Author reveals stories of the Great War 'conchies' on Ilkley visit

Author Karyn Burnham, who will be giving a talk this month

Author Karyn Burnham, who will be giving a talk this month

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An author will discuss her new book about First World War conscientious objectors when she visits an Ilkley bookshop.

Karyn Burnham, from Knaresborough, will appear at the Grove Bookshop, on the Grove, on Thursday, May 15, to talk about her book, The Courage of Cowards.

The book looks at the untold stories of the Great War’s conscientious objectors.

To many, they were nothing more than cowards, but the ‘conchies’ of the First World War had the courage to stand by their principles when the nation was against them.

In this innovative new history, Karyn draws on previously unpublished archive material to reconstruct the personal stories of several men who refused to fight, bringing the reader face-to-face with their varied, often brutal, experiences.

Charles Dingle defied his father's wishes by objecting to military service; after joining the Friends' Ambulance Unit he found himself in the midst of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

Jack Foister, a student, could not bring himself to support war in any way; imprisoned and shipped out to France, he had no idea to what lengths the military would go in order to break him.

Meanwhile, James Landers, a Christian and a pacifist, faced a dilemma. If he stuck to his principles he would face imprisonment, but by joining the Non Combatant Corps he could provide financial support for his family.

Karyn’s talk begins at 7pm. Tickets are £5, including refreshments, and can be bought from the shop.

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