Conscientious objectors - can you help tell their story?

Next year we mark the start of World War I.

Two years into the war the Government introduced military conscription to maintain fighting numbers following some appalling losses.

Thousands of Calderdale men sought exemption from military duty. Most for domestic or economic reasons; indeed, the majority were applications by employers for workers vital to keep businesses running. A much smaller number refused to fight on the grounds of conscience.

I am researching the history of these conscientious objectors many of whom suffered harsh treatment at the hands of the authorities.

Even today this issue raises passions on both sides of the debate.

If any of your readers have relatives who were COs (for whatever reason: religious or political) I would be delighted to hear from them.

I am especially interested in any personal accounts that have survived such as diaries or letters home from those who were imprisoned but any information would be very welcome. I can be contacted on 01422 843105 or by email at

John Rhodes,

Hebden Bridge.