Skip to main content

No-Conscription Fellowship Collected Records

Identifier: SCPC-CDG-B-Great Britain-No-Conscription Fellowship

Scope and Contents

This collection consists primarily of printed publications such as pamphlets, flyers, handbills, and periodicals.


  • 1914-1920


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Limitations on Accessing the Collection


Copyright and Rights Information



The No-Conscription Fellowship began in the autumn of 1914 when A. Fenner Brockway, at the suggestion of his wife, wrote a letter inviting all who were prepared personally to resist conscription to communicate with him; this letter was published in the Labour Leader and by Nov. 1914, the NCF was launched. The 300 or so original members elected the first committee, which included Brockway, Clifford Allen (Lord Allen of Hurtwood) and C.H. Norman. In the early days, the cottage of the Brockways was the Fellowship's headquarters, with his wife doing nearly all of the secretarial work. By early 1915, however, the membership had grown so large that it was necessary to open an office in London, where Allen was largely responsible for the NCF's organization and activities. When compulsory registration was enforced in Aug. 1915, the members of the NCF issued a common statement, expressing their determination not to serve in the military or to be involved in war work. When the first Military Service Bill was introduced, the NCF distributed over a million leaflets and organized hundreds of meetings. It had ten thousand members, with branches established all over the country. Prominent people involved with the NCF included Walter Ayles, H. Runham Brown, Bertrand Russell, Henry Hodgkin and Edith Ellis.

During the three year period when conscription was enforced in Great Britain, the NCF was the only organization which presented an unceasing and unequivocal opposition to the war. It worked in cooperation with the Independent Labour Party, the Society of Friends, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and other pacifist groups. It maintained contact with the hundreds of men who resisted conscription, many of whom had been arrested and imprisoned, and frequently arranged for their defense in court, provided for their dependents in cases of need, and sponsored through sympathetic M.P.s the discussion, in the House of Commons, of the COs' treatment in the prisons and camps. The NCF earned a national reputation, and with its highlighting of the position and treatment of the COs it created sufficiently fertile ground for the No More War Movement in 1921. Many of the leaders of the NCF went on to positions of national leadership, some in Parliament.

In 1919, the Conscription Act was repealed and all imprisoned COs were gradually released. The final convention of the NCF was held in Nov. 1919, at which time it was decided to disband, leaving three committees to carry on various aspects of the NCF's mission (the Anti-Conscription Committee, the Pacifist Committee, and the Committee to Oppose Military Training in Schools); these ceased to exist within a year or two.


0.21 Linear Feet (2.5 linear in.)


The No-Conscription Fellowship (NCF) was a British anti-draft organization founded in 1914 by pacifists Clifford Allen, Fenner Brockway, and others. It disbanded around 1919.

Other Finding Aids

For the catalog record for this collection, and to find materials on similar topics, search the library's online catalog

Custodial History

The Swarthmore College Peace Collection is not the official repository for these papers/records.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Unknown; There are no provenance notes in the SCPC office files to state the source of this small collection of NCF files. It is likely that they were removed from the papers of William Hull and A. Fenner Brockway and combined in the early days of the Peace Collection.

Existence and Location of Copies

Yes, microfilm Reel 9 (periodical "The Tribunal" only)

Related Materials

  1. Clifford Allen Collected Papers (CDG-B Great Britain)
  2. A. Fenner Brockway Collected Papers (CDG-B Great Britain)
  3. Records of the Willesden Branch of the No-Conscription Fellowship are located at the Hull History Centre, Hull, UK.
  4. The complete files of the No-Conscription Fellowship are undoubtedly in Great Britain, though it is unknown by SCPC staff exactly where they are located.

Separated Materials

The "C.O.'s Hansard" #1-90, 1916-1919 and "The Tribunal" #1-182 (London, England), 1916-1920 [also on microfilm reel 9] were removed to the Periodical Collection.

Legal Status

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Processing Information

Collection processed and checklist completed by Anne M. Yoder, Archivist March 2005

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Swarthmore College Peace Collection Library

500 College Avenue
Swarthmore 19081-1399 USA US
610-328-8544 (Fax)