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Volunteers Defending the British Isles in the First World War
Dimensions:6.14" x 9.21"
Photos:19 color and black & white
Item No. 9781781558188
In August 1914, on the outbreak of the First World War, there was enormous pressure on men to enlist in Kitchener’s New Armies, supplementing the tiny regular army and Territorial Force. This pressure was intense, and posters, the entreaties of local worthies, and an apparently indiscriminate scattering of white feathers, all exacerbated masculine sensitivity. We are all familiar, if only through BBC TV’s ‘Dad’s Army’, with the Home Guard of the Second World War.Far less is known of their First World War equivalent: the Volunteer Training Corps (VTC). Like their counter-parts in WW2, the VTC comprised those who were too old, too young, too unfit or too indispensable to serve in the regular forces. They fought for the right to be armed, uniformed and trained; to be employed on meaningful duties; and at first, to exist at all. This book explores the origins, development and structure of the VTC, along with those who belonged to the many supporting medical, transport, police and youth organisations who kept the home fires burning or, in some cases, tried to put them out. The VTC arose from the need of those men who were forced to stay at home to be seen to be doing their bit. They saw the removal of the bulk of both the regular army and the Territorial Force to the Western Front as their opportunity to prepare to resist the expected German invasion of Britain, and as a way of countering accusations of shirking, or even cowardice.