Objecting to War

The Winchester Whisperer, a secret newspaper written on toilet paper, passed between Conscientious Objectors jailed at Winchester Prison
A copy of The Winchester Whisperer Peace Pledge Union Archives

Heritage Grants

London, London
Peace Pledge Union
£95800
The stories of more than 18,000 Conscientious Objectors are being explored and told through the Peace Pledge Union’s exhibition, learning resources and online database.

The Peace Pledge Union is the descendant organisation of many Conscientious Objectors groups, including the No Conscription Fellowship. Conscientious objection developed throughout the First World War, from protests and campaigns before the war, to men pledging their commitment to peace after the introduction of conscription in 1916.

Many Conscientious Objectors were imprisoned for their beliefs and were threatened with execution. Over 100 Conscientious Objectors died as a result of their objection.

The stories of these men, and the women who supported them, form the basis of the Peace Pledge Union’s exhibition, Refusing to Kill. At the heart of the exhibition is one of the surviving copies of the Winchester Whisperer, a secret newspaper written on toilet paper, passed between imprisoned Objectors.

By creating learning resources and delivering workshops with schools, libraries and members of the public, the Peace Pledge Union aims to stimulate and support research into conscientious objection during the First World War. The result of this research is the web project, Remembering the Men who said No, details the lives of men and women who resisted the war and providing a resource for future generations. 

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