War Memoir of Robert Ellwood

Ellwood: There was a feeling of what shall I say, very negative feeling about conscription. We didn’t want the type of fellow amongst us who had to be forced to fight for his country. We didn’t want that type at all. If he didn’t come here willingly and did it for the reasons that brought us there, like the love of our country and our families and our culture and our way of life and so on, we didn’t want him at all. He was of no value at all I our estimation if he didn’t have the guts to fight for his country without being forced to do it. We didn’t want him. And that was a common feeling. And that was the feeling that caused the imperial the Australian imperial Forces to vote solidly against conscription. We all had a vote, those that were able to in the circumstances you know. That was the feeling about conscription. We didn’t want that type of fellow. He was no of value as far as we were concerned. And I think that is more or less in the side proven by a lot of the reports we hear abut Vietnam. You can’t force a man to fight for things. If he hasn’t got love and respect and appreciation of what he owns and what his principles are well he is not worth much.

Turnbull: You never met anyone who argued yes over that.

Ellwood: No I did not. I can’t say so. That’s only just speaking from a very small area. you know, just amongst the crowd that I knew and mixed with but in our little show I don’t remember we had anything up to five and six hundred people. I don’t remember anybody that was in favour of it at all. No they didn’t want that type of man. The man who had to be for those women that he left behind and loved and the country that he loved and his possessions and all that was dear to him, he didn’t want him. He was of no value at all, that fellow. That was our feeling and personally its mine too.