Opposition to the Great War in South Wales

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On 14th June 2018 25 people gathered in the Parish Hall to hear Dr Aled Eirug will give a talk on opposition to the Great War in South Wales.

We heard that in Scotland, England and Wales there were about 16,500 conscientious objectors during the Great War.  Of those about 900 were in Wales.  This only became an issue after conscription was introduced at the beginning of 1916 and from the end of 1917 included the miners.

About half the objectors cited religious reasons but the only group granted full exemption from military service were the Christadelphians.  About 300 of the objectors did so on political grounds, notably members of the Independent Labour Party, but political grounds were not accepted by the government.

Some objectors were sent to prison, including Dartmoor, but others accepted other types of war work which involved them joining military units but not bearing arms.

There was only one documented instance of a conscientious objector from Penarth, a Jehovah’s Witness.

The objectors had very different experiences after the War, some finding it difficult to find work because of the prejudice they and their families suffered while others rose in public office as MPs and prominent public servants.

This very interesting talk by Dr Eurig was the last in our series of events commemorating the Great War.

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