Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Recruiting for Kitchener’s Army

The object of this game is to recruit as many able bodies as possible from the major cities of the United Kingdom (which included the whole of Ireland at the time). In its way, the existence of this game added to the pressure on the civilian to join, chiming with another popular Parliamentary Recruiting Committee poster ‘Daddy, What did you do in the Great War?’ by Savile Lumley, in which a middle-aged man is asked this potent question by his daughter – the implication being that he had not played his part in the conflict. This game, played at home, would be a reminder to father to play his part in the conflict. Based on the principle of the traditional game of ‘snakes and ladders’, each player, having ‘signed the pledge’ would advance around the UK, picking up recruits from its major cities – the snakes in this case being a variety of defects: ‘under-development’, ‘drink’, ‘defective teeth’, and ‘smoker’s heart’. The player with the highest number of counters – recruits – wins the game. 

Peter Doyle's book cover a wide variety of aspects of the British involvement in the First World War; see his Amazon page (here).

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