Home front volunteers
in Civvies
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This chapter focuses on middle-class men's involvement in the home front 'war work'. It considers two of the most common volunteering choices made by middle-class men: enlistment in the Volunteer Training Corps and the special constables. The chapter argues that it was such experiences of home front volunteering, from drilling in the public gaze to digging a vegetable patch in the privacy of one's garden. It explains middle-class men's reactions to the 'farce' and 'browbeating' of the National Service scheme of 1917. By 1917 the authorities were becoming increasingly vocal in encouraging civilians to counter the shortage of various foodstuffs by tending allotments and growing their own vegetables. F. A. Robinson greeted the initial announcement of the national service scheme with scepticism, uncertain how 'this is going to affect the individual'.


Middle-class men on the English Home Front, 1914–18


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