Author: South Wales Miners Library, Swansea University

Provider: South Wales Miners' Library

Rights: Copyrighted

Interview of Williams, Tom by unknown, on 2nd April 1982.
The interview forms part of Swansea University�s South Wales Miners� Library collection.

1 audio file (46 m 42 sec.)

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Transcription

unknown, : Good Evening, welcome to the second in a series of ten lectures on the Struggle for Peace, Past and Present. I would like to introduce you to Tom Williams, who has had a very lively and interesting past. When Tim asked me tonight to chair this meeting, I said, Well I can never remember everything Tom’s done, to be able to introduce him properly, and Tom’s reply was, It doesn’t matter, you’ve only got to tell them what I’m going to be doing over the next forty years. So without speaking anymore, I think Tom can speak best about his experiences, his …

Williams, Tom: Thank you very much, well, Chairperson, I must only go {unclear} the rights of women, so I’m going to call you chairperson not Madam Chairman. You’ll notice that I’ve been listed here as a war resister, or rather a political resister to war, and on one occasion I addressed {Llafur} and I asked the group leader to introduce me as a war resister rather than a conscientious objector. There’s a very good reason for this, to me a conscientious objector can so easily be synonymous with pacifist. Well I’m not a pacifist, I've never have been a pacifist. The reason for this is that I have no active dislike of pacifists, but there is a possibility of occasions arising when I would be prepared to fight for things that I believed in. I'll give you an example, when the miners were fighting for the nationalisation of the coalmines, {there was certain sympathy} in the county I was living in at the time, Hertfordshire, and the popular rise in the idea of nationalisation and getting people to accept the idea. Well I was an ex miner and I was prepared, at that time, to go back to the mines, to work in the mines, in order to avoid the possibility of sabotage. That’s just an indication of my willingness to get involved in struggle. I grew {out of it} and visited the possibility of fighting in the civil war. I would have willingly fought in the American Civil War and I think that I would have been in very good company indeed. I’d have been in the company of Tom Payne and Benjamin Franklin and other people. I would have loved to have been at the Boston Tea Party, I would have revelled in that, it would have been a very interesting experience indeed.

Williams, Tom: Now, quite recently also, I addressed, not addressed, I spoke at a meeting of militant leaders and I said then, that, well it’s not supporting all the ideas that are in the militant paper and not {unclear} of Wales are militants and I would be prepared to fight for the things I wanted and, should capitalism try to thwart the social revolution, I wouldn’t know which side of the barricade I should be on. Similarly, of course, with the war in Spain, but if it hadn’t been for the fact that I was a married man with two children at the time, there’s more than a likelihood that I would have volunteered and gone in the International Brigade. My interests were there, like those, I suppose were with the Irish struggle. I supported Jim Connelly and his comrades who were shot in the Easter Rising in 1916. There again I would distinguish myself from being a pacifist and being a war resister.

Williams, Tom: The connection that I’m asked to emphasise here is that of the Labour Party and the outbreak of the 1914-18 War. Some people have described in one of the books I’ve got with me here tonight, that the attitude of the Labour Party at that time was a disaster. I think it was a disaster, the only section of the Labour movement, that I can remember, who showed any real signs of carrying out the dedication and the commitment to fighting against the war, was the I.L.P. I was at that time a member of the I.L.P., and Fenner Brockway was the founder of the local {christian} fellowship. He and Clifford Allen and the other people who formed the local {christian} fellowship in order to fight the possibility of conscription.

Williams, Tom: You probably all remember that conscription didn’t come into this country until 1916. There is a few in this country, I think they’re right in saying this, that conscription would hardly be accepted in peace conditions and will be accepted during the war, and we had gone through a very bad patch in Europe, Passchendale, Ypres and the other bloodbaths, and {dessicated the forces} to such an extent that they were likely to bring in conscription, and that is where I start to probably relate some of my experiences. The Socialiste Internationale, they had some very definite ideas about what should have been done in the event of the outbreak of war, and Raymond Postgate, was the, Postgate and {R. P.} {unclear} writing in the Neighbour Monthly in 1964. He pointed out that the International Socialist Movement had all along said that if war broke out we should use the opportunity to ferment trouble in the various countries and use the opportunity to bring about a Social Revolution. All this went on, and as late as 1912, they had a conference in Basel in Switzerland, and they reiterated their intention of doing this sort of thing, but unfortunately as soon as war broke out, there was a change and they forsook their position almost entirely. The leaders, the leaders of the International Socialist congress, they, with the exception of the Bolsheviks, they retreated and almost entirely from the position they had previously. Two varying examples of course was H.M. Hyman and Robert Blatchford, no one could have been more {genealistic} than Robert Blatchford, unless that was Charlie Stanton of Aberdare, he tours very {genealistic} .

Williams, Tom: As far as I was concerned, my position had been clear right throughout, as owning a socialist home and being probably something of a romantic, when I applied to the tribunal for exemption from military service and I did it purely on the grounds that the Act of Parliament entitled me to that. The Act of Parliament said the if a person was a genuine conscientious objector They didn’t say that a war resister, a genuine conscientious objector can object, whose intent was complete exemption from the military service. I had taken the letter of the law, if not the spirit and I asked for an exemption, but I didn’t ask for an exemption on the grounds of being a pacifist. I mentioned the fact, as I say being a romantic, that the cradle I was rocked in was rocked to the tune of socialist songs and socialist hymns. My parents were socialists; my mother was a very active suffragette, and I was born under conditions and in circumstances that made me what I was.

Williams, Tom: There were certain people on the tribunal, Mrs. Ruth Davies, the J.P. of Aberdare, would be known to some of you, historically of course, she’s been dead a good many years, she did try to get me exemption, on the grounds of going into the coalmines. Well though, it wasn’t acceptable to me, I was opposed to war. And the conscientious objectors were divided into two, roughly at any road, two sections. There was the absolutist on the one hand and the alternativists, alternativists on the other. For my own part I was an absolutist, I was an absolutist all along. The opportunity of doing anything under the Home Office scheme didn’t come in, until after I’d been in prison some time.

Williams, Tom: I was arrested in Aberdare and being in the I.L.P. I was well known in Aberdare for my resistance and a policeman came eventually to the house, we were sitting down. We were a fairly large family sitting down and having tea and we invited them to have some tea with us. They weren’t very forthcoming, so we just made our tea last as long as we possibly could. When I went from home, there was no knowing when I would be back amongst my family. Well tea finished, we went outside and the buses passing the house at that time, I was working on the, on the buses before I was arrested, had been working in the coalmines, went on the buses. And as the work on the buses was not a reserved, reserved occupation, I was immediately liable to arrest. I was interviewed prior to arrest and although the Labour council who ran Aberdare, some were sympathetic to me, the Labour council in Aberdare, who rang the buses, they just had to get rid of me, they had to dismiss me because they, themselves, would be liable of harbouring a deserter. Those were the actual words used; personally I would have applied another one {unclear} the employer would have been accused of harbouring a deserter. With all that said the police asked me to get on the bus, at that moment the resistance started. I refused to get on the bus and walked to Aberdare and they walked with me, two and a half miles, roughly, that was enjoyable in its way.

Williams, Tom: The next morning I was up before the magistrates and the inevitable sentence. For the deed of not reporting to the call-up for the army, I was fined £2.00 and handed over to the military. This was automatic, no question of judging whether you were genuine or anything like that, that was the tribunal’s job, nothing at all to do with the court. And there was one other person with myself at the time, he was working for the co-operative society, Arthur Williams was the same name or surname at any rate, as myself. The next morning we went down to the station, the Taff railway at the time, carrying passengers as well as coal. Beeching hadn’t been heard of at that time it was after that he started decimating the railways.

Williams, Tom: Fairly good crowd, some were hostile, some were friendly, got to Cardiff and in Cardiff we were taken to the guardroom, not yet actually put into the army. We were taken to the guardroom and sorting our kit, army kit, I didn’t know the size of my shoes, I’d never heard what size shoes I wore. I didn’t know what size collar I had for my shirt, I knew nothing at all about my anatomy. I said it was very, very difficult for me to give them the information they wanted. They got a kit together and I was handed this and immediately refused to handle it, it was thrown down in front of me and I refused to handle it. The next day I was being posted to the King’s Rifles, I believe that was the organisation that I was supposed to serve, in was being moved up to Kinmel camp, No, not Kinmel that was the second time {unclear} I was court martialled, I was in Kinmel. It was Rhyl in North Wales to a camp there, and an escort of two soldiers, I believe it was a sergeant and a private soldier, and I wouldn’t carry my kit and the sergeant, he tried to persuade me to carry the kit because the soldier had been wounded in the war and was in no fit state to carry the kit. Why don’t you carry it sergeant. {unclear} that wasn’t acceptable to him. The kit was on the platform, the train about to leave and they decided to bring it with them, they brought it with them and took it to Rhyl, in the guard room of course. The next morning into the, onto the, Oh no, before that there was a prisoner, handling the kit and they {had to} hand it to me again, I refused to have anything to do with it. I had never seen kit, or any other thing for that matter; disappear so quickly as that did. It disappeared in a flash, whoever was short of material, they got it, they got it very quickly indeed. In fact as it disappeared I was glad to see the back of it, it had gone.

Williams, Tom: Out on the parade ground Fall in parade came, no response, and I was ordered again to, not sure whether it was to fall in or something similar, anyway it was a military order and unacceptable to me. So I was in book then, I was charged with refusing to obey a military order, saying that I was a conscientious objector or words to that effect. This was stereotyped; everybody had the same sort of {noun} . You said you were a conscientious objector or words to that effect, now I don’t know what words to that effect could be different to a conscientious objector, unless, perhaps they had guessed that I was something of a war resister and not necessarily a conscientious objector. A court martial duly took place and I was sentenced to two years with hard labour, I don’t believe, I think I had the nod from Jim, that was when I was speaking on Monday night, that hard labour is not mentioned in court sentences these days, I don’t hear it now, but in those days it was two years with hard labour.

Williams, Tom: Duly taken to Wormwood Scrubs and I started the two years hard labour and the hard labour was not something I relished at all. I’d had enough of that in coal mines. I didn’t want to start all over again so I refused to work, immediately there was {unclear} the next day. Well the work in those days in Wormwood Scrubs, it may have differed in other places, {unclear} One of the chores you had in prison, they did in Wormwood Scrubs, it was making mail bags and I was given a supply of mail bags to sew up. I just refused saying that I had no intention of doing any work at all. Immediately brought before, not immediately, it took a day or two to arrange this. I was brought before {unclear} Magistrates. I was sentenced to fourteen days loss of privilege, which meant, of course, I wasn’t allowed to go out on exercise, I wasn’t allowed to have any books to read, I wasn’t allowed to receive any letters, to write any letters or receive visits or attend religious service. That was the hardest of all things to bear not to be able to attend religious service. And this carried on and I found that it was impossible to make any {indenture, indention} in the people that I was dealing with, to convince them that I was opposing the imprisonment and the treatment that I was getting.

Williams, Tom: My refusal to work was a protest, a protest against being in prison at all. I claimed, I proved, at least to myself, if not to them. I proved that I was a general objector and expected the law to be carried out and be given an exemption. I found it necessary to protest further and I did protest and went on hunger strike. I was on hunger strike for about probably ten days, I think, before they decided to forcibly feed me. And that was not, not a pleasant experience, it was something that defies description and remain calm when you are describing it. I knew a bit about it because prior to that had been {selling} {unclear} streets of Aberdare with the suffragettes {unclear} in the streets, I had been doing that as a boy of eight {unclear} about suffragettes and I knew from the descriptions given in the magaz… , papers what the suffragettes had to put up with, but that was only imagination at that time, now I was on the receiving end of it and it was a vile thing that they did to one. First of all they incarcerate you in a straitjacket and the straitjacket was one to those people wouldn’t know what is was like. It was a canvas bag in the shape of a jacket, of course, and the arms, they were put down, your arms in the sleeves and they then tied them around the back and a strap or something similar to a zip, no it wasn’t a zip. No, it was three very heavy leather straps and they were pulled tight and you were, at least I was, thrown onto a table, and preparations were made for a feed. I refused to open my mouth so they forced my mouth open, they put a gag in and in order to keep my mouth open there was a wrench to open the gag that opened ones’ mouth. And eventually the pipe was inserted into the gullet and the food was being poured down. It’s not a nice experience, I put up with it and I had no intention, in any case of getting away on that score, but the time came when I resisted to such an extent that they decided to try another method of feeding, they decided to feed me through my nostrils. Well I’d been, as I’ve said I working in the coalmines and I’d broken my nose, broken my nose in the coal mines, due to an accident, I didn’t relish the idea of being fed through my nostrils so I gave that side of it up. And I didn’t stay in Wormwood Scrubs all that long, all sentences, the first sentences we had as conscientious objectors, was commuted to ninety days. I don’t think I ever really found the out the reasons for this, unless it was to give the conscientious objectors the time for second thoughts, and they would probably give in and join the army. That for me was not on; I had no intention of being in the army at all.

Williams, Tom: But I have to say something about the movement in Wales the connection with us and that, there is no real sound information of the number of people involved. I think I mentioned this at the miners, no at the university when I spoke for Llafur, that there was a dearth of information in this matter. And one young person who was doing research at this moment, doing research into this matter. he said yes, that the Home Office, they destroyed all records in connection with this period. I haven’t got any proof of this but it’s certainly very, very difficult indeed to get information. What we do know from memory of people and this is where oral history comes into the picture. We do know from people like Fenner Brockway for instance that there was somewhere about six to seven thousand, at any given time, in prison. And they were various classes of people, people who were religious, people like myself, who were socialists, and various other types. I don’t know, but there were some people from Aberdare as I say, {the one} , there was also Dan Griffiths, Dan Griffiths from Llanelli, he was at one time, a schoolteacher, long since dead, he was a candidate for parliamentary honours, and lost it to Jim Griffiths, his namesake. Jim Griffiths was selected and because he was the nominee of the miners. That was when the miners had {the pull at that time} and people with a cloth cap were more likely to be nominated than the white collar worker. Dan Griffiths was a very fine person we were in Wormwood Scrubs together.

Williams, Tom: After being there for some little time, and it was on a period between the fourteen days that I was on punishment. I was out on the exercise ground and we were compelled to walk somehow, about six to eight feet apart and no speaking at all was allowed, we weren’t allowed to speak to each other and that I’ll mention later on because it was an interesting feature, and something we corrected as time went on. Anyway it was Jim, Dan was behind me and he managed to convey to me that the Home Office scheme was being put into operation and there was a chance of being taken into alternative service. I told him that I wasn’t interested and had no intention of applying for an alternative service. Dan did and he got it, I don’t know where he went, but later in my experience I did meet with some people who were working in Penderyn outside Aberdare just beyond Hirwaun. I believe it was a waterworks, there was a waterworks out near there, I’m not sure, either that or quarrying. Quite a nice lot of lads, I liked them very much indeed. We had one there by the name of Benjamin Jones-John, he came from Cardigan somewhere. He was a very fine person; I liked him very much indeed. And quite a number of others were on the scheme, I didn’t have any feeling towards them, I could wish that they were all absolutist, because that was the line that I thought, we should have been taking.

Williams, Tom: The ninety days came to an end, and I was taken to Henllan camp in mid Wales or re-court martiall, and eventually I was re-court-martialled and was then sentenced to three years imprisonment with hard labour. Went to Shrewsbury to serve this, well I continued my work strike but not the hunger strike. But if you can stand certain {unclear} with being upset, I devolved a method of carrying on the hunger strike without the authorities knowing that I was doing it. I practised to a very fine art, regurgitation. I was able to carry on my hunger strike without having to be forcibly fed, the result was that you eventually ended up in hospital. But in-between that, was the interesting periods when visiting magistrates came to the prison. I was accused of not complying with prison rules, not working, not keeping myself clean and this sort of thing and I was given additional punishment. One of the additional punishments was of course, that I lost all remission, if I’d been in prison for three years, I’d have to serve the whole three years, no remission of any kind at all. I wasn’t allowed any reading material, not that it was much of a hardship because prison libraries, and here I think I’m speaking with some authority, prison libraries were very poor affairs indeed. Edward Carpenter in one of his poems, he refers to With no book to read except some goody, goody rubbish recommended by the chaplain. Well this was very largely the case, there wasn’t anything worth reading, so I was told. Ethel M. Dell was probably the highest piece of literature we could get hold of. We did have some effect on this, people did, who had been, as conscientious objectors, getting visits, they got their visitors, their friends and relatives, to bring books in. They were allowed to have this, but they donated their books to the library, they didn’t take them home, they donated them to the Library, and my first reading of Shelley Godwin {unclear} was in Shrewsbury prison where it was smuggled into me. One of the prisoners, I think they called them, there’s a name for them, they’re considered reliable,

unknown, : Trustees

Williams, Tom: Trustees, trustees, you know more about prison than I do. These people were handing out books from time to time and one of them, he was able to smuggle, H.M. Grangers book in to me and I really did enjoy reading it in {unclear} and anyone who hasn’t read Shelley Godwin and his Circle, ought to read it, it’s well worth reading; I enjoyed it very much indeed.

Williams, Tom: I was able to communicate with some of the prisoners; we did it by tapping on the wall. In our particular case, it was what we called the five line code; we tap one for A, two for B, three for C and so on. The alphabet was divided by the five groups and you soon became very competent at this. The person in the cell next to me was a teacher from Nantyffyllon and he was able to tell me where he was from. I never saw him, never saw his face, not all the time I was there. We discussed all things from Shelley to the possible existence or non-existence of a God and he also taught me to play chess. We made chess boards out of card, something about that size, giving the instructions and the regulations for prison behaviour, on the back of that we drew 60, is it sixty squares that were necessary, we drew that, and we made chessmen out of soap, we coloured the yellow soap with {coal} to represent the black pieces. We became quite competent at playing chess so much that I kept it up and I do enjoy a game of chess these days. And that is where I learnt to play, without seeing my opponents’ board and without seeing his pieces. We did have an arrangement that which one, whichever of us went out of prison first, would go to the home of the one remaining in prison, so as to make contact with the family. And I was released before they were, because I was released on grounds of health. I got into such a state of health and eventually landed up in hospital. Phillip Snowdon asked questions in the House of Commons about me and I was released on grounds of health. And when I went home, was able some time then, after that to Nant y Fyllon, made contact with the family, and walking down the street, there were two people walking behind me, and not actually eavesdropping, I heard what they were saying. And then when I got to the home, described who the people were. Oh yes, they were the headmaster of the school and the other one, His Majesty’s Inspector of schools, and they were discussing these two teachers, Oh no, they would never get a job in the teaching profession again as long as they lived. When they came out of prison they would be blacklisted, never get a job. Well that didn’t work out as was expected.

Williams, Tom: There was in addition to the fine and being in prison, there was the thing, that for five years, you would not be able to exercise any of your citizens’ rights. You couldn’t stand for parliament, you couldn’t stand for local council, you couldn’t take anything of that kind, but it wasn’t applied, the opposition to this punishment was so great it was never applied, there was a feeling when you came out of prison that you could finally become members of parliament before the period was over. W. H. Hudson, he was a Member of Parliament for Hammersmith, he was a labour nominee and became a member of parliament. Sir Fred Brockway became a member of parliament and others, but the interesting fact was that they came back but they didn’t get back into the teaching profession. And one of them ended up in Bridgend, teaching something here in Bridgend and I was passing his door almost everyday for nine years I was working; I didn’t know think I mentioned this on Monday night. I was supposed to have given this lecture that night as I’m giving one tonight, anyway when the recorded tape has given the lots of differences, the differences will not be in facts, the differences will be in emphasis or the choice of words. I was working, going down to Cardiff at least once every week sometimes twice a week, and in the 1964 elections, a teacher from Pontardawe came down to Swansea West to help us, because we needed help there. Made enquiries about this person who had been in the cell next to me, Oh yes, yes he knew him, he told me where he had, no, he was still teaching, he was teaching in Bridgend and he told me that he would find out more about him. He did find out more about him, the election, the general elections taking place on a Thursday, on the Saturday, no, I had on the Monday, I had a letter from my friend, {unclear} my friend had died, he had seen the obituary in the Western Mail on the Saturday to the effect that he had died. I passed that man’s door every week for nine years, and had failed to make contact {because} I didn’t know that he lived there. If any person was sorry about missing something, then I was I was sorry about missing that. I went to see his widow and she said, yes, she did remember something about W.B. saying about occupying the cell with someone from Aberdare, or next door to someone from Aberdare, and we exchanged some stories and that sort of thing. She went to London, I’m sorry about that, because I would have liked to have had some {unclear} for a little longer.

Williams, Tom: This is probably something off the beat, but it is the human experience of someone who did something of this particular kind at this particular period, that is what I want to speak to you about, up to a point, but only up to a point because everywhere anything autobiographical must be inevitably I.I.I, and I don’t want it to be entirely that. I want to fit it in with the larger Labour movement, as such and the outbreak of war in 1914 by R.P. Arnold speaks about the failure of, which I’ve already referred to, what he speaks about, the failure of the Socialiste Internationale to live up to the thing that they said they’d do. They passed resolutions; they regularly did this, but when war came, because of the hapless nature of war and this is the point that I make, which I say as a political objector rather than a conscientious objector. I was opposed to war because I believed it was the effect and the result of Imperialist policies that were being pursued by the different nations to live up to the things that they had said they would do, and I had no intention of fighting their Imperialist wars for them.

Williams, Tom: And there is nothing new in trade unions or rather in Labour Party propping up, yes Trade Union too, we have a similar experience there. There is new, in Labour party attitudes and in policies and behaviour. At this time, the Executive of the Labour Party were passing resolutions to, against the war. Only up to a certain point, but the Parliamentary Labour party were opposed to the N.E.C. and they vetoed the decisions of the N.E.C. and also vetoed the decisions of the Conference, the Labour Party Conference. So as I say, there is nothing new under the sun, we are experiencing similar things now as we had then, the leadership, to my mind at any rate. I’m not a conformist, I will never conform, never conform to anybody except my wife, she makes me conform but I’ve never been a conformist and I do oppose the certain policies that are pursued by the N.E.C. and the Parliamentary Labour Party. I’m more in sync. with the N.E.C. at the moment, than I am with the parliamentary party.

Williams, Tom: But Keir Hardie and Henderson, Keir and Henderson, the first six months or so of the war, they spoke all over the country against the war. And the last time I heard Keir Hardie speak was in Aberdare in the market hall to a very, very crowded meeting but an extremely rowdy meeting. It was so rowdy that two or three shots were fired. I believe that they were blank shots, but shots were fired. I was there myself and I remember it very well, as I’ve said before, I’m a romantic, and we gathered round Keir Hardie to get him out of the hall without being hurt. And someone said ‘they’ll only get at you over my dead body’. He autographed a photograph of himself to be given to the young man who had said those words. It was given into the care of Evans Hughes, who later married one of Keir Hardies daughters, he became a member of parliament, given into his care, and I didn’t know about this until after he had died. I was the young romantic who had said that they would only get at him over my dead body, and I never had the autographed photograph, which indeed I would very much liked to have got, and even Fenner Brockway is interested and is making enquiries to see if that photograph is still extant and if it is I’ll get it one day and I’ll present it to the Peace Movement. I’d like very much to be able to do that. Anyhow Keir Hardie, he remained steadfast, no question about that, but Arthur Henderson, within six or nine months, he had gone to the other side and virtually they gave him recruiting sergeant for the government. So that we were let down very badly by the Labour movement as such, not the rank and file, those people in the rank and file were opposed to war, continued their opposition to war and did what I did, that is go to prison rather than join the army, and the same thing applies today, no doubt, the rank and file. I’ve every admiration for the rank and file of the movement, but I am suspicious of the leadership. And probably as I’ve grown in years, Jane has mentioned the next forty years, well, perhaps I’ll mellow in that time, I don’t know, I’ve not mellowed yet, if mellowing means conforming than I can never mellow. The next forty years will make me even more progressive than I am today, if that was possible.

Williams, Tom: The, the leadership, as I say, taking them as a whole, they failed to respond to the wishes of the rank and file. Got to be careful here, not that the rank and file were as conscious as one would like them to be, about the causes of war. And I mentioned on Monday night, we were in Swansea, my father and I used to do a lot of cycling, we cycled down from Aberdare to Swansea and on the day that war broke out, we were on the slip in Swansea and we heard the news about the outbreak of war. And I’ve never seen such a rash of Union Jacks as I saw on that day, within minutes there was a rash of Union Jacks everywhere. It was very disheartening really, to think that this could have happened, because most people knew, well most thinking people who knew that the war was a possibility knew that it was a result of contentions and differences of opinions and interests between Imperialist nations. People who were seeking benefit on an imperialist or economic basis, the markets for their goods, power, the balance of power.

Williams, Tom: E.D. Morel was one of the founders of the, democratic, the Union of Democratic Control, which highlighted the imposition that we suffered from them secretly promising. We didn’t know, we really did not know, what secret treaty’s we had signed in connection with this. It was as a result of trying, trying to keep our word with people to whom we had given secret bindings and promises that the war eventually broke out. And we didn’t, as ordinary people, we didn’t know about these secret treaty’s and E.D. Morel, although being a liberal, was a very progressive liberal, and he did a tremendous job in forming the Union of Democratic Control. I don’t think it’s in existence today. I haven’t heard or seen any of their prints or publications for a long, long time, plus there was also the War of Steel and Gold, I forget the author of that, can you remember {unclear} the author of the war of steel and gold, anyhow, that too dealt with the problem of the {machinations} of capitalism, and the drive for war, because, no doubt about it, in my mind at any rate and in many other people’s mind, that the manufacture of arms and munitions was a strong drive towards war. If you could create munitions and if you could manufacture arms, you’ve got to find a market for them and in order to find a market for them, you’ve got to stir up trouble where they can be used, or else they would going to go on piling and piling. And the time will come, unless there is an explosion, there’s an overproduction, and that’s what we have got today probably, in many instances an over production, overkill tells us quite clearly, could have destroyed the nation several times over. And we’re no nearer finding a solution to the nuclear arms race and how many conscientious objectors or war resisters, we will have developed as time goes on. I don’t know, I shan’t be called up to the army, I do know that, but I shall still be a war resister and I’ll try to inculcate into other people the need to resist this headlong and mad race towards self annihilation, because that is what it amounts to. It is self annihilation and unless we can understand this situation and get people to resist and be willing to resist, to the extent of going to prison if necessary.

Williams, Tom: And here I have to be careful again, because it reminds me of something I said on Monday night. When I came back from prison, I was able to go to meetings. I went to my first I.L.P. meeting in Aberdare and it was just at the time when they were beginning to introduce the combing out of miners from the coal mines to get into the army because the army was depleted, so many people had been murdered, slaughtered, that they needed fresh blood, fresh cannon fodder and this came up for discussion. I merely, I merely participated in the discussion, I didn’t raise the issue, merely participated in the discussion and I said that I thought the miners should resist, they should not allow themselves to be combed out. The result of that was that I was accused of being up for notoriety and out for martyrdom. Well all I can say in reply to that, was that I was paying a pretty expensive price for it, because my health was ruined. It was many years before I was able to get back to work and the first job that I was likely to get was down in Kent.

Williams, Tom: I went down to Kent to converse and Dr Salter and a few other people were trying to set up a co-operative down in, set up a co-operative down In, it was a market garden, to do, to set up a co-operative, a market garden co-operative there. It fell through, but I was earmarked as a driver it was felt that I was the driver there. It was curious that I was earmarked as a driver in that venture, because that was how I earned my living, very largely as a driver of, not Lorries, of vans in the distributory trade. But I must have shown some signs of being able to pass the test, there was no tests in those days. But the whole thing fell through and I came back to Aberdare, failed to get work.

Williams, Tom: My parents had suffered during the time that I was in prison. Now, I was asked this question on Monday night, ‘What was the effect on your family?’ Well, now the effect on my family was worse, in all probability, than the effect on me. I was incarcerated, I was away from it, they could no longer offer me a white feather, but my family they did suffer. They were ostracized, they suffered the ignominy of being called traitors and cowards and all that sort of thing. And I eventually got a job in Aberdare and of all people who employed me, it was the insurance, the Prudential Insurance Company. Now, I had no aptitude for that as far as I know, but I took the job and worked it for a while …