Conscientious Objection

Ch: You can bring on your marching bands, put on your uniform,

Buttons and boots gleaming bright in the sun

I see you dreaming of victory with hopes for a better world

You say you’re fighting for your country, family and friends.


I stand here in the dock in April 1917

To witness the injustice and futility of war

Your Law has no moral ground, and Orders can’t bind me

I am not a soldier and so plead ’not guilty’.


No-one should be forced to fight against their will

Armies allow fear and distrust to build their walls

Then those with proud ambition and self-seeking interest

Crawl from the shadows and send you to war



I know in my heart that every living person

Has a better self that will respond to love

Do you imagine you have the authority

To give me the power to take that life away.


Some call me a coward and show the white feather

And I know I face time in a prison cell

But I will not fight for your trade rivalries

To feed your lust for power and financial gain



By taking this attitude as a Conscientious Objector

I believe I do more than I could in any other way

To bring about my hopes for the brotherhood of man

And to federate the world


based on my Grandad’s statement

prepared for his Court Martial 25 April 2017

“Memorials do not remember valour and loss alone. This memorial bench was donated by the Local Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Hastings, to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.”