For Harry Patch and Walter Ayles, the outbreak of the First World War was a testing time. From sharply different backgrounds, they initially responded very differently, Harry becoming a member of a machine gun team on the Western Front, Walter going to prison as a conscientious objector. But they ended up with the same perspective on ‘the war to end wars’. The talk will be illustrated with excerpts from television programmes made by the speaker. Non-Members £3 extra for outings or talks
This 1.5 hour history walk led by members of the Remembering the Real World War One history group explores resistance to the conflict in Bristol. From mass meetings of trade unionists opposing intervention in the war, to the struggles against conscription and the role of Conscientious Objectors this walk uncovers hidden histories and dispels some myths along the way. It also considers the divisions that arose amongst comrades in the labour movement, Socialists, Christians and those fighting for […]
The 'Refusing To Kill – Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors' exhibition has been at Bristol Archives since June 5th. Just as when it was shown elsewhere in the city, it has attracted lots of interest. It runs until July 14th. While including much of the material displayed previously there is plenty that is new – both from local archives and CO relatives. See Bristol Archives website here for opening hours and how to get there. Alongside the exhibition there are a number of events […]
Upper Engagement Room, The Students' Union at UWE, Union 1, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, BS16 1QY ‘Canting humbugs’ was the way some in Bristol characterised opponents of the ‘Great War’. But it is now clear that men like local councillor Walter Ayles, prepared to go to prison for their beliefs, had considerable local support. Colin Thomas author of Slaughter No Remedy: The life and times of Walter Ayles, Bristol Conscientious Objector recounts the life and times of Bristol's most […]
The premier of Slaughter No Remedy a short film that studies the life of Walter Ayles a leading member of the Independent Labour Party in Bristol who was jailed in 1916 for his refusal to fight in World War One. This is followed by Watford’s Quiet Heroes a documentary telling the dramatic and largely forgotten stories of WW1 war resisters. Finally, The Unseen March exposes the contemporary policies that are increasing military involvement in schools across Britain. From the expansion of cadet […]
'Canting humbugs' was the way some in Bristol characterised opponents of the 'Great War'. But it is now clear that men like local councillor Walter Ayles, prepared to go to prison for their beliefs, had considerable local support. A talk with video extracts. Venue: Kingfisher Cafe, 99 Burley Grove Fishponds BS16 2LE.
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 […]
Walter Ayles was a fighter – but a fighter who didn’t believe in killing. He fought against unemployment and ruthless employers but also against the pro-war fever that led to the First World War. A Bristol councillor before the War, he was sent to prison for his opposition to it. Soon after his release, he was elected the MP for Bristol North. This pamphlet outlines the life and times of a man who fought for socialism and peace.