This film is part of Free

Citizen Army Inspected

Colonel Lord Harris provides appropriate decorum and formality for a volunteer inspection in Beckenham during WWI.

Non-Fiction 1915 1 mins Silent


Who could resist the uniform or the opportunities the army offered? Newsreel stories like this one from Topical Budget about the voluntary army were morale boosting, and did their bit to encourage recruitment too. Relatives and friends could feel proud seeing their loved ones on screen. The men's emotionless expressions and the formality of filming emphasises the seriousness of the occasion.

By late September 1915, 2.25 million had enlisted but almost two in every five volunteers were entirely unfit for military service. Music hall artistes of the time worked tirelessly for recruitment. Scottish singer and comedian Harry Lauder toured the music halls, offering 'ten pounds for the first recruit tonight'.