Grand recruiting rallies have been taking place this week. Organised by the Lieutenant Governor and supported by the States, their aim is encouraging militiamen to volunteer for overseas service.
The intention to hold the rallies was prominently advertised in the newspapers, alongside official appeals from King George for men to come forward. It’s all part of a nation-wide campaign to encourage voluntary recruitment and so avoid the necessity of introducing a compulsory military service law.
The first rally was held at St Peter’s Barracks, with men of the Militia’s West Battalion assembled to hear speeches by General Rochfort and the Bailiff, Sir William Vernon. Both were clear: if enough men did not volunteer at this time, then compulsory military service was unavoidable. And after that law came in, men would have no choice over joining the army or not. Better to volunteer now, the Lieutenant Governor intimated, than face the ignominy of conscription.
Concurrently, there has been an appeal in the newspapers for women to stop sending white feathers to militiamen still serving in the Island. Many of those who remain are unable to undertake active service because of medical conditions.