The long influence of the trench journal

The influence of the First World War trench journal carried on into the Second World War, though regimental examples are less well-known. This example was created by an unlikely group – in FWW terms that is – conscientious objectors.


Flowery cover


Noticeable is the continuation of the word ‘conchie’, and apart from the introduction by Fenner Brockway, its contributions are anonymous, though Brockway identifies some contributors. Another similarity is the anti-authoritarian stance, The Flowery being a compilation from a total of 17 individual handmade magazines, one copy per issue, made secretly, each issue/copy being handwritten and bound using the thread issued to conchies in prison for the purpose of sewing mailbags. In this they echo some of the most precious FWW trench journals, those written by hand, just as much as they echo the barely-known ‘conchie trench journals’ of 1914-1919.

Brockway describes the making process, the writers and artists preparing their handwritten and hand-drawn copy out of sight, the sheets then being bound either in cells or inside a mailbag as it was supposed to be being worked on. It was as secretive as the comparable processes had been in the First World War.





Other similarities are the wordplay of the title, explained by Brockway; and the alphabet, familiar to all who have looked at trench journals for 1914-18.


Flowery alphabet


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