Recruitment, Conscription and Conscientious Objectors
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‘There was a general belief that thousands of ‘slackers - 650,000 was the figure usually given - were somehow evading their country’s call. In the autumn of 1915 the question of conscription broke into a blaze. Some Unionist ministers threatened to resign unless it were adopted…Asquith produced an ingenious evasion. Lord Derby, though an advocate of conscription was set to organise a scheme by which men of military age ‘attested’ their willingness to serve when called upon…Two and a half million men attested.’ A J  Taylor Engish History 1914-1945. A system of local tribunals was set up through which men could appeal against conscription on the grounds that they were doing essential war work, or were indispensable to either their work or their family, or on the grounds of conscience. More than 17,000 men refused to fight in the First World War on grounds of conscience, some of them from Shipley and district. Follow these links to read some of the stories of how men were persuaded to fight and those who refused on grounds of conscience.
Recruitment Using patriotism and shame to persuade men to fight
Tribunals Local appeals against call-up
Conscience Stories of men who refused to serve and those arguing for peace
Conscription Arguments about whether men should be forced to serve