Volunteer Army

Topic 11: Volunteer Army

Whilst the rush to volunteer for the New Army was welcomed by the government, another glut of volunteers were viewed less favourably.

Despite the reforms of 1907, many people still held the more Victorian view that fighting overseas was the job of professional soldiers, and that the role of volunteers was defence of the homeland. As a result a large number of men of all ages volunteered for local defence, in some cases forming unofficial militias.

In the face of thousands of would be soldiers, the government acquiesced and in September 1914 an official committee was set up to organise these volunteers into the Volunteer Training Corps. Initially it was claimed that this organisation would train men for regular service, but after October 1914 the threat of German invasion shifted the emphasis to defence.

VTC infantry, both young and old, on manoeuvres. (Photo: Hatfield Library)