Devon Lags Behind


Initially, men were enthusiastic about enlisting and there was an early rush to sign up. But by 1915, however, following heavy casualties in the trenches , the need for more troops emerged. This time, there was a marked lack of volunteers.

Research shows that Devon and Dorset appeared to be sending fewer men than other parts of the country, despite exhortations from the Lord Lieutenant of Devon, Lord Fortescue, who was particularly angry about Devon’s tardiness.

It was Lord Fortescue who was at the forefront of the organisation of recruitment marches.


You are invited to investigate what truth there may be in this made up press headline. Did Devon “lag behind” or is that unfair?


“This task can take the form of a discussion or writing a letter to a newspaper editor”….

Teacher Notes

Possible lines of thought on the tensions and conflicts of this moral dilemma are:

Patriotism v Fear

Excitement v Knowledge of casualties (from telegrams, letters home, injured men in local hospitals)

Desire to go v Pressure from family not to (mothers, girlfriends, employers)

Farming families reluctant to lose labour v Patriotic pressure to join up


David Parker Press Notes

Recruitment Information Sheet

David Parker on Recruitment