Conscientious objectors

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by vvaannmmaann, Aug 26, 2012.

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  1. Watching "Raid on Rommel" last night.One of the characters declared that as he was a Quaker,a conscientous objector and a "medic who had not joined up to kill people" (or similar dialogue)
    If he was really a c.o. would he have actually been sent to North Africa?

  2. Not sure what forces you were referring to but the US sent C.O.'s overseas as medics during WW II. I know a relative of the former wife was sent as a C.O. medic to both North Africa and Italy. I know they also had unarmed C.O. medics in US Army in Vietnam. I recall talking about this with the father of a friend when he was between his Colonel tour and 2* tour in Vietnam and he had huge respect for the C.O. medics and how he had recommended a couple for medals for bravery under fire going to get woulded soldiers.
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  3. A fair few ended up down the mines. (bevin boys?) but medics could well have used as medics.
  4. Fang_Farrier

    Fang_Farrier LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    My understanding of C.Os was that there were those that refused to wear any uniform and take any part in military service and they could be employed elsewhere or even imprisoned. However there werethose who would serve but refused to carry arms and were thus emplyed in medical services.

    According to Wiki, Conscientious objector - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 350 served in bomb disposal!
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  5. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Quakers werent all CO's. The UK version of the Quaker is different to the Pennsylvanian version and African etc. Remember that being a Quaker isnt about organised religeon or places of worship, its also about serving humanity to the best of your ability. If that ability is in first aid, bomb disposal or demolitions then there is nothing apart from your conscience and the 5 (Ithink) testimonies shared to stop you doing otherwise. In fact many of the quieter thoughtful professional soldiers who swerved church parade but would always help you out could be quakers.
    Dont worry I'm no Judean Peoples Front converter but I listened in to some potential rupert questioning a couple of ladies at a Railway station.
    He did look rather confused when I offered that the Fabian Society was the militant political wing of Quakers.
    Apart from a puritanical zeal to ban alcohol there is much to be commended for the works of the early Quakers, at least after they got their conscience and freed their slaves anyway!
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  6. CO's took many non-combatant roles in WW2, from RAF groundcrew to RPC to medics, bomb disposal etc. In fact any trade that did not involve being armed. Generally COs were treated far better in WW2 than they were in WW1.
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  7. I think you've got it there, I have previously heard the term "non-combatant CO". Usual perception of a CO is someone who refuses to do anything military.
  8. maninblack

    maninblack LE Book Reviewer

    A large number of Quakers and similar volunteered before conscription was introduced and served in many roles but a very high percentage were stretcher bearers and medics. There were some instances where they were initially badly treated as "Conshies" but in general when it became clear that they would serve but in non-combatant roles attitudes changed.

    Peace - Conservative Friend

    Read the aboive link, it is from one group of Quakers but explains much.
  9. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    One of the Tennets of Quakers is that all belief is personal, you dont have to share it but they do tend to share so many common threads that they will congregate at meeting houses etc. You may find Quakers happy to bear arms and others who wouldnt serve in any capacity whatsoever!
    Thats why they are so difficult to deal with on a discipline basis with conscription.
  10. FM Slim wrote in "Unofficial History" that he first went to France with the Conscientious Objectors.
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  11. Fang_Farrier

    Fang_Farrier LE Reviewer Book Reviewer


    "Of the COs who took up non-combatant duties, 6,766 ended up in the Non-Combatant Corps (NCC). This was set up in August 1940. It was divided into 14 companies mostly commanded by army veterans or reservists; 465 of these COs volunteered to specialise in bomb disposal. Others worked in army-run medical units or on other projects 'not involving the handling of military material of an aggressive nature'.
  12. In WW I Arnold Ridley served on the Somme.

    He didn't join to kill people but got into a nasty bayonet fight on at least one occasion.
  13. This chap began the war as a Cochie

    Friend of my father's

    Sent from my iPhone using ARRSE app
  14. Is that the same Arnold Ridley who played Godfrey in Dad's Army? In one episode it came out that Godfrey was a CO but then it was revealed that he had won an MC or MM can't remember which as a a medic