Google+ Followers

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Catherine Marshall and Clifford Allen

Soon after the outbreak of the First World War, two pacifists, Clifford Allen and Fenner Brockway, formed the No-Conscription Fellowship (NCF), an organisation that encouraged men to refuse war service. The NCF required its members to "refuse from conscientious motives to bear arms because they consider human life to be sacred." As Martin Ceadel, the author of Pacifism in Britain 1914-1945 (1980) has pointed out: "Though limiting itself to campaigning against conscription, the N.C.F.'s basis was explicitly pacifist rather than merely voluntarist.... In particular, it proved an efficient information and welfare service for all objectors; although its unresolved internal division over whether its function was to ensure respect for the pacifist conscience or to combat conscription by any means"

Catherine Marshall, a leading figure in the N, joined the NCF. Catherine fell in love with Clifford Allen, the chairman of the NCF, who was imprisoned in 1916. According to Jo Vellacott "Marshall suffered deeply when he was imprisoned; he was physically frail, and his health deteriorated rapidly in prison. By mid-1917, Catherine Marshall was compulsively driving herself towards breakdown, and Allen's health was further threatened by his intention of embarking on a hunger and work strike in prison. By the end of the year, Marshall had collapsed and Allen was released seriously ill. When both were convalescent they spent several months together in what seems to have been a trial marriage; Marshall was devastated when the relationship ended."

No comments: