Clara Gilbert Cole


Clara Gilbert Cole born December 4, 1868. (d. 1956). Suffragist, socialist, anarchist, antiwar poet, and pamphleteer. Volunteer nurse. Founded League Against War and Conscription, 1915; later founded No Conscription Fellowship. Arrested for non-conscription banner at Trafalgar Square, 1916; released to protest many times. Arrested for antiwar activity, Kettering, Northamptonshire, 1916; served 5 months prison. Arrested for unemployed protest, 1922.


I will nurse men for life, but not send them back to the trenches.” (Peace Pledge Union, The Men Who Said No)

Men and Women of England, Arbitration finally settles all wars. If at the end of a war, why not at the beginning? If not at the beginning why not now? Demand terms of settlement from our Government as the German people are doing.” (protest sign, July 11, 1915, Ibid)

When the hand will not rise to smite, And the heart will refuse to fight, When munitions cannot be made, And we to shape Death shrink, afraid To see the gangrened flesh, erstwhile So white, and see the silent pile
This hour was active limb and brain, Then surely we shall end this pain.
They pray to God “to end this strife”, He waits for them to stay the knife.
The Alternative
Better barren women than children bred for war,
Better death in birth than manhood trained for murder; Better bleak wild country than shattered flesh and bone; Better voided earth before Primeval Sundown.
And better dead blank world if battles still must rage—
But best of all no war at all, And Peace in a Golden Age.

(“WHEN”; photo her husband’s portrait