November talk – The Conscientious Objectors of Oxfordshire

In 1916 the Military Service Act enforced universal conscription into the armed forces for the first time in British history.  16,000 men in Britain became the first ever conscientious objectors, and were reviled and brutalized as a result.   Above conscientious objectors in Dartmoor prison camp.


They had little in common, but shared an extraordinary determination to stand up to authority and peer pressure in defence of their principles.


It took considerable courage and soul-searching to make the decision to stand outside the mainstream , risking isolation,social ostracism, loss of employment, abuse, brutality and even prison, because of a profound belief that war, militarism and killing were wrong.

March and April 1916 saw a drama played out in the towns of Oxfordshire; a struggle for the hearts and minds of the public, between those men whose conscience prevented them taking part in the war, and the government that needed their manpower.

Join historian Sue Smith to hear about the Tribunals in 1916, and the stories of some objectors of Oxfordshire with very different backgrounds –

Harry Waddle, apprentice printer and Ted Hoare, student at Oxford, and learn how their social class and education played an important role in what happened to them.


Sue Smith’s talk is based on a dissertation for her Masters degree in Oxford.  Her father was a conscientious objector in the second world war, in the Friends Ambulance Unit.

Thursday 9th November at 7.30pm

Live at the Museum and online via our Live-stream platform

Buy your ticket HERE