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WW 1 Part 4

On the outbreak of the First World War, the Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith, appointed Kitchener as Secretary of War. Kitchener, the first member of the military to hold the post, was given the task of recruiting a large army to fight Germany. With the help of a war poster that featured Kitchener and the words: 'Join Your Country's Army', over 3,000,000 men volunteered in the first two years of the war.

British troops moving up to the line 1915.

By January 1916 allied losses had reached previously inconceivable numbers. Faraway place names like Mons, Marne, Ypres and Gallipoli would remain etched in many families memories for years to come.
The ready supply of young patriotic volunteers was all but exhausted. So on January 25th the first Military Service Bill was passed introducing conscription of all eligible single men between the ages of 18 and 41 to serve.
By May 1916 the demand for men was still outweighing supply and on May 16th the Second Military Service Bill was passed extending conscription to married men and extending  the eligible ages to between 17-1/2 and 50.
Those who refused to serve were imprisoned, while those who felt unable to take up arms on religious or conscientious grounds were conscripted to the Non-Combatant Corps where many performed great acts of bravery serving as stretcher bearers and ambulance drivers.


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