Special Events

Event Information:

  • Sat

    Book Launch: 'Who Does Want to Kill Anyone' WW1 Conscientious Objectors in Staffordshire & the Black Country

    10.00-12.00 Englesea Brook Chapel & Museum

    Launch of a new book 'Who Does Want to Kill Anyone', studying the specific appeals of those who sought exemption on the grounds of conscience and what happened to them afterwards.

    The authors Gerry Barton and John Babb will speak about their research, and what they discovered. The title of the book is taken from a question frequently asked at tribunals of those claiming a conscientious objection to military service

    Professor Sarah Lloyd, University of Hertfordshire, who has worked with Englesea Brook Museum to sponsor this project, will talk about what local studies are contributing to our knowledge of Conscientious Objectors.


    10.00    Coffee and tea available

    10.30    Welcome and introduction by Dr Jill Barber: ‘Mr Oliver Makes a Scene: His Ridiculous Protest

    10.40    Professor Sarah Lloyd, Hertfordshire University: ‘The Value of Local Studies for COs in WW1

    10.50    Talk by the authors, Gerry Barton and John Babb: ‘Who Does Want To Kill Anyone’ - the story of COs in Mid-  Staffordshire and the Black Country during the First World War 

    11.30    Book signing in the Chapel

    More about the book:

    Who Does Want To Kill Anyone” is an account of WW1 conscientious objection in Mid - Staffordshire and the Black country. It uses the Mid-Staffs Appeal Tribunal Papers from Stafford Record Office as its starting point. Such papers were usually destroyed, but these surviving papers contain the statements submitted by the conscientious objectors  and the response made by the tribunals, both the local tribunal and appeal tribunal. This information was supplemented by additional research in local newspapers,  National Archives and Quaker archives in Birmingham and London. The authors were helped in this research by many other volunteers involved in the Mid-Staffs Appeal Project at Stafford Record Office.

    The authors give a national perspective as well as explaining what happened locally in Staffordshire. The fate of the appellants after their tribunal has been followed up and we can see how their willingness “to pay any penalty” for refusing military service was tested. Using the words of the men themselves, the motivation underlying the refusal to serve is examined. The diverse responses of different religious groups and political objectors to the war are compared. This analysis is complemented by a series of personal stories which describe in detail the fate some of the individual conscientious objectors.

    The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support received from University of Hertfordshire Heritage Hub , Central England Quakers Black Country Fund, and the Jack Leighton Trust.