Just over a year into the First World War it became clear that more than just voluntary recruits would be needed to win, and conscription was considered. This started a whole new battle; one of ethics, with a number of people opposed to such measures and protests staged across the country.
One hundred years ago, on 27 November 1915, the first national meeting of the ‘No Conscription Fellowship’ was held in London to resist this plan and support conscientious objectors. Here at The National Archives there is a record containing a parcel of pamphlets, letters and literature from the office of the No-Conscription Fellowship which was eventually seized on 14 November 1917 (PRO 10/802). It contains the Fellowship’s manifesto and a record of its activities from when it started, including newspaper cuttings, correspondence and pamphlets, including details of translating into various languages for print and worldwide distribution.
There are accounts of peace demonstrations held across the country, giving a different insight into life on the home front. It also contains a selection of books and other literature, including copies of ‘The Story of Richard Doubledick’ by Charles Dickens and ‘A Reasonable Man’s Peace’ by H.G. Wells.