Major Theme - {title}
Irish regiments running out of men
Cartoon from 'Irish Life'. The train on the left shows injured soldiers returning from the front. The one on the right shows fresh soldiers on their way to front. Both groups look at the other an think 'Poor Blokes!' Official sources have said that the current rate of recruitment is not sufficient to offset the losses being suffered by the Irish battalions at the Front. Photo: Irish Life, 3 March 1916. Full collection available from the National Library of Ireland.

Irish regiments running out of men

Death on the Western Front takes huge toll

Belfast, 17 August 1916 - Pleas for recruits to join the British army have been made across Ireland in recent days.

Official sources have said that the current rate of recruitment is not sufficient to offset the losses being suffered by the Irish battalions at the Front. If recruiting does not pick up soon, Irish battalions will have to be reinforced with men from England, Scotland and Wales.

At a meeting in Belfast, speakers who had returned from the Western Front pleaded with the crowd to enlist in the army.

Lieutenant Corder of the Royal Irish Rifles told the crowd that he was glad to be back in Belfast. He appealed to strong young men of military age to join the ranks and fill the gaps left by those who had been lost in combat. He said that these were days for action, not days for words.

Field-Marshall Sir John French inspecting troops in Cork. (Image: Irish Life, 25 August 1916. Full collection available from the National Library of Ireland)

Skimmed milk and cream
Lieutenant Corder told the meeting that he had been talking to a man who mentioned to him that ‘the cream’ had already enlisted to fight. Lieutenant Corder said that his reply was that, even if that were true, they could beat the Germans with the skimmed milk that was left.

The recruitment drive comes as controversy centres on a campaign against Irish harvest workers in England and Scotland.

Some Irish workers in Scotland have been served with conscription notices, while in other areas employers are refusing to hire them.

[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]

RTÉ

Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.