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John_Hartley

Conscience & War - an exhibition in Manchester

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John_Hartley

The exhibition tells the story of Manchester Quakers who resisted conscription. It's on at the Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, between 15/5 & 12/6. Free entry

They note that the exhibition may be closed on certain days due to other events and it'd be worth phoning before travelling - 0161 834 5797.

http://www.meetinghousemanchester.co.uk/latest-news/

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researchingreg

Thanks for posting this up. My great uncle Percy John Fordham 1071 was a conscientious objector, but was conscripted into the Eastern Non Combatant Corps 9 May 1916. However Manchester is a bit of a long way for me to travel to the exhibition.

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Bernard_Lewis

A Swansea Quaker, JO Watkins, opted for a Friend's Ambulance Unit instead of the military on conscription and won a Croix de Guerre for bringing in wounded French soldiers while under fire and gas attack.

Bernard

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Magnumbellum

Thanks for posting this up. My great uncle Percy John Fordham 1071 was a conscientious objector, but was conscripted into the Eastern Non Combatant Corps 9 May 1916. However Manchester is a bit of a long way for me to travel to the exhibition.

Percy Fordham was refused CO exemption by the Enfield Military Service Tribunal on 9 March 1916, but was exempted only from combatant service by the Middlesex County Appeal Tribunal on 11 April 1916.

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Magnumbellum

A Swansea Quaker, JO Watkins, opted for a Friend's Ambulance Unit instead of the military on conscription and won a Croix de Guerre for bringing in wounded French soldiers while under fire and gas attack.

Bernard

John Oliver Watkins (known as Oliver) served with the FAU, March 1916 - January 1919. He was required to obtain exemption from military service by application to the Swansea Military Service Tribunal.

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Bernard_Lewis

He did indeed appear before the Swansea MS Tribunal which granted him exemption provided he made good on his plan to join a FAU. His sniffy employers at the Swansea Corporation then decided to deny him the part pay normally allowed to those serving with the colours. But reconsidered when news of his award filtered through.

Bernard

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Magnumbellum

Thanks for the additional information. That kind of discrimination against COs even when undertaking a valuable form of alternative service was by no means unknown,

Oliver Watkins was not the only CO to be awarded the Croix de Guerre, but possibly the only one for whom it made a practical difference.

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Bernard_Lewis

Shortly after his return from the war Oliver resigned his position in the Borough Estate Agents office and set up on his own account. His estate agency was very well known in Swansea until fairly recent times. His Croix de Guerre and some other records reside in the West Glamorgan Archive Office in Swansea. I met his daughter there when helping the BBC (Wales) with a documentary which mentioned him.

Bernard

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Magnumbellum

Thanks for this further useful detail, including the comment that Oliver featured in a BBC Wales documentary. That sounds as though it may have been the same documentary recently mentioned to me as featuring a Welsh CO who had painted some significant picture, but my informant could not recall either the name of the CO or the picture - any suggestions?

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