“I cannot and will not kill”
Date: Sunday 26th June
Venue: Bristol Register Office, Corn Street, BS1 1JG
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.
1916 address optional!!