Conscientious Objection in Lewisham 1916-1919

This project created biographies of the First World War experiences of 113 conscientious objectors from Deptford and Lewisham, who are listed on the Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors. The biographies together with short histories giving background information, were uploaded to this wiki supported by the London Borough of Lewisham. The Lewisham Local History and Archive Centre, (LHAC) designed a similar wiki for Lewisham's War Memorials, which generated a considerable number of page views. It is hoped that this project will also reach a wide audience of local and family historians, and that they in turn will provide further information on Lewisham's first world war conscientious objectors. Contact LHAC

The majority of Lewisham's conscientious objectors made their claim for exemption from military service to two separate Military Service Tribunals, sitting in the old town halls in Catford and Deptford, for at this time Lewisham and Deptford were two separate boroughs. On the instructions of the Government, their Military Service Tribunal's records were destroyed after the war and the total number of conscientious objectors in the boroughs is not known. Other records do exist, and perhaps the most valuable for the local and family historian are the press reports of tribunal and magistrate court hearings, as the local newspapers placed conscientious objectors in the context of an all pervading atmosphere of support for the war. The Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors, Lewisham Borough News, Kentish Mercury, and other primary and secondary sources were used to research this project.


Cyril Pearce, University of Leeds, for the Pearce Register of British Conscientious Objectors.
Ben Copsey, the Peace Pledge Union's Objecting to War Project Officer, who made Lewisham's Local History and Archives Centre (LHAC) aware of the possibilities of using the Pearce Register to create biographies of its First World War conscientious objectors.

The Pearce Register can be searched on the IWM's Lives of the First World War


Ann O'Brien, Volunteer at Lewisham Local History and Archives Centre, April 2014, revised August 2015 and March 2017.


Conscription in Lewisham and Deptford

Why They Would Not Go to War

The Military Service Tribunals and Conscientious Objectors

How Many Conscientious Objectors were there in Lewisham and Deptford?

Lewisham Support Networks: No-Conscription Fellowship, ILP and FOR

Lewisham Support Networks: Religious Groups


Home Office Scheme, Dyce and Dartmoor Work Camps

Non-Combatant Corps

Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU) and the RAMC.

Pelham Committee (Work of National Importance)


This wiki is still being developed and subject to change. Please bear with us until it is completed. If you have any suggestions for improvements or inclusions please let us know. Click here to contact us


by Local History and Archives Centre, Lewisham and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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