By Fleming, Robert, Bownes, David
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Extra info for Posters of the First World War
Enlistment). ” Norman Keene Published on behalf of the 23rd and 24th Battalions, Royal Fusiliers, 1915 This poster features a wounded dispatch rider, complete with Douglas motorcycle, pointing to a burning village in the distance in an effort to encourage more ‘sportsmen’ to enlist. The demands of soldiering required a high degree of strength and fitness and not everyone eligible was suitable, and so natural athletes, sportsmen and sporting shooters were obvious targets for recruiting. The 1914 drive for men of all classes to fill the ranks of Lord Kitchener’s ‘New Army’ had seen sportsmen particularly encouraged to form ‘Pals’ Battalions’, and many cricket, rugby and football teams, such as Clapton Orient (now Leyton Orient), joined en masse.
Representations of King George V and/or the British Isles were regularly deployed to elicit a suitable patriotic response, as was the phrase ‘Come along, boys’ with its paternalistic, slightly schoolmasterly tone. Certainly many of the one million recruits who joined up between August 1914 and January 1915 did so out of a genuine and deep-seated sense of national duty that pre-dated the start of the war. Indeed, it is important to remember that successful posters and recruitment literature did not manufacture consent, but rather they appealed to pre-existing beliefs and attitudes.
The use of emotional bribery to shame young men into volunteering received a mixed response at the time, and is not typical of the majority of posters produced by the British government. Many would-be recruits resented the bullying tone, and serving soldiers made up their own ironic responses to the text of this poster. For others, though, the message had the desired effect. ” – jumped over a fence! ’ IF YOU CANNOT JOIN THE ARMY – TRY & GET A RECRUIT Published by the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, March 1915 By the beginning of 1915 the numbers of new volunteers had dropped significantly, leading to ever more direct appeals to secure recruits.
Posters of the First World War by Fleming, Robert, Bownes, David