I am trying to imagine myself in the Taibach crowd listening to Welsh born philosopher, Bertrand Russell, rallying against the war, encouraging conscientious objectors, in July 1915. 100 years later we have a different perspective of the 'war to end all wars', we know of the horror, the ignorance of leaders, the almost inexpressible tragedy of the death of so many young men. I imagine if we could travel back in time we would do our best to bring it to a halt. But it would have been different then. And I also imagine the courage it would have taken to stand apart, to stand up, to stand against what you felt to be so very wrong. And be imprisoned for it. Or on the Front itself, to be killed for it.
Conscientious objectors are on my mind after speaking with Philip Adams, author of A Most Industrious Town, Briton Ferry and its People 1814-2014, whose new book, due to be published at the end of this month, Not In Our Name, War Dissent in a Welsh Town, tells the story of ordinary people resisting military conscription and war, including the involvement of his own grandfather. This is a story of the reality of war.