Swarthmore College Peace Collection

No-Conscription Fellowship Collected Records, 1914-1920

Collection: CDG-B Great Britain

Contact Information
Swarthmore College Peace Collection
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore, PA 19081-1399
Telephone: (610) 328-8572

Email: peacecollection@swarthmore.edu

Descriptive Summary
The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is not the official repository for these papers/records.
No-Conscription Fellowship
No-Conscription Fellowship Collected Records
Inclusive Dates
Call Number
CDG-B Great Britain

Language of Materials
Materials in English
2.5 linear inches [papers only]
The No-Conscription Fellowship (NCF) was a British anti-draft organization founded in 1914 by pacifists Clifford Allen, Fenner Brockway, and others. When compulsory registration was enforced in Great Britain in August 1915, the members of the NCF issued a common statement expressing their determination not to serve in the military or to be involved in war work. When the first Military Service Bill was introduced, the NCF distributed over a million leaflets and organized hundreds of meetings. It had ten thousand members, with branches established all over the Great Britain. In 1919, the Conscription Act was repealed and all imprisoned conscientious objectors were gradually released; the NCF disbanded around 1919.

Administrative Information
Restrictions to Access
Usage Restrictions
Alternate Form of Material
Yes, microfilm Reel 9 (periodical The Tribunal only)
Acquisitions Information
Unknown; There are no provenance notes in the SCPC office files to state the source of this small collection of NCF files. It is likely that they were removed from the papers of William Hull and A. Fenner Brockway and combined in the early days of the Peace Collection.
Processing Information
Collection processed & checklist completed by Anne Yoder, March 2005; this finding aid created by Eleanor Fulvio, August 2010
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the No-Conscription Fellowship Records (CDG-B Great Britain), Swarthmore College Peace Collection
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law

Online Catalog Headings
These and related materials may be found under the following headings in online library/archival catalogs.
See tripod record

Related Collections
Clifford Allen Collected Papers (CDG-B Great Britain)
A. Fenner Brockway Collected Papers (CDG-B Great Britain)
The complete files of the No-Conscription Fellowship are undoubtedly in Great Britain, though it is unknown by SCPC staff exactly where they are located.

Records of the Willesden Branch of the No-Conscription Fellowship are located at the Hull History Centre, Hull, UK

Historical Background
The No-Conscription Fellowship began in the autumn of 1914 when A. Fenner Brockway, at the suggestion of his wife, wrote a letter inviting all who were prepared personally to resist conscription to communicate with him; this letter was published in the Labour Leader and by Nov. 1914, the NCF was launched. The 300 or so original members elected the first committee, which included Brockway, Clifford Allen (Lord Allen of Hurtwood) and C.H. Norman. In the early days, the cottage of the Brockways was the Fellowship's headquarters, with his wife doing nearly all of the secretarial work. By early 1915, however, the membership had grown so large that it was necessary to open an office in London, where Allen was largely responsible for the NCF's organization and activities. When compulsory registration was enforced in Aug. 1915, the members of the NCF issued a common statement, expressing their determination not to serve in the military or to be involved in war work. When the first Military Service Bill was introduced, the NCF distributed over a million leaflets and organized hundreds of meetings. It had ten thousand members, with branches established all over the country. Prominent people involved with the NCF included Walter Ayles, H. Runham Brown, Bertrand Russell, Henry Hodgkin and Edith Ellis.

During the three year period when conscription was enforced in Great Britain, the NCF was the only organization which presented an unceasing and unequivocal opposition to the war. It worked in cooperation with the Independent Labour Party, the Society of Friends, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and other pacifist groups. It maintained contact with the hundreds of men who resisted conscription, many of whom had been arrested and imprisoned, and frequently arranged for their defense in court, provided for their dependents in cases of need, and sponsored through sympathetic M.P.s the discussion, in the House of Commons, of the COs' treatment in the prisons and camps. The NCF earned a national reputation, and with its highlighting of the position and treatment of the COs it created sufficiently fertile ground for the No More War Movement in 1921. Many of the leaders of the NCF went on to positions of national leadership, some in Parliament.

In 1919, the Conscription Act was repealed and all imprisoned COs were gradually released. The final convention of the NCF was held in Nov. 1919, at which time it was decided to disband, leaving three committees to carry on various aspects of the NCF's mission (the Anti-Conscription Committee, the Pacifist Committee, and the Committee to Oppose Military Training in Schools); these ceased to exist within a year or two.

Collection Overview
This collection consists primarily of printed publications such as pamphlets, flyers, handbills, periodicals.

Items removed:
The C.O.'s Hansard #1-90, 1916-1919 and The Tribunal #1-182 (London, England), 1916-1920 [also on microfilm reel 9] in this collection were removed to the Periodical Collection

Detailed Description of the Collection

Box 1
General; history
Programmatic efforts & publications, 1914-1915
- miscellaneous material
- pamphlet "Christianity A Danger to the State" by Laurence Housman, ca. 1914
Programmatic efforts & publications, 1916
- miscellaneous material
- pamphlet "Conscription and Conscience: Presidential Address by Clifford Allen to the National Convention of the No-Conscription Fellowship, November 27th, 1915," 1916
- pamphlet "Rex v. Bertrand Russell: Report of the Proceedings Before the Lord Mayor at the Mansion House Justice Room, 5 June 1916"
- pamphlet "The Out-And-Outer" by Miles Malleson, 1916 (September)
- pamphlet "A C.O. In Prison" by W.J. Chamberlain, 1916
- pamphlet "Why I Am A Conscientious Objector: Being Answer to the Tribunal Catechism" by Walter Ayles, A. Fenner Brockway, A. Barratt Brown, Clement Bundock, J.H. Hudson, R.O. Mennell and Hubert Peet
Programmatic efforts & publications, 1917-1918
- miscellaneous material
- pamphlet "Scraps of Paper: An Examination of Government Pledges With Regard to Conscientious Objectors and the Present Position of 1,137 Men in Prison," ca. 1917-1918
- 2 pages of graphics/cartoons from "The News Sheet," 1917
- flyer "Conscientious Objectors: The 'Absolutists' and the 'Ungenuines.' The Present Position and a Suggestion," 1917 (March)
Programmatic efforts & publications, 1919-1920
- miscellaneous material
- pamphlet "Agenda of the National Convention, Saturday and Sunday, November 29th & 30th, 1919, at the Friends' Meeting House, Devonshire House, Bishopsgate, E.C."
- pamphlet "The No-Conscription Fellowship: A Souvenir Of Its Work During the Years 1914-1919"
Programmatic efforts & publications, undated
- miscellaneous material
- pamphlet "Studies For Pacifists: A Guide to Reading" by A. Barratt Brown
- pamphlet "The Court-Martial Friend and Prison Guide"
- pamphlet "The Failure of War" by H.P. Adams
- pamphlet "Pacifism As A Practical Policy" by H.P. Adams
Croyden Branch, 1916-1917
- handwritten booklet of meeting minutes, 1916
- handwritten "Report of Associates Committee, Work Between March 11 and May 15th, 1916"
- handwritten list "Present Position of Single Men, December 1916"
- handwritten list "Court-Martials, February 1917 to February 1918"
"Manchester C.O. Journal," 1918 (July), 1918 (November), 1919 (January), 1919 (March)

This file was last updated on August 21, 2015