Once the Military Service Act come into force in 1916, men aged 18-41 had to apply to a Military Tribunal if they believed that they had a reason not to be drafted. The majority had health, work or family reasons, but 2% were Conscientious Objectors (COs): men who objected to military service because they objected to war.
Around 16,000 men were recorded as conscientious objectors: some were ordered to do “work of national importance” (e.g. farming), some were given non-combatant duties, but 6,000 were forced into the army. Many then refused orders and were imprisoned, as were those who