To mark International Conscientious Objectors Day we thought we’d offer some food for thought (and a gentle walk):
Stuart Edmonson was a Quaker. He was also the first Intelligence Officer for Devon and Cornwall:
Back row: all unknown
Front row: L-R: Major John Dingley, Captain JW Stuart Edmundson, Unknown (can you help identify any of these men?)
Born in 1911, Edmundson had a Quaker upbringing before becoming a Cambridge University graduate and Royal Engineer.
He was ordered to report to 7 Whitehall Place, London on 13th July 1940 at 1100 hours where he was to become the first Intelligence Officer for Devon and Cornwall. While he was away a large delivery of explosives and fuses arrived at his house. His wife Iris directed the driver to hide the load in the grounds of a blind hospital behind their house in Yelverton. Edmundson formed the Operational Patrols of Cornwall and then Devon.
The Devon Auxiliary Units HQ was at Langstone Manor, Dartmoor, and is just a few miles from a road that was built by Quaker conscientious objectors at Princetown (known as The Conchies Road or The Road to Nowhere).
On the 15th May, 2018, a free guided walk (with local historian Simon Dell) is available along this route https://moorlandguides.co.uk/history/#1521218918009-65981e1b-c9b2
CART’s Devon & Cornwall researcher Nina, will be going along (don’t forget your cake Nina !).
Edmundson left the Auxiliary Units in November 1943 and joined S.O.E. working in the Scientific Research Section. We don’t know how he reconciled his Quaker beliefs and his Auxiliary Units work. If you have any ideas – let us know !