Challenging Militarism


_h3. From The Tribunal 20th August 1916

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918. For further extracts go to:


The following is the experience of Mr. H. Gortem-
On Saturday, July 20, 1916, Selwyn Hayes, H. D. Hobart and myself, having completed a sentence of 119 days at Wandsworth Detention Barracks, were due for release. We were called before the Commandant separately, and he told us that he had received a letter from the War Office, and that two alternatives were open to him. He could either send us back to our depots and we should probably, on disobeying orders, get another sentence of 18 months, or we might be released on furlough for an indefinite period, provided we promised three things, vis.:

1) That when called upon we would appear before the Central Tribunal, the Army Authorities having asked that body to investigate our cases, if satisfied of the bona-fides of our convictions, to ask us to do work of national importance.

The three of us made if perfectly clear that the only work of national importance we were prepared to undertake would be of a reconstructive character. In reply to that, the Commandant stated that it was impossible for him to decide what would be considered work of national importance by that body, but that such questions must be settled between ourselves and the Tribunal.

2) We were to give our names and permanent addresses, and
3) Promise that in the event of the Tribunal rejecting our claims we would report at our depots.

We acceded to the above conditions, though we made it perfectly clear that in the case of reporting at our depots we could not obey military orders,

We were then released at three o’clock.

At two o’clock an escort had called for us, consisting of a sergeant and one man. I asked the escort if they had called for us, and the sergeant replied “Yes,” and were taking us back to Hounslow. We asked the corporal in charge of us at the time whether any alteration had been made to the Commandant’s instructions. He replied: “There is something special in your case,” and asked the sergeant of the escort to wait.

We then had to wait until the Commandant arrived, which was about 2.45. The Commandant handed a letter to the escort, whose scruples were satisfied, the letter being to the effect that we had been granted indefinite furlough, as related above.

The escort accompanied us to the gate; we shook hands with them, and departed.

Fly Kites Not Drones

Saturday, March 18, 2017 to Tuesday, March 21, 2017

NFPB members' meeting

Saturday, October 14, 2017

in Darlington. Contact the NFPB office for further information.

NFPB Members' meeting

Saturday, June 17, 2017

in Dumfries. Contact the NFPB office for further information


From the Tribunal, August 3 1916
_This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918. _
For further extracts go to:

Observing that it was a travesty of the English language to say that a man had not joined the Army was deemed to have done so, Mr. Hay Halkett, a Greenwich magistrate, allowed a member of N.C.F. to have a remand so as to have his case re-heard.

The many people who are asking after C.H. Norman will be pleased to hear rhat he was recently seen at Wormwood Scrubs by another C.O., whom he asked to let his friends know that he is considerably better in health where he is and being kindly treated by the warders.

Dr. Macnamara, speaking in the House on July 25, said that war was waste. Up to the moment of going to press he has not been summoned under the Defence of the Realm Act.

Rev. William Piggott, minister and warden of Blackfriars Mission, who is well known to members of the N.C.F. and the I.L.P., recently received a yellow form. The recruiting officer justified himself by saying that the registration authorities had given his name as a military conscript, and that by the latest “instructions” Unitarian ministers were not exepted, in spite of what the Military Service Act might say.

The Rev. Fred Hanlinson, of kentish Town Unitarian Church, received a similar notice, but in his case it was withdrawn with an apology. The vigorous Pacifist activities of these two ministers no doubt had something to do with the case.

A resolution has just been passed by the Parliamentary Committee of the Scottish Trade Union Congress “urging His Majesty’s Government to at once make an inquiry into the treatmet of conscientious objectors under military control.”

NFPB Update, February 2017

This is a first update from Northern Friends Peace Board for 2017. We intend to produce these updates at least four times during 2017, for Quakers Meetings in the North and other supporting and interested individuals and groups. Please get in touch if you wish to be added to our mailing list or to tell us of email or address changes.

Download this as a PDF

Recent and forthcoming meetings

Prisoners for Peace Day.

Peace News Summer Camp

Thursday, July 27, 2017 to Monday, July 31, 2017

Nr DISS, Norfolk. Peace News Summer Camp. Join people from across the broad spectrum of the British peace movement for five days of exploration, celebration and empowerment.

Disarmament Camp, Coulport

Saturday, July 8, 2017 to Sunday, July 16, 2017

Disarmament camp at Coulport in the West of Scotland. As the Global Nuclear Ban Treaty conference finishes in New York activists will gather to disrupt the Trident submarine bases at Faslane & Coulport. Contact Jane Tallents

Independence from America Day

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

MENWITH HILL. Details tba.


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