Conscientious Objectors


I have placed the conscientious objector in a glass dome. He is a spectacle. He is being made an example of. His socialist beliefs give him the strength to defy public opinion, torture and the threat of the firing squad.

Yet it is at great personal cost.I have placed the black dog of depression on one side, worries about his home and family on the other and centrally the preoccupation with time and the need to keep his brain active whilst in solitary confinement. I invite you to come inside his world ..



Bert Brocklesby:Spiritual Forces

'Bert' Brocklesby was one of the small group of men imprisoned in Richmond Castle,Yorkshire ,known as the 'Richmond 16'. A staunch Quaker, his belief in the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" sustained him through the cruel treatment meted out to 'Absolutists'.


Alfred Martlew : Found drowned

"I absolutely and emphatically deny the right of our government to call upon me as a citizen of the world to assist in the slaughter of my fellow men!"He was a member of the No Conscription Fellowship and Independent Labour Party.  He was sent to Dyce at Aberdeen to break stone for roads. The unkind treatment so affected him that almost certainly took his own life. The verdict of the coroner's report was "Found drowned". He was only 23.



HOWARD MARTEN - Sentenced to be shot

Howard Marten was a Pacifist and a Quaker, brought up in a non-conformist atmosphere.He was one of those men taken to France and sentenced to be shot. This was commuted to 10 years penal servitude..  

He chose Peace

"Because I was a peaceful man, I never thought to fight:  I told them I was a Quaker, of peaceful beliefs;  I told them I was the secretary of the local No-conscription Fellowship; I told them I would not lift a finger in anger;  I told them they had the wrong man for the army. Despite this, I was drafted.  They court-martialled me for refusing to wear a uniform. My words of peace were unheard against their words of War. I was sentenced to 112 days of Hard Labour and taken to Wormwood Scrubs and then to stone-breaking and sewage shovelling in Dartmoor .. When I was finally discharged, my health was damaged, but my spirit was unbroken.  All because I was a Peaceful Man. I remain a Peaceful Man."




Because He was a Peaceful Man

I have come from a line of socialists, suffragettes and pacifists. My grandfather, great grandfather and great uncles were conscientious objectors in W.W.1.  This collection of work is my homage to what they stood for.  Their ethical stance for non-violence of any kind; public censure of their anti-war position and pressure to conform and enlist, can all be seen from the scraps of posters and newspaper articles which I have used to reinforce what I know from my family history.  It is shocking that some families found this stand for peace more shameful than the slaughter of war and the tragedy of those forced to endure it.





He never spoke about it

My great uncle and his son. He went on hunger strike in protest at his treatment as a conscientious objector.He was released at the point of death as the authorities did not wish him to die in captivity. It would not have looked good. Happily his family nursed him back to health but it took a long time.

The boys left behind

The boys were on a school photograph in which many eventually lost their lives in WW2. I transposed them onto a battlefield. They represent both the younger selves of the men and the boys left behind.

Harry Singer

Harry Singer was a comedian, imprisoned for being a conscientious objector (at the same time as my grandfather) - hence he was known as the 'Conchy Comedian'.