A re-enactment of Walter Ayles’ Militry Tribunal
Bristol Register Office, Corn Street, BS1 1JG.
Walter Ayles was Bristol’s most prominent opponent of World War 1. He was a member of the Independent Labour Party and city councillor for Easton from 1912. When war was declared in 1914 he was the only councillor to vote against a motion offering “whole hearted support” for the war. He became a national executive member of the No-Conscription Fellowship.
In April 1916, when conscription was introduced, Ayles and others were arrested and imprisoned for distributing a ‘Repeal the Act’ pamphlet. On his release he was immediately conscripted and imprisoned until February 1919 for refusing to accept military service. In 1923 he was elected as Labour MP for Bristol North.
Exactly 100 years on and in the same room where it took place, a re-enactment of the confrontation between Walter Ayles, Bristol’s leading opponent of conscription and World War One, and Lieutenant-Colonel Burges, first commanding officer of Bristol’s Own, at a Military Service Tribunal.
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