'Be honest with yourself. Be certain that your so-called reason is not a selfish excuse. Enlist Today'.
Coloured recruiting poster, No 127 in the series, published by Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, London, 1916 (c).
For the first year of the war voluntary enlistment into the Army held up well, but by the end of 1915 the number of new recruits was falling. Stories of the horrors soldiers were facing discouraged men from enlisting. Recruiters therefore made a last effort to avoid instituting conscription. This poster quotes part of Lord Kitchener's Guildhall speech in July 1915 in which he asked potential volunteers: 'Be honest with yourself. Be certain that your so-called reason is not a selfish excuse. Enlist Today'.
The demand was still not met, and the Military Services Act was passed in January 1916 to introduce conscription.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, London
National Army Museum, Study collection