The pacifist Quaker honored for his courage in World War II: an amazing story of conscientious objector who won the French courageous honor of saving wounded men under heavy German fire
- Documents of a British conscientious objector in World War II were found
- William “Bill” Spray refused to fight in the war because he was a Quaker
- Instead, he worked as a medic in the Friends Ambulance Unit in North Africa
- The collection contains photos, documents and a diary from the war
- Mr. Spray received the Croix De Guerre Medal for bravery during the war
A variety of notable documents have been discovered belonging to a British conscientious objector honored by the French during World War II.
The journal, documents and photos of William ‘Bill’ Spray, who declined to fight in World War II due to the fact that he was a Quaker, have come to light after being held by a private collector for decades.
Instead of going to battle as a soldier, Mr. Spray was stationed with the Friends Ambulance Unit in 1943 and assisted troops in the French 2nd Armored Division in Algeria.
Documents by British controversial objector William ‘Bill’ Spray (World War II) were discovered after decades in the hands of a private collector
The collection will be sold by C&T Auctions on July 8 and is expected to cost around £ 600
He received the Croix De Guerre, the highest and most prestigious French military award, for bravery for rescuing wounded soldiers under heavy German fire.
The sale of the archive, organized by C&T Auctions, will take place on July 8 and the collection is expected to cost around £ 600.
Tim Harper, specialist at C&T Auctions, said: “This is a probably unique collection of a conscientious objector who served as leader of a group of ambulances at the Friends Ambulance Unit.
No one could ever question his courage, as he saved injured men under attack on numerous occasions.
“It is a remarkable story and an archive of considerable historical interest.”
Mr Spray declined to fight during the war because he was a Quaker, but was assigned to the Friends Ambulance Unit, where he acted as a physician for troops stationed in North Africa
The Cambridge graduate kept a diary (photo) of his stories during the war. He received the Croix De Guerre, the highest French military honor for bravery for rescuing wounded soldiers under heavy German fire
Mr. Spray was one of 60,000 men registered as a conscientious objector during World War II, and many chose to work in bomb-clearing units, mines and farms in wartime Britain.
About 5,500 objections were arrested and labeled cowards for refusing to fight.
After training as a paramedic and two years in a hospital, Mr. Spray was called up to the Friends Ambulance Unit to support Allied soldiers during the war.
Mr. Spray kept other documents and photos, including the grave of fellow physician David Frazer (top row, second right), who died trying to save a soldier in Strasbourg in February 1945
Mr. Spray returned to England in time for D-Day in 1944 and worked as a headmaster in Berkshire before passing away in the 1980s
The Cambridge graduate was also present in Normandy in 1944, while also leading a team of physicians in Morocco and Algeria.
He kept a journal during the war and also took several photos of his experiences on the front line, including a picture of the grave of fellow doctor Dave Frazer, who died trying to fire a victim in Strasbourg in February 1945 .
After returning to England before D-Day in May 1944, he became headmaster of Quaker Leighton Park School in Berskhire before his death in the 1980s.