the men who said no


CO Books



Some of these books are available in our archive. | contact

General Introduction [GI]
Auto/Bio graphy [AB]
Regional [R]
Fiction [F]
Key Texts [K]


Refusing to Kill. Oliver Haslam et al. British WW1 objection, with reference to human rights. Online study and teaching resources for primarily for secondary school pupils. Peace Pledge Union. 2020
The Hound of Conscience: A history of the No-Conscription Fellowship 1914-1919. Thomas Kennedy. 1937. [K]
Conscription and Conscience: A History 1916-1919. John W. Graham. George Allen & Unwin Ltd 1922. First history of WW1 objection. [K]
Objection Overruled. David Boulton. MacGibbon & Kee Ltd 1967. Best history of WW1 objection. [GI] [K]
Conscience & Politics: The British Government and the Conscientious Objector to Military Service 1916-1919. John Rae. Oxford University Press 1970.
Troublesome People: Enemies of War 1916-1986. Caroline Moorehead. Hamish Hamilton 1987. [GI]
Comrades in Conscience: The story of an English community's opposition to the Great War. Cyril Pearce. Francis Boutle. 2014. [R] [K]
Don't be a Soldier: The Radical Anti-war Movement in North London 1914-1918. Ken Weller. Journeyman 1985. [R]
These Strange Criminals. Ed: Peter Brock. University of Toronto Press 2004 Anthology of prison memoirs by COs in both WWs.
We Will Not Cease. Archibald Baxter. The Caxton Press, NZ 1968. Memoir of a New Zealand WW1 CO shipped to France and badly mistreated. [AB]
We Did Not Fight. Ed: Julian Bell. Cobden Sanderson 1935.
Troublesome People: No-Conscription Fellowship Souvenir.1919. Resume of NCF work and COs’ experiences.
Letters of a Prisoner: For Conscience Sake. Corder Catchpool. George Allen and Unwin Ltd 1941 Letters home from imprisoned Quaker WW1 CO. [AB]
Opponents of war: 1917-1918. H.C. and Gilbert C. Fite Peterson. University of Washington Press 1968.Account of US WW1 objection.
Conscription Conflict. Denis Hayes. Sheppard Press 1949. Account of struggle for and against conscription in first half of 20thC Britain.
A Question of Conscience. Felicity Goodall. Sutton Publishing 1997. [GI]
Friends and the War. Headley Brothers [1914]. Addresses delivered at a Conference of Members of the Society of Friends and others, held at Llandudno, 25-30/9/14. [K]
Conscientious Objectors: 1916 to the Present Day. Peter Chrisp. 1988. Overview of British objection primarily for school use; illustrated.
Forty Years and an Epilogue: An Autobiography (1881-1951). Stephen Hobhouse. 1951. Autobiography of imprisoned WW1 Quaker CO. [AB]
On Two Fronts: Letters of a Conscientious Objector. Corder Catchpool. 1918 Letters from WW1 Quaker CO who began with FAU but became absolutist on introduction of conscription. [AB]
Indomitable Friend: Corder Catchpool 1883-1952. William R. Hughes 1956 Biography of prominent Quaker absolutist CO. [AB]
Decision by Default: Peter Dennis. Routledge & Kegan Paul 1972. Peacetime conscription and British ‘defence’ 1919-39.
Soul of a Skunk. George Baker. Scholartis Press 1930. Autobiography of socialist absolutist WW1 CO. [AB]
'I Appeal unto Caesar': the case of the conscientious objector. Margaret Hobhouse. 1917. Detailed account by the mother of Stephen Hobhouse, CO, of harsh treatment of WW1 COs. [AB]
The Abolition of War: the 'Peace Movement' in Britain 1914-19. Keith Robbins. University of Wales Press 1976.
'Handed Over' Scott Duckers. J C W Daniel Limited 1916. Prison experiences of a WW1 solicitor CO. [AB]
Hard Lines!. And other stories, grave and gay. W.J. Chamberlain. The Blackfriars Press Ltd 1926. Mainly fictional sketches but includes eye-witness account of the death in prison of Paul Gillan, WW1 CO.
Friends of Alice Wheeldon. Sheila Rowbotham. Pluto Press. 1986.
The Men who Dared. Stanley B. James. C W Daniel Ltd [1917]. Account of treatment of British WW1 COs.
Plowing My Own Furrow. Howard W. Moore. W. W. Norton & Co 1985. [AB] Autobiography of US WW1 CO.
The Suffragette Movement. Sylvia Pankhurst. Virago Press. 1988.
The Home Front A Mirror to Life in England During the First World War. Sylvia Pankhurst. Ebury Press. 1987.
A CO in Prison. W. J. Chamberlain. No-Conscription Fellowship 1916.Prison memoir of WW2 CO. [AB]
Record of British Objectors to War 1914-18. Clara Gilbert Cole. Co-operative Printing Society Ltd 1936.
Christadelphians and Military Service. The London Standing Committee of Christadelphians 1918. Account of official Christadelphian arrangements for WW1 objection. [K]
The Citizen faces War. Robert & Barbara Donington. Victor Gollancz Ltd 1936. Review of resistance in Britain to WW1.
Conscription 1917. Ed Cook. Ramsay, Craig Brown & Carl Berger. University of Toronto Press. Canadian WW1 conscription.
The Quakers on Peace and War. Margaret E. Hirst. The Swarthmore Press Ltd. 1923.
Inside the Left: Thirty Years of Platform, Press, Prison and Parliament. Fenner Brockway. 1947. [AB]
Ordeal by Battle. H.S. Oliver. Macmillan Abridged Ed 1916. Critique of conduct of WW1.
We Will Not Fight. Will Ellsworth-Jones. Aurum Press 2008. [F]
The Fortune. Douglas Goldring. 1931. Novel on reaction to WW1 in Britain, including friendship between a reluctant army volunteer and a CO; preface by Aldous Huxley; the original 1917 edition was suppressed. [F]
Faithful to Ourselves and the Outside World. David Rubinstein. 2000. [R]
Yorkshire Friends in historical perspective: an introduction. David Rubinstein. Quacks Books 2005. [R]
Communities of Resistance Conscience and Dissent in Britain During the First World War Cyril Pearce. Francis Boutle. 2021. [R] [K]
Against-the-Tide: War Resistance in South London 1914-16. JH Taylor. 2017. [R]
A Fight to the Finish: War Resistance in South London and Beyond 1917-19. 2021. [R]
The Opposition to the Great War in Wales 1914-1918. Aled Eirug. University of Wales. 2018. [R] [K]
Managing Domestic Dissent in First World War Britain. Brock Millman. Frank Cass. 2000
Against the Draft. Peter Brock. University of Toronto Press. 2006. [K]
Not in Our Name: War Dissent in a Welsh Town. Philip Adams. 2015. [R]
Daring to Defy: Port Talbot’s War Resistance 1914-1918. Philip Adams. [R]
Objectors and Resisters: Opposition to Conscription and War in Scotland 1914-18. Robert Duncan. 2015. [R]
Uncovering Resistance: Leicester and Leicestershire in World War One. LMCC. 2015. [R]
Telling Tales About Men: Conceptions of Conscientious Objectors to Military Service During the First World War. Lois S Bibbings. Manchester University Press. 2009.
Bible Student Conscientious Objectors in World War 1 Britain. Gary Perkins. 2016. [K]
Who Does Want To Kill Anyone: Conscientious Objectors in Mid-Staffordshire. Gerry Barton and John Babb. 2018. [R]
Ring Out the Thousand Wars of Old: Forest Dean conscientious objectors in WW1. Ian Wright. 2018 [R]
Without the Camp. Frank G. Jannaway. 1917. [K]
The Conscription Controversy in Great Britain 1900 – 18. R.J.Q Adams & Philip P. Poirier. 1987.
Conscientious Objectors of the First World War. Ann Kramer. 2014. [GI]
No More Soldiering: Conscientious objectors of The First World War. Stephen Wade. 2016. [GI]
Comrades in Conscience: English Community’s opposition to the Great War. Cyril Pearce. Francis Boutle. 2014. [R] [K]
Courage of Conscience: Imagined Voices of Derbyshire’s WW1 Conscientious Objectors. Ed River Wolton. 2016. [R]
A Cloak of Conscience: Dyce Work Camp. Joyce A. Walker. 2011. [R]
The Captive Conscience. John Botten. 2002.
Legacies of Resistance to the First World War. Archie Campbell, Brian Larkin. WEA. 2017. [R]

Breaking the fetters: The memoirs of Bob Stewart. B Stewart. 1967. [AB]
Incorrigible Rebel. A Horner. 1960. [AB]
Memoirs Of a Socialist Business Man. M I Lipman. 1980. [AB]
Remaining True: A Biography of Ness Edwards. David Wayne. 2006.[AB]
Prison Cell to Council Chamber-The Life of Bagwell. P. Bgwell Joan Lawley. 1994. [AB]
A War of Individuals: Bloomsbury Attitudes to the Great War. Jonathan Atkins. 2002.[AB]
A Pacifist at War: Military Memoirs of a Conscientious Objector in Palestine. Philip McNair. [AB]
Come Dungeons Dark: Life and Times of Guy Aldred, Glasgow Anarchist. John Taylor. 1988. [AB]
Labour is my faith. James Cluine. [AB]
Made free in prison. E Williamson Mason. 1918. [AB]
John S Clarke: parliamentarian, poet, lion-tamer. Raymond Challinor Pluto Press 1977. [AB]
Conchies: Payne Brothers. Andy Ward. 2014. [AB]
Smoky Crusade. R.M. Fox. 1937. [AB]
Fighting for Peace. W.J. Chamberlain. 1928. [AB]
Bermondsey Story. Fenner Brockway. 1951. [AB]


Refusing to Kill

While millions killed and died at the height of the First World War, tens of thousands men in Britain stood up for the right to refuse to kill other human beings. They believed there were better ways to deal with disputes than the slaughter of war. Many suffered terrible human rights abuses for their beliefs.
Refusing to Kill
follows the story of conscientious objectors through the First World War. From the moment they received call-up papers to the day they were released from prisons, army units and work camps they faced personal dilemmas, violence, humiliation and hardship. But they were admired by many.
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