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Is Your Home Here? Defend It!

  • Publisher: Parliamentary Recruiting Committee [PRC] (Publishers) / Roberts & Leete Ltd, London (Printers)
  • Date: 1915
  • Dimensions: Sheet: 61.8 x 95 cms.


Striking British recruitment poster published in 1915 using the symbolic image of a map of Britain to encourage enlistment

About this piece:

Is Your Home Here? Defend It!

[PRC Poster No.126. WT. 7897/559.]

 Margins slightly trimmed, occasionally just within printed outer border of poster. Backed on linen.

Britain at the outbreak of World War I had a relatively small professional regular Army of about 250,000 men, supported by part-time Territorial Regiments and reservist units. However, over half of regular Army units were posted abroad and whilst the total combined force, once mobilised, totalled some 700,000 men, only around 130,000 were immediately available to form the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), initially sent to the Continent in August & September 1914.

The Parliamentary Recruiting Committee [PRC] was formed on August 31st 1914 & chaired by the Prime Minister Herbert Asquith. The PRC used existing party offices & networks in local constituencies and a rolling campaign of public rallies, leaflets and poster advertising to try and encourage & sustain the levels of voluntary recruitment required to supply Kitchener’s “New Army” in the first 18 months of the War. The PRC’s poster campaigns were particularly notable, often drawing on the initiatives of local commercial printers & their in-house artists, for a remarkably diverse range of emotive appeals & patriotic images.

The dual call to defend not only “King & Country” but more personally, one’s hearth & home, was one of the most stirring & emotively patriotic appeals of all and was used in a number of PRC posters. In this poster of early 1915, designed and printed by Bermondsey firm, Roberts & Leete Ltd, a large map of the British Isles serves a dual purpose. As well as its emotive symbolic appeal, the map also provides an important reference, detailing the local and regional recruitment areas of Territorial Regiments. Details of other units of the Regular Army are noted in the text at the bottom of the poster. Despite the PRC poster campaigns, it proved impossible to sustain levels of voluntary recruitment and in March 1916 the Military Service Act introduced conscription for all able-bodied single men aged 18 to 41. The PRC ceased operations shortly afterwards.