This film is part of Free

Conscription

The nation's menfolk try anything to avoid being 'called up' in this raucous WWI comedy.

Comedy 1915 8 mins

Overview

"Conscription at last" announces this raucous WWI comedy; "All men of right age and physique to be called to the colours". Panic spreads like wildfire throughout the male population and the 'shirkers' do their best to evade detection, feigning old age, injury and even playing dead. They come good in the end, of course, and the film finishes with a patriotic shot of our boys marching tall.

Around 2.5 million men enlisted in the British Army between August 1914 and December 1915. But with the numbers of new recruits declining, conscription was eventually introduced in January 1916 - the year after this film was made. Unsurprisingly, the film supports recruitment efforts, poking fun at the cowardly shirkers and hammering home its not-so-subtle final message: "Don't you want to do your bit?... Don't wait for conscription".