#whitefeather diaries

Stories of conscience

Stories of conscience explores the dilemmas facing those who followed their conscience in response to World War I. Using original and archive material, students of Bootham School York and relatives of WWI conscientious objectors tell the stories of ordinary people confronted by the decision to fight, volunteer for alternative service or register a conscientious objection to military service. 

Featuring the stories of:
Egbert Cadbury
Laurence Cadbury
Roderick Clark
Andrew Fox
Theodore Fox
Norman Gaudie
Ted Tawell
Nancy Tennant
Harold Wild

Section 1 (00:00-16:27): Divison amongst Quakers

      i.        Epistle of London Yearly Meeting, 1915.

     ii.        Ted Tawell and his involvement with the Friends Ambulance Unit. As told by his great-nephew Nicholas Evens.

    iii.        Letters from Laurence Cadbury, a founding member of the FAU.

   iv.        Letters from Egbert Cadbury, a pilot with the Royal Naval Air Service.

Section 2 (16:28-32:44): A generation that was never young 

      i.        Nancy Tennant, extract from Memories of the First World War.

     ii.        Norman Gaudie and his experience as an absolutist conscientious objector. As told by his daughter-in-law Marjorie Gaudie.

    iii.        Letters from Andrew Fox. He first served in the Royal Army Medical Corps, before taking a commission in the Prince of Wales’s (North Staffordshire) Regiment.

Section 3 (32:45-50:37): Acting on conscience

      i.        Theodore Fox, extract from First World War memoir.

     ii.        Roderick Clark, active peace campaigner and conscientious objector. Story told by his son Kendall Clark.

    iii.        Minute of London Yearly Meeting, 1916, on the introduction of the Military Service Bill.

   iv.        Diary extracts from Harold Wild, conscientious objector.

A CD of this recording is also available free; email elizabethp@quaker.org.uk to request a copy.

Related Materials

This teaching resource uses original letters and photographs about the Friends Ambulance Unit. It offers relevant historical information to help children think carefully about the past.

This teaching resource uses original letters, leaflets and photographs about conscientious objection. It offers relevant historical information to help children think carefully about the past.

Screenshot of Watford's quiet heroes film

Watford Quakers tell the dramatic and largely forgotten stories of some of the men who refused to fight in WWI.

Man in uniform shouting at man not in uniform

We will not fight is a short play. It tells the story of Bert Brocklesby's experience as a conscientious objector.

Taking a stand in WWI

This short film tells the story of an almost forgotten gathering of conscientious objectors in World War I.

WWI newspapers featuring historic and original articles. 1914, 1915 and 1916 editions available to download or order a free hard copy.

A timeline of WWI events from 1914 to 1918. Available to view online or download as a PDF.

'A Subtle Resistance: Scraps from a Bootham Diary in the Great War' is a play by Bootham School York.

This introduction was delivered on 15 May 2014 at the launch of the Quakers in Britain World War I project.

These moving films give a chance for ordinary people to tell their personal story, accompanied by old photographs and illustrations from the period. Each of the six films lasts less than five minutes and can be watched separately or as a series.