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Your Country Needs You (well I do!)


funfly
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Martyn,

In the photo gallery section of John Duncan's web-site-Newbattle at War-you will find a series of 41 recruitment and other posters from the WW1 War Years.

You will also find in the "8th Royal Scots at War" section, the front of a post card extolling the virtue of joining that particular Regiment,in 1914.

I have no personal knowledge of how successful either campaigns were. :D

George

The current Scots Guards bar, next to The Guards Hotel, is on Clifton Terrace in Edinburgh. About 50 yards away is a pub/restaurant with a poster outside, using the KoK image.

Bruce

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It's depends on the person making the statement. How would they have responded to Kitchener if he'd said he wanted them? But when it's a cute looking girl you get a very different response.

(Obviously, I'm still thinking about that Navy poster.) :)

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"Interesting that in Britain the word is 'needs' whereas in America it's 'wants'."

Actually that's not true Centurion. The confusion is because, on the original drawing on the cover of the London Opinion, Kitchener himself is meant to be pointing at you and saying, "Your Country Needs You".

However, when the drawing was made into a poster it was not a direct appeal from KofK; "Britons - (Kitchener) Wants You".

Two different versions of a similar message (see below).

Still no sign of the poster being used outside London yet. If any of you have photographs of them pinned on a wall it would be great to see them.

As the poster was never part of the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee campaign it would be interesting to know who paid for the posters to be printed and put up.

Cheers,

Taff

.

post-1565-1276157983.jpg

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If that girl who wants me in the Navy had shown up sooner I would have followed her!

Re WW1 Posters.

On a recent trip to Ypres we purchased a pack of cards which had 54 different WW1 posters on them - now around a recruitment poster on our dining room wall. The Ace of Spades being the Kitchener early version - just the figure and under this ...."needs you".Several from America including the above. Many exhorting women , and including them!

GR/AM1917

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Great stuff, seems that I am among people who know a thing or two.

Would anyone who posted here be so kind as to email me with their real name and what connection they have with WW1.

Also let me know if I can contact you directly at any time (by email)

Not obligatory of course but it will help accreditation of the work.

my own email address is th AT tcher.co.uk or martyn AT funfly.co.uk

No, I am no relation to HER!

Martyn Thatcher

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"Interesting that in Britain the word is 'needs' whereas in America it's 'wants'."

Actually that's not true Centurion. The confusion is because, on the original drawing on the cover of the London Opinion, Kitchener himself is meant to be pointing at you and saying, "Your Country Needs You".

However, when the drawing was made into a poster it was not a direct appeal from KofK; "Britons - (Kitchener) Wants You".

.

AFAIK London Opinion also printed some posters replicating the cover

Actually 'needs 'echos lines from a popular music hall recruiting song "but we think you have to go, for your King and your country both need you so"

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I'm pretty sure the IWM has the original art work.

Chris

I was told that the IWM had some original art work and I plan to go down to meet someone in a month or so's time. Problem is I don't have a contact there.

Anyone on the forums with a name for me or a good contact at the IWM?

M

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  • 3 weeks later...

Though it's a bit of a peripheral source, W.Jones-Edwards' autobiography (in Welsh) Ar Lethrau Ffair Rhos (Aberystwyth, 1963) p.56 says that "Kitchener" posters were displayed at the Post Office and a tailor's shop in the small Cardiganshire village of Pontrhydygroes, and also that "It was facing everyone in the Bont Post Office" (probably Pontrhydfendigaid, just south of his own village of Ffair Rhos). He enlisted in April 1915.

Labour Exchanges were believed to be a prime site for displaying recruiting posters, and there is a nice picture of one at Stepney Street, Llanelli probably December 1914 or a little later, showing identifiable posters in its windows, though not the "Kitchener" one. Towards the end of 1914 Welsh Labour Exchanges were circularised by the Welsh National Executive Committee which was raising the Welsh Army Corps (aka the 38th Welsh Division) as to their poster stocks and designs.

The responses revealed that many Exchanges didn't display any posters at that time: of 29 respondents 18 had none on show. At Caernarfon, the Exchange complained that it lacked any Welsh Army Corps types and had had to resort to sticking up foolscap "Welsh Army Corps letters"; but at that time all it had were "Kitchener" and Regular Army type posters (source: National Library of Wales, Welsh Army Corps papers, file "133 L/49", summary of replies by managers of Welsh Labour Exchanges, 26 November 1914).

On 23 October 1915 when posting up the new Derby Scheme series issued by the new Joint Labour Recruiting Committee, recruiters were ordered to remove all traces of earlier posters. Remaining images of Lord K therefore disappeared from walls and Labour Exchanges some seven months before his death.

As regards the IWM, if you contact their Department of Art (see IWM website) and say you'd like to see relevant material and also discuss the subject with them, I'd hope someone would give you some help. If available sources include published works or magazines you'd probably have to consult those in the general Reading Room, so your appointment might have to extend to booking a seat there too (unless the new setup details I spy on their site mean that now most types of collections are consulted in a single Research Room?)

http://www.iwmcollections.org.uk/qryArt.php (for Art collections search)

http://collections.iwm.org.uk/server/show/nav.24490 (for booking access, queries etc.)

I do have contacts at the IWM but not in Art, unfortunately!

LST_164

Edited by LST_164
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May I bring you up to date with a few more observations. Lots of stuff but a few snippets below.

Firstly I cannot believe just how helpful the IWM staff have been, I have visited there and spoken to specialists.

As many have commented here, the design was never intended to be a poster but the cover for an ailing magazine, few would have seen the message "Your Country Needs You". I found that the suggestion here that this echoes the words of a popular song worthy of further investigation.

The poster was produced by a recruitment business with the permission of the magazine and the wording was different. Initially it said; "Britons, Kitchener(the picture) wants you" "Join your countries Army" This was the first time that anyone but the King had personally requested the population to join up.

The poster was rarely if ever seen outside of London and was deemed unsuccessful by the powers that be and removed in 1915 along with a lot of other designs.

No contemporary records about it and it seems to have been a damp squid at the time.

Initially the IWM used the "Your Country Needs You" version as its WW1 advertising seems to have contributed to the myth that this was a recruiting poster used in WW1 which, of course, it never was.

Seems to have grown as an idea over the intervening years, remember Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club?

Funnily enough the american poster did very well for very different reasons.

Please keep coming to me with any suggestions and comments. Especially if anyone has memories of any works of art, or church art, where there is a pointing finger and a simmilar pose. I get the impression that this image will have appeared in past art.

My thanks..

Mart

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The poster was rarely if ever seen outside of London and was deemed unsuccessful by the powers that be and removed in 1915 along with a lot of other designs.

No contemporary records about it and it seems to have been a damp squid at the time.

...the myth that this was a recruiting poster used in WW1 which, of course, it never was.

Seems to have grown as an idea over the intervening years ...

This is in direct contradiction to an IWM publication which says that 'the poster proved so successful that it was repeated in many different versions', was widely imitated, was the most successful war poster of all time, and inspired a button badge.

They need to get their story sorted.

What, exactly, were the other countries' artists (eg Christy, Flagg and Mauzan) imitating?

the cover for an ailing magazine,

Was London Opinion ailing?

Gwyn

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Dragon and Manchester Terrier, I hear what you say and have read the sites you quote. However these observations were made recently and might (I say might) be based on the myth rather than fact.

Can you give me any contemporary (to 1914) observations to the claim that the poster was successful - that's the problem. It does seem that HMG pulled all graphic posters during 1915 as ineffective however this was 'their' view and in itself might not have been accurate.

No doubt that the US poster idea came directly from the Leete one. The success of the US poster is in no doubt.

London Observer, can you give me any information about its circumstances in 1914 as I understand it was ailing at that time but would be interested to hear any other contemporary information to the contrary. This is quite important to the study as the 'views'of the image is quite relevant. Circulation figures would be interesting otherwise its speculation.

Ta.

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Thank you for hearing what I said. That's kind of you. I did not mention any sites; I mentioned a book published by the IWM which I have in my possession. Please excuse me for not getting it out again to reference it.

London Observer, can you give me any information about its circumstances in 1914

The magazine was the London Opinion, not the London Observer.

I'm afraid I can't. Sorry. Maybe try the National Library.

Gwyn

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Dragon

said;"This is in direct contradiction to an IWM publication which says that 'the poster proved so successful that it was repeated in many different versions', was widely imitated, was the most successful war poster of all time, and inspired a button badge."

Can you give me a reference for this as I can't find it on their website but it may be in a pamphlet somewhere. Would appreciate this.

Mart

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Mart/funfly

Your questions prompted me to dig out my copy of "The Lord Kitchener Memorial Book". Undated, but published "on behalf of the Lord Kitchener Memorial National Fund" by Hodder and Stoughton.

Interestingly it contains an essay called "Advertising For An Army" by Sir Hedley F. Le Bas. It contains copies of thirty seven recruitment adverts but doesnt include the famous poster. Le Bas makes no reference to the poster at all in the text either. Having said that the essay seems to be more about Le Bas's success at advertising for an army, for example:

Indeed,I think I was in a great measure responsible for the new recruits ultimately becoming known as "Kitchener's Army". As a business man I know the value of a good name-the goodwill, if I may use the word,of a good name.

So, perhaps he failed to mention the poster because it wasn't his idea?

There is an article on Le Bas, "Sir Hedley Le Bas and the Origins of Domestic Propaganda in Britain 1914–1917" by Nicholas Hiley published in the European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 21 Iss: 8, pp.30 - 46.

Hope this is of interest

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The bit about the poster being successful was in the IWM booklet called 'Posters of the First World War' which was produced by the Museum to accompany the 'War Posters' exhibition in 1972.

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Manchester Terrier, Thanks for that, the guy Nicholas Hiley had quite a bit to say about WW1 advertising, have you a copy of any of the publications you mention?

mart

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Mart,

all i have is the Kitchener Memorial Book. The Hiley info came from googleing Le Bas.

Maybe as a student you could access his article via the uni library?

cheers

baz

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LST 166 following your reference to the poster being seen in Glamorgan, I am finding some references to it being seen else where. I have an important area of conflict now; 1. The poster was little seen and only within the London Area and was relatively ineffective compared with

The poster was seen across the country and was very effective! My gut feelings are that the fact lies somewhere between the two but as this is a dissertation I am not allowed guesses only verified facts so I continue with this line of investigation as the impact of the poster at the time is quite important when I am asking the question "why was it effective"!

Do you have the book you mentioned or is the reference you gave to me quoted elsewhere, I need the information as I wish to reference it myself.

On another note, I have read a couple of observations about Kitchener's eyes in that they were very slightly divergent giving him a peculiar 'stare' when he looked at you. Some work for me to do with photographs and images here but any observations from the forum will be welcome.

Contemporary writers have described the eyes on the poster as 'following you around'

Interesting about the moustache in that the one drawn by Leete is far larger (and blacker) than Kitchener's as seen on the photo that I think Leete copied. Does the moustache draw you to the eyes? any observations?

In 1910 there was a Godfrey Phillips advert for cigarettes with a virtually identical image, how cool is that?

I know this is getting away from WW! history but there might be ones out there who are interested to run with this.

Martyn

P.S. I want to be promoted to Major General or something very important ;)

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LST 166 following your reference to the poster being seen in Glamorgan, I am finding some references to it being seen else where. I have an important area of conflict now; 1. The poster was little seen and only within the London Area and was relatively ineffective compared with

The poster was seen across the country and was very effective! My gut feelings are that the fact lies somewhere between the two but as this is a dissertation I am not allowed guesses only verified facts so I continue with this line of investigation as the impact of the poster at the time is quite important when I am asking the question "why was it effective"!

Do you have the book you mentioned or is the reference you gave to me quoted elsewhere, I need the information as I wish to reference it myself.

Martyn,

It's a long shot but looking in the Archives of the Regional Press (Yorkshire Post, Newcastle Journal, Western Daily Mail etc.) - either directly for the poster, or for reference to local recruiting committees - may give you something.

You may be able to turn up the Archives of the company that printed the poster (not David Allen as far as I remember, it's not mentioned in that company's "biography", and I have been unable to trace their archives - the successor companies are denying knowledge). If you do that may give you a lead!

On another note, I have read a couple of observations about Kitchener's eyes in that they were very slightly divergent giving him a peculiar 'stare' when he looked at you. Some work for me to do with photographs and images here but any observations from the forum will be welcome.

Contemporary writers have described the eyes on the poster as 'following you around'

Interesting about the moustache in that the one drawn by Leete is far larger (and blacker) than Kitchener's as seen on the photo that I think Leete copied. Does the moustache draw you to the eyes? any observations?

In 1910 there was a Godfrey Phillips advert for cigarettes with a virtually identical image, how cool is that?

I know this is getting away from WW! history but there might be ones out there who are interested to run with this.

Martyn

P.S. I want to be promoted to Major General or something very important ;)

Is the Godfrey Philips advert by any chance for a brand called BDV? In Supplementary Notes in WED Allan’s book*, headed “Personalities of the Old London Office”, W Macqueen-Pope (1957 pp 208-217), writes:

and there was James

Motherwell, a fine, good-looking man from Belfast who had a long

and faithful service with the firm. His face became famous on a

nation-wide scale. Allens, who did much commercial as well as

theatrical work, produced a poster for a famous firm of cigarettes

— “B.D.V.” It showed a packet of cigarettes and a very goodlooking

dark man whose eyes were dead centre of the poster and

which consequently followed the observer everywhere, as did the

pointing finger. That man was James Motherwell.

James Gemmel Motherwell died in Mesopotamia from Cholera during WW1 and is buried at Baghdad. If you have an image of this poster, I would very much like a copy.

* Allen, W.E.D., (1957), David Allens, The History of a Family Firm 1857-1957, London, John Murray

Best wishes

David

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yep, BDV cigarettes an advert for Godfrey Philips Cigarettes London 1910.

This was pictured in an Article I located by Carlo Ginzburg titled "Your Country Needs You, a case Study in Political Iconography, printed in the History Workshop Journal 2001, although I don't know the date when it was written.

Interestedly he refers to paintings of Christ and others including the Michelangelo Creation of the Sun and Moon, where a figure looks directly at you and points at you with a foreshortened index finger. An art technique to make a link (a bridge) between the person illustrated and you the observer.

Thanks for your input, your revelations about the person in the ciggi ad very interesting.

Martyn

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