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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

IWM John Brown joins the Army (Conscript Enlistment process)


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IWM John Brown joins the Army in 2 Parts (8.52) & (9.59)

Object description

The British administrative system whereby a conscript is identified and processed into the Army, March 1918.
Full description

The film takes a typical case, "John Brown", a clerk aged 30, single with one dependent (a sister ?) living in his own house in Catford in the suburbs of London. On the outbreak of war he attested. After the War Cabinet decides that men of his age and occupation should be conscripted, the Ministry of National Service, housed at the Windsor Hotel in London, takes up his case. The Minister, Sir Auckland Geddes, issues instructions for John Brown's class to be called up to his Parliamentary Secretary, Cecil Beck MP. John Brown's last exemption, according to his file in the ministry, was for three months expiring on 6th March. The registers pick this fact up automatically, and on 20th February notification is sent to John Brown to report on 7th March. In the meantime his cards and documents are sent to the recruiting station. On 7th March John Brown reports to the same recruiting station where he is examined by a doctor for the National Service Medical Board. As there is some doubt as to his health he is seen by a total of four doctors before being passed fit by the Board's president. On leaving he is given his first day's pay as a soldier. The Army informs the Ministry of National Service, which removes John Brown's name from the military register and informs the Registrar General at the War Office. The final scene is of John Brown in Army uniform as Private Brown.
Physical description



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