Martin Crick ‘John Percy Fletcher, Thomas Gregory, and the Quaker campaign against compulsory military training in New Zealand and Australia 1909 – 15’

Compulsory military training for young males aged 14 and above was introduced in Australia and New Zealand in 1909. It aroused fierce opposition in both countries, and many saw this as a trial run for the introduction of conscription in England. The Society of Friends sent members to both colonies to oppose the training, one of whom, John Percy Fletcher, became a leading figure in that opposition. They campaigned vigorously at home too, raising large sums of money to fund the opposition, and alerting the public to what they saw as the looming threat of conscription. Thomas Gregory in Bristol was a key figure in that campaign. Through their stories I will examine the Quakers’ role in the opposition to conscription in the two colonies between 1909 and 1914 , before briefly examining how that affected events during the First World War.