World War I: The All-Volunteer British Army

Pretty shocking to realize that 3 million men volunteered to serve in the British Armed Forces in World War I; over half a million enlisted in the first two months of the war alone. A newly appointed Lord Herbert Kitchener, Secretary of State for War (he was famous for implementing the “scorched earth policy” during the Boer War at the turn of the century — self has no idea what the “scorched earth policy” entailed, but it sounds pretty terrible) ran the highly successful recruitment campaign. He calculated “a three-year conflict that would require the recruitment” of at least a million.

Harold Gillies, 32, the “Facemaker” of the book’s title (aka “the father of plastic surgery”) signed up with the Red Cross and was called up in January 1915.

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