Plaque to commemorate pacifist

November 27 2015

A LOCAL resident, who opposed the First World War, will be remembered next year when a blue plaque is placed on his former home in Station Road.

A LOCAL resident, who opposed the First World War, will be remembered next year when a blue plaque is placed on his former home in Station Road.

Approval has been given by the Bristol Civic Society for the ‘Remembering the Real World War 1’ (RRWW1) group to honour Walter Ayles, a Labour politician, with a blue plaque.

The commemorative plaque will be erected at the Ashley Down property, where he lived from 1911-1928, in April next year – the centenary of when he was imprisoned for opposing World War 1.

Ayles was elected city councillor for Easton in 1912 and at the outbreak of war in 1914 he was the only councillor in Bristol to vote against a motion offering “whole hearted support” for the war.

He was a founding member of the ‘No-Conscription Fellowship’ and was imprisoned in April 1916 for distributing material promoting the refusal to serve.

Four years after his release in 1919, he was elected as MP for Bristol North.

Ayles died in 1953 at the age of 74.

The RRWW1 is now calling on the public to help raise £600 to afford the plaque.

Jeremy Clarke, who is part of the group, said: “Although it will have Walter Ayles' name on it, the intention is that it should honour all those who bravely opposed the war.

“People were getting sucked up in the enthusiasm for the war, but the consensus is, is that WW1 ended up being a disaster, with millions of people being killed.”

If you would like to make a donation or to find out more about Walter Ayles and the plaque, email: rememberingrealww1@gmail.com