Western Mail, 23 August 1915
This cartoon is another representation of a recurrent theme referring to those who were shirking their duty and responsibilities to the country by not enlisting. Voluntary enlistment had fallen in 1915. This was partly a result of many of those wishing to enlist being unsuitable for general service, and partly to some reluctance following the heavy casualties during the opening year of the war. Nevertheless, the fanciful image of the begging recruiting sergeant is a very direct calling to those parents with sons at home to encourage their enlistment. The fact that this was not working is clear since by that time politicians were discussing the Military Service Act, introduced in January 1916, to bring about conscription of all able bodied males. Even with this Act there were always problems finding replacements for the army’s losses in battle such that by 1918 there was a need for reduction in the size of the army units (battalions and brigades) as internal economies were sought to maintain at least on paper a sizeable army in the field.
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