CPS Unit Number 124-01

CPS Unit Number 124-01

Camp: 124

Unit ID: 1

Operating agency: AFSC

Opened: 12 1943

Closed: 9 1946


CPS Unit No. 124, a Training School unit located at Delaware State Colony Training School in Stockley, Delaware and operated by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), opened in December 1943. After AFSC withdrew from the CPS program in March 1946, Selective Service operated the unit until it closed in September 1946. The men worked as ward attendants.

Stockley, Delaware, United States
The people:

Men in Friends camps and units tended to report the greatest diversity in religious affiliation when entering CPS.  A number in Friends camps reported no religious affiliation.


On average, men in Friends camps and units had completed 14.27 years of education, with sixty-eight percent reporting completion of some college, college graduation, or post graduate work.  Forty-three percent of the men reported their occupation on entry to CPS as technical or professional work.  (Sibley and Jacob pp. 171-72)

The work:

The chief difference between mental health units and training schools lay in the type of patient admitted.  Training schools were devoted to care of those whose mental conditions derived from hereditary factors, or for whom there was little or no hope for cure.  The work in training schools was very similar to that in mental hospitals. 

Men worked as ward attendants at the school.  The July 15, 1944 issue of The Reporter, published by the National Service Board of Religious Objectors, included a description of the day-to-day activities at Stockley.

The day attendant in the Delaware State Training School at Stockley comes on duty after breakfast.  He puts toothpaste on two dozen toothbrushes and sees to it that 24 of his feeble minded charges brush their teeth.  He sees to it that a higher-grade worker-patient sweeps the floor; another scrubs the floor; and another takes out the trash.  As another worker is picking up papers, the attendant sees to it that the rest of the patients change into their day clothes.  All this takes a good part of the morning.  Comes noon, together with the worker-patients, he gets them off to lunch.

During the meal, he keeps an eye on the patients to see that they get enough—that they don’t steal anyone else’s food—and don’t give their food away.  In the afternoon, the lower-grade patients go to the play yard, and the higher-grade worker-patients go back to work.  The supper routine is pretty much the same as at noon.  At bedtime, he checks to be sure that everyone is clean, gives medication to the patients with epilepsy, bandages cuts, stops fights, and then pretty much collapses as everyone finally gets to sleep.  (The Reporter, July 15, 1944 in Sareyan p. 77)

Camp life:

As CPS men and women collected narratives on treatment and abuse in mental hospitals, they included data from training schools as well.  That information was published in Out of Sight, Out of Mind, later shown to reporters who exposed conditions in mental hospitals and training schools.  The men and women COs supplied information on conditions at Stockley. 


The men published a camp paper called This Week from September 1944 through March 1946.


For more information on women COs see Rachel Waltner Goossen, Women Against the Good War: Conscientious Objection and Gender on the American Home Front, 1941-47. Chapel Hill, NC:  The University of North Carolina Press, 1997.


See Alex Sareyan, The Turning Point: How Persons of Conscience Brought About Major Change in the Care of America’s Mentally Ill.  Scottdale, PA:  Herald Press, 1994.


See also Mulford Q. Sibley and Philip E. Jacob, Conscription of Conscience:  The American State and the Conscientious Objector, 1940-47. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1952.


Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Camp periodicals database.


For more in depth treatment of mental health and training school units, see Steven J. Taylor, Acts of Conscience: World War II, Mental Institutions, and Religious Objectors. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2009.