#whitefeather diaries

We will not fight

We will not fight is a play in five scenes commissioned by Commemorating Peacemakers Oxford, and produced by UnderConstruction Theatre. The play tells the story of Bert Brocklesby, one of our white feather diarists.

Bert applies for exemption at a Military Service Tribunal. He pleads on conscientious grounds that the war is contrary to Christian teaching and refuses to fight. Bert was taken to France and sentenced to death for refusing to obey orders – but at the last minute, thanks to the intervention of vigilant Members of Parliament, the sentence was commuted to imprisonment with hard labour. After the war Bert cannot return to his old life as a lay preacher, his fiancée breaks off their engagement, but he keeps his faith and hope, going on to help refugees in post-war Vienna.

UnderConstruction Theatre produced a powerful recreation of these key events in Bert’s life in the atmospheric surroundings of the Court Room in Oxford Town Hall.

For further enquiries about the play email commemoration@oxfordquakers.org 


Related Materials

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.

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.

National expenditure on war and for all other purposes poster

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. 

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.