Telling the stories in their own words
It’s great that the conscientious objectors of the First World War are finally being heard and their stories told. While researching for The Courage Of Cowards, I was privileged to read some remarkable hand-written accounts of life as a conscientious objector. Reading stories of beatings, torture and imprisonment is hard enough, but when you reali
This wasn’t the case for all men though. Some struggled for many years to come to terms with their experiences and some never did.
These personal accounts and the personalities of the men involved lie at the heart of The Courage of Cowards. It’s what drives it, what makes it different from other books on conscientious objection. I felt as though I had known some of the men and I wanted readers to know them too; to understand how difficult their decisions were and to realise that they were anything but cowards. I have strayed into the realms of fictional narrative, but every last date, experience and outcome were firmly grounded in fact. I wanted to do these men justice and, in two cases, I know I definitely got it right because descendants of the men contacted me to tell me how much they appreciated my telling their stories.