Conscientious Objectors in World War One: Talk at Central Library

Calderdale Council

A talk at the Central Library, Halifax will give insight into Calderdale’s conscientious objectors in the First World War.

On Tuesday 19 May from 12.30-1.30pm, local historian John Rhodes will give the latest in the series of Central Library’s free talks on the First World War, on ‘Calderdale’s Conscientious Objectors, 1915-18’.

John has done extensive research using local newspapers, the Marshall Archive in Cumbria, the Liddle Collection at The University of Leeds and material in the National Archives and will deliver a talk on those men who objected to the War and refused to fight. 

After the Government introduced conscription for all single men, in 1916, thousands of men sought exemption. The talk tells the story of those 200 local men who refused to fight on the grounds of conscience.  What they had in common was a refusal to be brow-beaten into war.  What separated them were the reasons for their refusal.  From devout Christians to revolutionary socialists these men argued their cases in front of the Military Service Tribunals set up to hear their cases. 

Hear about the different outcomes that followed their attendance at tribunals, including a recorded reconstruction of one local hearing. 

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Marcus Thompson, said:  

“This talk is a great opportunity for people to find out more about those in the local area who opposed the war on the grounds of conscience, to learn about their reasons and what happened to them as a result.” 

The free talk will take place at the Central Library, Halifax on Tuesday 19 May from 12.30 to 1.30pm. You should be able just to turn up on the day, but to avoid disappointment, it is advisable to book a place by ringing 01422 392631 or emailing

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