steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Ashley Down Heroes

I got back from my mother's just in time today to attend the unveiling of a blue plaque to the Conscientious Objector Walter Ayles, just round the corner from my house. He was arrested (I think they said) 100 years ago today, for leafleting against conscription. As someone whose own grandfather was jailed as a CO (unlike his brother Guido, who was exempted in March 1916, less than a fortnight after conscription came into force), I had a natural interest - but it was an impressive crowd in any case. There must have been 100 people standing in Station Road, listening to speeches. They included a choir in period dress, but the whole thing felt like a bit of a time warp, of the good kind.

"I do not believe that hate can destroy hate. I believe that hate can only be transformed by love. That is the deepest and most practical religion I know." (Ayles's statement to the tribunal that jailed him.)
Tags: bristol, family history, real life
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