Gransnet forums


Conscientious objectors

(31 Posts)
CharlotteGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 05-Sep-13 09:41:35

For many of the "conchies" Sophie Hardach interviewed for her new book, it was their first chance to tell their stories. Sophie asks, "Are we ready to listen?"

Mishap Thu 05-Sep-13 09:53:01

This looks fascinating.

thatbags Thu 05-Sep-13 11:10:29

Yes. I need to read this book.

Grannyknot Thu 05-Sep-13 16:10:17

I'd love to read the book. South Africa also had "conchies" (although I didn't know that term then) during the border wars in the 1970s.

merlotgran Thu 05-Sep-13 16:55:36

I've ordered the kindle edition. This will be interesting.

PRINTMISS Thu 05-Sep-13 16:57:32

Does anyone know how to find out if someone was a conscientious objector? I have no idea what my Dad did in the 1st world war, it was always treated as something of a joke/not talked about, and he neve ever discussed his life,but I suspect he did not serve at all - he lived on the edge of the law, so nothing would really surprise me. He was a lovely dad, I was the light of his life.

MaryXYX Thu 05-Sep-13 17:14:03

I could see myself refusing combat training but volunteering for something like the medical corps. I would have a lot of respect for anyone who did something like that.

On the other hand there were a number of people who helped the enemy by refusing to do anything and tied up the police and/or troops required to keep them locked up.

Which variety are we talking about?

gillybob Thu 05-Sep-13 17:22:28

A family story passed down was that my granddads mum bragged that her husband (my grandads step father) had won a commendation medal in the Great War. My grandad was always a little suspicious and shortly before my grandad died I helped him trace some old army records. It turned out that the "commendation " he had received was in fact a DD (dishonourable discharge) shock which really put a smile on my grandads face as he was very badly treated by him as a young boy.

merlotgran Thu 05-Sep-13 17:23:03

I thought a true CO also refused to do any work that would release a man or woman for active service. Surely that would include land and medical work?

Nonu Thu 05-Sep-13 17:27:38

Hello mary , long time no see, how are you doing?

Ariadne Thu 05-Sep-13 17:42:21

That is a good question, Mary, and one I hadn't considered. I wonder if those who were imprisoned felt that doing anything in the conflict meant, to them, that they were still aiding and abetting it. But your point about such people tying up resources makes sense. Mmm.

cazz19 Thu 05-Sep-13 20:37:34

book sounds so interesting. my daughter consciously objected to doing cadets at school and was practically made to feel like she was a villain because she hates war and does not like it to be promoted as a game .shes been brought up as good as anyone can do but all decisions are hers to make not for me or others to condemn

PRINTMISS Fri 06-Sep-13 08:23:33

A good friend of ours refused to join any of the forces for his 'National Service' (1940/50's era) and so was 'constrcipted' into the Forestry Commission (if that was working then) for two years, something he was happy to do. He was also an avid CID member and imprisoned for a few months for sitting outside the Houses of Parliament.

annodomini Fri 06-Sep-13 09:11:49

I hope you mean CND, PRINTMISS!

AlieOxon Fri 06-Sep-13 09:35:13

Sometimes, of course, a very few of them were both.....

PRINTMISS Fri 06-Sep-13 12:10:57

Yes of course annodomini it was a long while ago, and I think I got carried away there. I do remember him as being a very gentle man. Wish I could remember his name - should never have started this conversation!

girlracer Fri 13-Sep-13 10:27:27

Why would ANYONE go to war? I just can't understand it. I refuse to buy a poppy each year, simple propaganda. Why do people still talk about the war(s)? Have they never done anything in the ensuing 70 odd years that is worth talking about? If there had been a war here in my lifetime, I would have certainly been a "conchie". Why can't we all just live in peace?

Heather84 Fri 13-Sep-13 12:37:38

My father was a Conscientious Objector in World War II. His subsequent experience of rejection and hatred led to what was then called a nervous breakdown and ruined the rest of his life. He always suffered from depression and found most social occasions difficult. Sadly, his religious faith, which had led to his refusing to take up arms, did not sustain him.

After appearing before a tribunal, Conscientious Objectors were directed to war work of various kinds- the alternative was prison.

When the war was over it was very difficult for CO's to get, or hold on, to work as preference was always given to ex-service personnel.

I shall read this book with interest.

Greatnan Fri 13-Sep-13 13:36:41

girlracer - what would you suggest a country should do when threatened with invasion by another country that wants to extend its own lands and power? Lie down and let their tanks roll over you?
Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. There are neo-Nazi groups in many parts of Europe, including Britain.

Penstemmon Fri 13-Sep-13 13:58:50

Whilst it would be ideal if diplomacy secured peace when disagreements across countries arose there are always going to be situations where some show of force is the only solution.

However I do agree that 11th November should be a memorial day but think it should not be about the 'glory' of conflict or jingoism but a sad reminder that, unless we work hard at diplomacy and negotiation, untimely death of mostly young men and women is the outcome.

Penstemmon Fri 13-Sep-13 13:59:35

oh I meant to say it sounds like a very interesting book.

Sel Fri 13-Sep-13 13:59:39

That's very sad Heather84, it must have impacted on your family enormously. Your father was a brave man to stand up for his beliefs, courage of a different kind. My father detested his time in the Army during the war and suffered from the effects for the rest of his life. I think many managed to get into a reserved occupation to avoid conscription, certainly where I grew up they were talked about afterwards with a sort of contempt. I never heard contempt expressed for COs.

girlracer many wars are futile I agree. Perhaps you'd prefer we were now living under German rule?

Greatnan Fri 13-Sep-13 14:16:45

I don't think the Bevin Boys, who had to work in the mines, were despised. Certainly there were influential parents who managed to keep their offspring out of the front line.
No rational person wants war but sometimes it is thrust upon us.

Aka Fri 13-Sep-13 14:41:34

Bevin Boys were conscripted to work in the coal mines. Ten percent of those conscripted aged 18–25 were selected for this service.

AlieOxon Fri 13-Sep-13 17:58:04

Why wasn't mining considered as a reserved occupation? Seems a bit of a mistake there!
My dad was an industrial chemist working for ICI and he was....ICI of course was doing a lot of war work then. To make up for not being in the forces he was a special policeman, often on night work after his day work!