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Remembered Today:

Recruiting Procession - where and when?

Stereoview Paul

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This is a very rare stereoview showing a group of women who seem to be dressed in the national costumes of the allied forces; part of a larger event I suggest from the large number 2 carried. I would guess London but I have no real evidence for that.

All ideas gratefully received - Thanks Paul

Gi Card118.jpg

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There are a couple of possibilities as to the year, though it was in London.


The Women's Social and Political Union, led by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel were enthusiastic as to the war aims and with the connivance of Lloyd George organised a huge 'Women's Right to Serve March' in London on the 17 July 1915.  The march was to encourage the employment of women in the munitions industry and came in the wake of the 'munitions crisis'.

It was reported four thousand women marched, "Most picturesque of all was the pageant of the Allies, in which the feminine national garb of the allies was worn. Scotland being there with the rest.  Dauntless Belgium was symbolised by a girl, frail and in rags with a tattered flag of that undying nation held aloft....It was an inspiring moment when a recruiting procession of 1000 lads was encountered.  Women and spectators alike cheering loudly."

Coatbridge Express 21 July 1915.

(Syndicated the reference to Scotland for local readers)


The Suffragette organisations had held marches and demonstrations pre-war but their attitude to the war was ambiguous, some factions did not support the war but the WSPU and others were enthusiastic recruiters.   The tradition of marches continued and there was a further march the following year on the 22nd July 1916 to support "A still greater war effort", including more employment of women especially in munitions factories and other aims such as more freedom for the fleet and the internment of enemy aliens.  In the weeks leading up to the march the Suffragette magazine appealed for young women to take part in the 'Special Decorative Features of the Procession'.  This was described once again as 'The Pageant of the Allies'

The 1916 event was widely publicised and on the 29 July the Illiustrated London News had a double page spread of pictures from the March, including women in costume. Available on British Newspaper Archive.

It began on Victoria Embankment and was watched in Whitehall by Lloyd George and Churchill as they made their way to Trafalgar Square.


I've now found a copy of your picture in Reynolds News

It was the 1915 March.  I think the description as a 'Recruiting Procession' is disingenuous in that it was toencourage the employment of women in industry, especially munitions, towards which there was much opposition.

Image courtesy BNA on FMP

(I left the 1916 bit in as it was a much bigger event but clearly no emphasis on recruitment as there was now conscription).



Screenshot 2021-04-02 at 15.33.02.png

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Wow - thank you. Great info. 


And yes most of the Realistic Travels captions are somewhat short of the whole truth!


Thanks again - Paul

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