Oh la la general Kitchener

As the First World War dragged along it soon became clear that the regular army were in no way capable of sustaining the level of action that this new modern war had brought. Rather than keep the core of the established fully trained troops in reserve or integrated with the new civilian army that was to be created the Government had decided it was better to throw them into France in an Expeditionary force that was to be halved within the first few weeks of combat.   The numbers required to fight the war were going to be way beyond anything seen before. It would not be fought with one large battle like at Waterloo or “all be over by Christmas”.  It seems quite strange but the army hierarchy seemed to be very late in grasping this concept. Smaller conflicts such as the Boer war and the Troubles in Southern Ireland had not focused the mind on what was rapidly developing into a war that would dominate Europe, the near and Middle East plus a sizeable part of Africa.

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So it was that soon conscription was needed. This is where any able bodied adult Man can join the army as an infantryman. The starting age was 18, although many lied about their age to get in (and were readily accepted it has to be said).  The final age was 41 with the men older t sent to the fields or the armament factories. The famous recruitment poster of a heavily moustachioed Kitchener pointing an accusing finger out at the man in the street saying that he wanted them might be considered somewhat homoerotic now but back then the meaning was clear. He wanted you to join the army and fight the Hun for King and Country (not your family or you way of life mind you).

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Once you joined the growing ranks of Kitchener’s conscripts he was deeply worried about their welfare in France, or at least one aspect of it. In an open letter to new soldiers General Kitchner was at great pains to point out the dangers of enjoying the local French girls, especially the ones that were prostitutes. Now we can trust in a decent STI Testing London available kit such as the ones from check urself plus. Back then the only way to avoid an sti was abstaining, something that a group of young war hunger men, soon to be warriors (and very possibly dead or hideously disfigured) were not too keen on doing. Only Kitchener, being of upper class stock knew the dangers they faced from the local ladies as he had probably been on the Grand Tour and visited a few himself. Iwonder how many bothered to heed him?

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