‘Refusing To Kill’ – Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors

From Saturday September 9th, the Remembering The Real World War 1 group are presenting an exhibition ‘Refusing To Kill – Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors‘ in Bristol Cathedral on College Green. The exhibition will run until early January.

Over 350 men from the Bristol area refused to fight in World War 1. They claimed the status of conscientious objector for moral, religious or political reasons. Some agreed to take non-military roles. Others spent much of the war in prison, often under harsh conditions.

A largely untold part of Bristol’s World War 1 history – this exhibition tells the stories of these men and the people in the city who supported them. Rarely seen documents will be displayed together with photographs, letters from COs and artefacts.

The exhibition will look at Why Conscription Was Introduced; What was a CO; Attitudes to COs – from government, churches, military, public; Local Networks Of Support; and the Long Term Effect of WW1 COs up to present day.

You can help publicise the exhibition by liking/sharing the Facebook page at 
https://www.facebook.com/RefusingtoKillBristolWW1COs/

There are printed flyers. If you know of anywhere they can be used please email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

For Cathedral opening times see https://bristol-cathedral.co.uk/visit-us/opening-hours/

Alongside the exhibition there will be a series of talks, drama and musical events. Details of these will be available soon.

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

The Somme – From Both Sides Of The Wire

British Soldiers ‘Going Over the Top’ At The Battle Of The Somme

Apologies for postponement from last month. The event details are now:

Date: Mon 3rd July, 2017
Time: 8:00 pm
Venue: The Cube, Dove Street South, Bristol, BS2 8JD
Price: £5/£4
Map & Directions: http://www.cubecinema.com/about/directions/

Tickets can be booked on the Cube website at
http://www.cubecinema.com/programme/event/the-somme-1916-from-both-sides-of-the-wire,9377/

This BBC series, shown last year, used original research in German military archives to look at long-standing assumptions and prevailing myths about the what happened in the most iconic battle of the First World War. We are showing the final programme, End Game which questions the broadly accepted idea that the Somme campaign was the ‘decisive victory’, British Commander in Chief Douglas Haig claimed it to be. It examines the revealingly different military cultures of the British and Germany armies, not just in terms of their contrasting tactics but in their attitudes to military discipline, showing how the British executed more than ten times as many deserters as the Germans.

The film will be introduced by Michael Poole, its executive producer, who recently retired from the BBC. He was the executive producer and often the initiator of an impressive list of arts and documentary programmes including ‘Empire of the Tsars’, ‘Being the Brontes’ and the long running ‘Timeshift’ series.

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

POSTPONED – The Somme 1916: From Both Sides of the Wire

British Soldiers ‘Going Over the Top’ At The Battle Of The Somme

PLEASE NOTE THIS EVENT IS UNAVOIDABLY POSTPONED FROM JUNE 5TH.

THE NEW DATE IS PROBABLY JULY 3RD. FULL DETAILS WILL BE POSTED HERE SOON.

Any queries please email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

Date: Mon 5th Jun, 2017
Time: 8:00 pm
Venue: The Cube, Dove Street South, Bristol, BS2 8JD
Price: £4/£3
Map & Directions: http://www.cubecinema.com/about/directions/

This BBC series, shown last year, used original research in German military archives to look at long-standing assumptions and prevailing myths about the what happened in the most iconic battle of the First World War. We are showing the final programme, End Game which questions the broadly accepted idea that the Somme campaign was the ‘decisive victory’, British Commander in Chief Douglas Haig claimed it to be. It examines the revealingly different military cultures of the British and Germany armies, not just in terms of their contrasting tactics but in their attitudes to military discipline, showing how the British executed more than ten times as many deserters as the Germans.

The film will be introduced by Michael Poole, its executive producer, who recently retired from the BBC. He was the executive producer and often the initiator of an impressive list of arts and documentary programmes including ‘Empire of the Tsars’, ‘Being the Brontes’ and the long running ‘Timeshift’ series.

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

Sylvia Pankhurst, ‘The Dreadnought’ and the Great War

Sylvia Pankhurst

This meeting has been re-arranged from last November, when John Newsinger was unable to come due to illness.

Although her mother Emmeline and sister Christabel were vocal supporters of World War 1, Sylvia Pankhurst’s newspaper ‘ The Dreadnought’ was the most consistently anti-war publication. It not only opposed the global conflict but condemned the crushing of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland, supported the 1917 Russian Revolution and campaigned for a revolution in Britain. Come and hear more about her life and her part in resisting the war.

Date: Thursday 25th May, 2017
Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Venue: The Hydra Bookshop, 34 Old Market, Bristol, BS2 0EZ
Map: Here
Price: Donation
Speaker: John Newsinger

Professor John Newsinger is the author of numerous books including The Blood Never Dried: A People’s History of the British Empire (2006)Fighting Back: The American Working Class in the 1930s (2012) and most recently The Revolutionary Journalism of Big Bill Haywood: On the Picket Line with the IWW (2016).

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

Spies And Troublemakers

 

The Tsar Goes Up In Flames – February 1917

This month sees the centenary of one of the key events of World War 1, the February Revolution in Russia. Unrest broke out among soldiers at the front and civilians at home. The Tsar abdicated and the Provisional Government under Kerensky was installed. There were demands for the war to be ended. Britain and France were desperate for their Russian ally to carry on the war. Intense pressure was exerted on Kerensky to keep Russia in the war.

On this centenary Aled Eirug is giving a talk considering the impact of these world changing events on the Welsh people. Aled is the former head of news and current affairs at BBC Wales and is writing a book on Welsh opposition to the First World War.

Date: Thursday 23rd February 2017 
Time: 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm 
Venue: The Hydra Bookshop, 34 Old Market, Bristol, BS2 0EZ
MapHere
Price: Donation 
Speaker: Aled Eirug

In 1917 in Britain, one of the government’s worst nightmares was developing. There had always been a ‘hard-core’ of opposition to the war on political, moral & religious grounds. Over the course of the war this opposition had developed as conscription was introduced. It began to be joined by industrial militancy as working conditions came under attack. With the February Revolution those opposed to the war could see an alternative and a way for the war to end. The authorities understood the threat this posed to Britain’s place in the war.

Aled’s talk reveals the activities of the British intelligence services in South Wales during the First World War, and examines their concern for the region’s threatening cocktail of industrial and social militancy and opposition to the war .From January 1916, the newly formed MI5 rapidly expanded in an attempt to combat the influence of a subversive combination of pacifism, socialism and industrial militancy. As the German threat from spies and espionage receded, the intelligence agencies re-directed their zeal at combating the enemy within. Aled studies the growth of the intelligence agencies in an industrial and labour context, highlights the monitoring activities and organisation of the intelligence services in south Wales, and considers the anti-war campaign that reached its height in 1917 bringing together under the banner of subversion, a toxic mix of support for the Russian Revolution, opposition to the war, and demand for workers’ control.

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor honours Bristol peace campaigner

A courageous socialist and peace campaigner” – that’s how Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell describes Walter Ayles, Bristol’s most prominent opponent of the First World War and former MP for Bristol North. McDonnell is MP for Hayes and Harlington, the constituency for which Ayles was elected in 1950

At 3.30 pm on Thursday February 16th John McDonnell will visit 12 Station Road Ashley Down, BS7 9LB, the former home of Walter Ayles who was imprisoned in 1916 for his opposition to the war. In April 2016 the Bristol Remember the Real World War One Group unveiled a plaque on his home.

The Bristol Radical History Group has just published “Slaughter No Remedy”, a short biography of Walter Ayles with an introduction by John McDonnell. In it Ayles is quoted as saying: “Because horrible outrages and ghastly crimes have been committed by others, that is no reason why I too should kill and maim and destroy…Hate cannot be destroyed by hate. It can only be transformed by love.”

Join us there on Thursday February 16th if you can.

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

‘Slaughter No Remedy’ – The Film

"Slaughter No Remedy" - Walter Ayles Appears Before The Military Tribunal
“Slaughter No Remedy” – Walter Ayles Appears Before The Military Tribunal

Earlier this year we unveiled a blue plaque at the house of Walter Ayles, Bristol’s most prominent opponent of World War 1 and re-enacted his appearance before a Military Tribunal to claim conscientious objector status.

UWE documentary film students have used film from these events along with other footage to tell the Walter’s story. The film will get its first showing (sorry, no red carpet) as part of our Film Night on Monday December 5th at the Cube Cinema at 8pm

The full programme for the evening is

Imprisoned For His Conscience” – a tape/slideshow about Welsh conscientious objector Jenkin William James

Whatever The Penalties” – a film by Simon Colbeck on the stand made by conscientious objectors in 1916

Slaughter No Remedy” – a film by UWE documentary students on Bristol conscientious objector Walter Ayles

The Last Dawn” – a film by Colin Thomas on Welsh and Canadian soldiers shot by the British Army during the First World War

Not In Our Name” – a film from Campaign Against the Arms Trade on recent resistance to an arms factory in Northern Ireland

Unseen March” – a film about the government’s attempts to increase military involvement in our schools today

After the films there will be a panel discussion with Professor Lois Bibbings, an historian of conscientious objectors, Ben Griffin of Veterans for Peace and documentary film makers Colin Thomas & Ben Pike.

Full details about the Cube and how to book tickets are on their website – here. Directions to the Cube – here

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

CANCELLED – Sylvia Pankhurst, ‘The Dreadnought’ and the Great War

Sylvia Pankhurst
Sylvia Pankhurst

The event below has been concelled due to illness. It will be re-arranged at a later date

Although her mother Emmeline and sister Christabel were vocal supporters of World War 1, Sylvia Pankhurst’s newspaper ‘ The Dreadnought’ was the most consistently anti-war publication. It not only opposed the global conflict but condemned the crushing of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland, supported the 1917 Russian Revolution and campaigned for a revolution in Britain. Come and hear more about her life and her part in resisting the war.

Date: Thursday 24th November, 2016
Time: 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Venue: The Hydra Bookshop, 34 Old Market, Bristol, BS2 0EZ
Map: Here
Price: Donation
Speaker: John Newsinger

Professor John Newsinger is the author of numerous books including The Blood Never Dried: A People’s History of the British Empire (2006)Fighting Back: The American Working Class in the 1930s (2012) and most recently The Revolutionary Journalism of Big Bill Haywood: On the Picket Line with the IWW (2016).

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com

Wreath Laid for Bristol’s Deserter

Wreath Laid For Alfred Jefferies - November 1st 2016
Wreath Laid For Alfred Jefferies – November 1st 2016

Over sixty people came to The Dings Park in St Philips, Bristol on November 1st to remember Alfred Jefferies, the only man from Bristol to be shot for desertion in World War 1, and his brother Arthur who was killed in action. The park is a short distance from where the brothers lived before they volunteered to join the army.

November 1st was the centenary of Alfred’s execution. The ceremony began with the reading of a quote from a soldier who served in the same battalion as the Jefferies brothers which referred to Alfred’s execution, saying no-one would remember him. One hundred years later the gathering in the park was specifically to remember Alfred.

After several brief speeches and a minute’s silence, the Last Post was played. Then David Jefferies, Alfred’s great-great-nephew and Arthur’s great-grandson, laid a wreath and a sign was attached to the park railings in memory of the two brothers.

The Remembering The Real World War 1 group are proud to have moved Alfred Jefferies from being a forgotten name to being part of Bristol’s public history. His name should never be forgotten again.

Sign Erected For Alfred & Arthur Jefferies - November 1st 2016
Sign Erected For Alfred & Arthur Jefferies – November 1st 2016

Media coverage of the event can be seen at

BBC Points West – here – about 15 minutes in

ITV West – here

Bristol Post – here

Bristol 24/7 – here

(The BBC & ITV links may not work for long – so view them soon!)

For more information email rememberingrealww1@gmail.com