here or by calling 0117 9037250 or email polly.ho.yen@bristol.gov.uk.

Otherstory puppet show: On the Run

miscellaneous 2018 poster
Otherstory presents - A puppet drama documentary about men on the run from conscription during World War 1. Using table top puppetry, photographs and posters from the period, the experience of men on the run is chronicled - including the extraordinary story of a secret chamber beneath a bike shop in Bedminster - and showing the wide network of support that enabled some men to reach the USA. This will be followed by a discussion/workshop looking at the historical material used in the show with a […]

Video from Bristol Radical History Festival 2017

These videos are of talks that were presented at the Bristol Radical History Festival 2017. Black lives and white mans war Silu Pascoe. Three British Anarchists in America Sheila Rowbotham. Mutiny in world war 1 Julian Putkowski. John Maclean and The War After The War Jim Slaven. Refusing to fight in World War 1 Lois Bibbings and Cyril Pearce. Bristol Women against world war one June Hannam and Bernadette Hyland.

A Conscientious Concert

The music of Frank Merrick, World War 1 Conscientious Objector

Two performances at 13.15 & 15.30 Venue: Bristol Cathedral, College Green, BS1 5TJ Pianist: Steven Kings Soprano: Heather Ashford No booking required and no admission charge but there will be a collection at each performance. Visitors to the Refusing To Kill exhibition in Bristol Cathedral will have learnt about Frank Merrick and even heard his voice. With the support and involvement of Frank’s family we are now pleased to present a performance of some of his music. Frank Merrick was 31 when […]

Remembering my father: From the Bavarian workers rising of 1918 to resisting the rise of the Nazis

Studio 1

Resisting War Poster
My talk will draw on my father’s remarkable life in Germany up till 1933. I will use it to illustrate how the Nazis first built on the defeat of the 1918/19 Bavarian workers (and sailors) uprising, a consequence of the war, by the viciously anti-Communist Freikorps. My father, having observed the early Nazis and more aware than many on the left of how dangerous they were, was later deeply involved in the almost forgotten resistance to the Nazis pre-1933. He was active in a number of […]

Ring Out the Thousand Wars of Old

The Forest of Dean World War One Conscientious Objectors

Ring Out the Thousand Wars of Old - Front Covers
During World War One, 28 men from the Forest of Dean sought recognition as conscientious objectors rather than be called up to fight. This is the story of these men, the options available to them, the way they responded and what they did after the war. Ring Out the Thousand Wars of Old explores the role that religion, class, culture and place had on these individual decisions. It argues that the actions of the conscientious objectors were an expression of a much wider anti-war sentiment, […]

How to stop a war: The German servicemen’s revolt of 1918

Studio 1

Resisting War Poster
The German revolution of 1918-20 and its violent suppression is a little known event in the British popular memory. Where it is described the narrative typically commences with the mutiny of sailors from the German High Seas fleet over the first few days of November 1918. However, the numerous actions against the continuation of the war by hundreds of thousands of German soldiers on the western front during the preceding summer, have only been recently exposed by the work of historian Nick […]

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