Armed Forces

In August 1914, the voice of the Primitive Methodist Leader thundered, ‘A wave of madness has swept over Europe, and Britain is invited to plunge into a fury that is insane… It is the policy of Bedlam and it is the statecraft of hell.' 

A week later, in an astonishing U-turn, the President, Arthur Guttery, called for young men to enlist, declaring, ‘Our chapels are not the refuge of dissent; they are the citadels of liberty, and they train men who will break all tyranny in pieces.’  Methodist women were not exempt: ‘Braver still are the women, who surrender their husbands, sons and sweethearts, and who hide their tears in smiles that their loved ones may not be distressed.’ 

Many responded to the call, believing with the Wesleyan president, Dinsdale Young, that ‘love of country is part of the love of God.’ But others, also for conscience’ sake, chose a path which led to rejection, persecution, and even in extreme cases, death.