The following events commemorate International Conscientious Objectors’ Day

Saturday 14 May 2016

London, Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road, NW1 2BJ

European Bureau of Conscientious Objectors (EBCO)

Conscientious Objectors from all over Europe are holding their annual meeting in London for the first time.   Conscription still exists in many parts of Europe, including Greece, Finland, Turkey and Norway. In many countries, conscientious objectors are imprisoned.

In the evening representatives of member organisations of the First World War Peace Forum[1] will meet EBCO members at an informal reception, with the aim of strengthening links between European peace organisations. It will be a chance to hear how we can support anti-conscription and conscientious objector movements today, as well as to discover how recognition of the rights of conscientious objectors in Britain in 1916 impacted campaigns in other countries.



Sunday 15 May 2016

London, 12 noon, Tavistock Square, WC1

Remembering conscientious objectors of the First World War and conscientious objectors today

To mark International Conscientious Objectors’ Day 2016 the First World War Peace Forum will hold a ceremony of remembrance at 12 noon in Tavistock Square, WC1.

Among the speakers are:

  • Jill Gibbon will speak about her grandfather, Bert Brocklesby, who was one of those sent to France in May 1916 and given the (commuted) death penalty
  • Siw Wood will speak about her uncle, Walter Roberts, who was the first man to die as a consequence of his treatment in the terrible conditions at Dyce camp
  • Hannah Brock from War Resisters’ International will give a short overview of the situation today for COs worldwide
  • A speaker from the European Bureau for Conscientious Objection
  • Holly Wallis from Conscience will talk about the Taxes For Peace Bill being presented in Parliament to allow conscientious objection to military taxes

Names of other conscientious objectors from around the world will be read out during the ceremony and flowers will be laid at the Conscientious Objectors’ stone in the square. Participants will be invited to bring forward flowers or photos, and call out the name as they lay a flower.

Sue Gilmurray will lead singing.

The CO ceremony is being organised by the First World War Peace Forum

Use this poster to tell others: CO Poster 2016



Sunday 15 May

Edinburgh, 4 – 5 pm, The Mound, EH2 2EL

An International Conscientious Objectors’ Day Vigil, with Protest in Harmony, will be held at the foot of the Mound.  Speakers will include descendants of First World War COs and one or two Second World War COs.  Poetry, reflections, songs.

Organised by Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre
Contact: Brian Larkin, 0131 629 1058,

A petition for a memorial to conscientious objectors and opponents of war has been enthusiastically approved by City of Edinburgh Council.  A number of possible sites in Edinburgh’s Princes St Gardens, a World Heritage site, have been offered. The Gardens are home to numerous war memorials and adjacent to the Castle and the National War Memorial. The Peace and Justice Centre, working with a number of groups in Scotland, are now fundraising. They hope to hold a competition for a suitable sculpture and complete the Memorial by 2018. Further information is available at:


Leicester, 1.30pm, Peace Walk, Victoria Park

Unveiling of stone to commemorate conscientious objectors.

Contact :  0116 225 0133



Sunday 15 May, 12 – 1.30pm, Peace Plaque, Bonn Square

Commemoration event with testimonies, poems and readings.  Music from Sea Green Singers.  Organised by Oxford CND.


14 – 28 May, Monday-Saturday, between 11am-2pm, New Road Baptist Church, Bonn Square

“The World is My Country”, an exhibition celebrating the people and movements that opposed WWI, in posters and stories.  The exhibition will be open briefly on Sunday 15th for people wanting to look around it straight after the vigil at the Peace Plaque (which is on the forecourt of the church), from around 1-1.30 pm.
Thursday 19 May, 7.30pm, Old Court Room, Oxford Town Hall

Play: “We will not Fight”.  The play explores the fate of Conscientious Objectors through the journey of one man who refused to abandon his principles. Followed by an audience discussion.


Thursday 26 May, 7.30pm, New Road Baptist Church

Panel discussion on Conscientious Objection Then & Now. Three speakers will present the picture of conscientious objection as it was in WWI and how it is now, followed by a Q&A with the audience. The panellists are Hannah Brock, from War Resisters’ International working on the “right to refuse to kill” programme; Symon Hill, a Christian pacifist campaigner and author; and Annette Bygott, local peace campaigner, painter and translator.

For more information about the above events in Oxford see

Contact:  01865 251421,


Manchester, 15 May – 13 June

Friends Meeting House, 6 Mount St, M2 5NS

“Conscience and War”, an exhibition of the untold stories of Manchester Quakers who resisted WW1, organised by Manchester Quakers. Culminating with an event on Sunday 13 June, including a panel for questions and discussion of WW1 COs.
Contact :


Rochdale, Tuesday 17 May

6.30 – 8pm, Pioneers Museum, 31 Toad Lane, OL12 0NU

“Subversive Peacemakers” with Dr Clive Barrett.
Contact : 01706 524920


Milton Keynes, Wednesday 18 May

7 – 9.30pm, St Michael’s Priory, The Well, Newport Road, MK15 9AA

“Subversive Peacemakers” with Dr Clive Barrett.  A ‘Look at a Book’ event.

Contact : 01908 242190,
London, Wednesday 25 May

7.30 – 10pm, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, WC1R 4RL

Michael Mears presents: “Comrades in Conscience”. One hundred years to the day since general military conscription passed into law in Great Britain, the courageous men who resisted the compulsory call to arms, and the women who supported them, are remembered in an evening of differing perspectives – through drama, song, and speakers with particular knowledge of the subject.

York, Sunday 5 June

2.30 – 4.30, The Church Hall, Church Lane, Bishopthorpe, YO23 2QG

“Remembering The Men Who Said No!”.  A commemoration of Conscientious Objection in York during World War 1.  Organised by York Quakers.

 Contact :   01904 624216,  


Thursday, 23 June

Chesterfield, 6pm, Donut Creative Arts Studio, Springbank Rd, S40 1NL

“Courage of Conscience”, exhibition and performances based on the hidden
stories of Derbyshire’s conscientious objectors in the First World War.

[1] First World War Peace Forum is a coalition made up of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, Conscience, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Movement for the Abolition of War, Network for Peace, Pax Christi, Peace News, Peace Pledge Union, Quaker Peace and Social Witness, the Right to Refuse to Kill group and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.


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