Slaughter No Remedy

Walter Ayles (left) with other leaders of the No-Conscription Ferllowship in April 1916
Walter Ayles (left) with other leaders of the No-Conscription Fellowship in April 1916

I cannot and will not kill”

Date: Sunday 26th June
Bristol Register Office, Corn Street, BS1 1JG
Map: Here

Tickets are free but there will be a collection on the day to help cover expenses

Space is limited so book soon at this Eventbrite link

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Exactly 100 years on and in the same room where it took place, a re-enactment of the controntation between Walter Ayles, Bristol’s leading opponent of conscription and World War One, and Lieutenant-Colonel Burges, first commanding officer of Bristol’s Own, at a Military Service Tribunal.


Walter Ayles – Adam Church
Bertha Ayles – Stephanie Weston
Alderman Swaish – John Bassett
Lt.Col. Burges – Michael Macmahon
Joseph Astle – Roger Ball

Under the Military Service Act which introduced conscription in 1916, men were allowed to appeal to a Military Service Tribunal to be exempted. Some appealed for family or work reasons; others because they opposed the war for moral, religious or political reasons. The Act specified that an appellant could make a statement and call witnesses. In fact, most cases were summarily dismissed by the tribunal and the men handed over to the military. Walter Ayles’ confidence and standing in the community meant he got a full hearing. Fellow members of the Independent Labour Party took a full transcript of the hearing and published it shortly afterwards. This forms the basis of the re-enactment.

916 address optional!!

For more about Walter Ayles see postings on our website here.

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