Conscientious Objector Events At Bristol Archives

The ‘Refusing To Kill – Bristol’s World War 1 Conscientious Objectors‘ exhibition has been at Bristol Archives since June 5th. Just as when it was shown elsewhere in the city, it has attracted lots of interest. It runs until July 14th. While including much of the material displayed previously there is plenty that is new – both from local archives and CO relatives. See Bristol Archives website here for opening hours and how to get there.

Two events are being held at the Archives alongside the exhibition

Saturday July 7th – 2pm – ‘Refusing To Kill‘, a talk linking the responses to World War 1 of Walter Ayles and Harry Patch. Walter Ayles, Bristol’s most prominent opponent of WW1, told his court-martial that ‘Slaughter Was No Remedy‘ before he was imprisoned as a conscientious objector; Harry Patch, the last surviving soldier to have fought in the WW1 trenches, said that ‘war was organised murder‘. This talk, illustrated with video, photographs and re-enactment will tell their stories. Speakers will be Lois Bibbings, Professor of Law, Gender & History at University of Bristol and local write and film-maker Colin Thomas.

There will be a chance to see the exhibtion both before (come early!) and after the talk.

Saturday July 14th

From 1 pm – the opportunity for a guided viewing of the exhibition

2 pm – ‘Taking a Holiday‘ puppet show by Otherstory Puppetry

In 1916, a man of conscription age who “took a holiday” was probably on the run from the military autorities. The show tells the amazing story of how a bike shop owner in Bedminster aided runaways who refused to kill. If you’ve seen an earlier version of this show you will know how good it is. Come again, the show has developed over recent weeks with plenty of new additions.

3-4 pm – A workshop: Who Refused to Kill? Led by Professor Lois Bibbings, University of Bristol and Remembering the Real WW1 exploring how you might do your own research into conscientious objection and histories of resistance

The event is free, but please book on EventBrite here or by telephone on 07501 614256

The venue is accessible to wheelchair users.

For more information on these events email

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