the men who said no


CO Books



The books below can be consulted at the PPU offices

Refusing to Kill. Oliver Haslam et al. British WW1 objection, with reference to human rights. Online study and teaching resources for primarily for secondary school pupils.
The Hound of Conscience: A history of the No-Conscription Fellowship 1914-1919. Thomas Kennedy.
Conscription and Conscience: A History 1916-1919. John W. Graham MA. George Allen & Unwin Ltd 1922. First history of WW1 objection; Graham was active in N-CF.
Objection Overruled. David Boulton. MacGibbon & Kee Ltd 1967. Best history of WW1 objection, although mistaken on CO plaque; Boulton is Quaker activist.
Conscience & Politics: The British Government and the Conscientious Objector to Military Service 1916-1919. John Rae. Oxford University Press 1970. Factually sound, but shows lack of understanding of CO mind; originally written as DPhil thesis.
Troublesome People: Enemies of War 1916-1986. Caroline Moorehead. Hamish Hamilton 1987. Attempts to cover post-WW2 anti-nuclear campaigning in Britain, US, W. Germany and Japan as well as British objection in 2 WWs, but is muddled throughout and incorrect in a number of details; to be read with caution; Moorehead is a generalist journalist.
Comrades in Conscience: The story of an English community's opposition to the Great War. Cyril Pearce. Francis Boutle Publishers 2014.
Don't be a Soldier: The Radical Anti-war Movement in North London 1914-1918. Ken Weller. Journeyman 1985.  Account of WW1 socialist objection in N London.
These Strange Criminals. Ed: Peter Brock. University of Toronto Press 2004 Anthology of prison memoirs by COs in both WWs, covering Britain, Canada, New Zealand, US, Australia; includes Brock’s own WW2 British prison account. 
We Will Not Cease. Archibald Baxter. The Caxton Press, NZ 1968. Memoir of a New Zealand WW1 CO shipped to France and badly mistreated.
We Did Not Fight. Ed: Julian Bell. Cobden Sanderson 1935. Anthology of memoirs by British WW1 COs and a brief overview of WW1 war resistance in France.
Troublesome People: No-Conscription Fellowship Souvenir.  1919. Resume of NCF work and COs’ experiences.
Letters of a Prisoner: For Conscience Sake. Corder Catchpool. George Allen and Unwin Ltd 194.1  Letters home from imprisoned Quaker WW1 CO.
Opponents of war: 1917-1918. H.C. and Gilbert C. Fite Peterson. University of Washington Press 1968.  Account of US WW1 objection.
Conscription Conflict. Denis Hayes. Sheppard Press 1949. Account of struggle for and against conscription in first half of 20thC Britain.
A Question of Conscience. Felicity Goodall. Sutton Publishing 1997.  Studies of a number of individual British WW1 & WW2 COs.
Friends and the War.   Headley Brothers [1914]. Addresses delivered at a Conference of Members of the Society of Friends and others, held at Llandudno, 25-30/9/14.
Conscientious Objectors: 1916 to the Present Day. Peter Chrisp. Tressell Publications 1988. Overview of British objection primarily for school use; illustrated.
Forty Years and an Epilogue: An Autobiography (1881-1951). Stephen Hobhouse. James Clarke & Co Ltd 1951. Autobiography of imprisoned WW1 Quaker CO.
On Two Fronts: Letters of a Conscientious Objector. Corder Catchpool. George Allen and Unwin Ltd 3rd ed,1940.  Originally published 1918, letters from WW1 Quaker CO who began with FAU, but became absolutist on introduction of conscription.
Indomitable Friend: Corder Catchpool 1883-1952. William R. Hughes. George Allen and Unwin Ltd 195.6 Biography of prominent Quaker absolutist CO.
Decision by Default: Peter Dennis. Routledge & Kegan Paul 1972. Peacetime conscription and British defence 1919-39.
Soul of a Skunk. George Baker. Scholartis Press 1930. Autobiography of socialist absolutist WW1 CO.
'I Appeal unto Caesar': the case of the conscientious objector. Mrs Henry (Margaret) Hobhouse. George Allen & Unwin Ltd  1917. Detailed account by the mother of Stephen Hobhouse, CO, of harsh treatment of WW1 COs.
The Abolition of War: the 'Peace Movement' in Britain 1914-19. Keith Robbins. University of Wales Press 1976.
'Handed Over' Scott Duckers. J C W Daniel Limited 1916. Prison experiences of a WW1 solicitor CO.
Hard Lines!. And other stories, grave and gay. W.J. Chamberlain. The Blackfriars Press Ltd 1926. Mainly fictional sketches, but includes eye-witness account of the death in prison of Paul Gillan, WW1 CO.
Friends of Alice Wheeldon Sheila Rowbotham. Pluto Press
The Men who Dared. Stanley B. James. C W Daniel Ltd [1917]. Account of treatment of British WW1 COs.
Plowing My Own Furrow. Howard W. Moore. W W Norton & Co 1985. Autobiography of US WW1 CO.
The Suffragette Movement. Sylvia Pankhurst. Virago Press Ltd 1988
A C.O. in Prison. W. J. Chamberlain. No-Conscription Fellowship 1916.  Prison memoir of WW2 CO.
Record of British Objectors to War 1914-18. Clara Gilbert Cole. Co-operative Printing Society Ltd 1936.
Christadelphians and Military Service.   The London Standing Committee of Christadelphians 1918. Account of official Christadelphian arrangements for WW1 objection.
The Citizen faces War. Robert & Barbara Donington. Victor Gollancz Ltd 1936. Review of resistance in Britain to WW1.
Conscription 1917. Ed Cook. Ramsay, Craig Brown & Carl Berger. University of Toronto Press no date. Articles on aspects of Canadian WW1 conscription.
The Abolition of War. Keith Robbins. University of Wales Press 1976. The peace movement in Britain 1914-19, including overview of conscription & objection.
The Quakers on Peace and War. Margaret E. Hirst, MA .The Swarthmore Press Ltd. 1923. History of Quaker work for peace to 1918.
Ordeal by Battle. H.S. Oliver. Macmillan Abridged Ed 1916. Critique of conduct of WW1, including trenchant argument for National Service, i.e. permanent conscription.
We Will Not Fight. Will Ellsworth-Jones. Aurum Press 2008. Account of British WW1 conscientious objection, focussing particularly on Bert Brocklesby, one of the 35 sentenced to death, and his two brothers who volunteered for the army.
The Fortune. Douglas Goldring. Desmond Harmsworth 1931. Novel on reaction to WW1 in Britain,including friendship between a reluctant army volunteer and a CO; preface by Aldous Huxley and introduction by the author; the original 1917 edition was suppressed.
Faithful to Ourselves and the Outside World: York Quakers during the Twentieth Century. David Rubinstein. William Sessions 2000. 20th century Quaker activity in York, including accounts of conscientious objection in WW1 and WW2 with experiences of a number of named COs.
Yorkshire Friends in historical perspective: an introduction. David Rubinstein. Quacks Books 2005. Brief overview of Quaker history in Yorkshire, including account of conscientious objection in WW1 and WW2 with experiences of a number of named COs.


Breaking the fetters:The memoirs of Bob Stewart. B Stewart.
Incorrigible Rebel. A Horner.
Memoirs Of A Socialist Business Man. M I Lipman.
Remaining True: A Biography of Ness Edwards. David Wayne.
From Prison Cell to Council Chamber-The Life of Bagwell. P .Bgwell Joan Lawley.
A War of Individuals: Bloomsbury Attitudes to the Great War. Jonathan Atkins.
A Pacifist At War: Military Memoirs Of A Conscientious Objector In Palestine. Philip McNair.
Come Dungeons Dark: Life and Times of Guy Aldred, Glasgow Anarchist. John Taylor.
Labour is my faith. James Cluine.
Made free in prison. E Williamson Mason.




Refusing to Kill

While millions killed and died at the height of the First World War, tens of thousands men in Britain stood up for the right to refuse to kill other human beings. They believed there were better ways to deal with disputes than the slaughter of war. Many suffered terrible human rights abuses for their beliefs.
Refusing to Kill
follows the story of conscientious objectors through the First World War. From the moment they received call-up papers to the day they were released from prisons, army units and work camps they faced personal dilemmas, violence, humiliation and hardship. But they were admired by many.
Free associated teaching resources also avilable here
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