is no doubt that Edith Cavell’s death was used
in recruitment rallies and newspapers as a reason to
join up. The national figures for the months after
her death are impressive. It has been calculated that
during the two months prior to her execution just under
5,000 men were volunteering for the armed forces each
week. During the two months afterwards this doubled
to just over 10,000.
But there were other factors to take into account.
Lord Derby’s National Registration Scheme came
into effect in October 1915. This gave men the opportunity
to volunteer under favourable terms before conscription,
which was looming and finally introduced in January
1916. It is interesting to note that there is no evidence
of an upsurge of voluntary enlistments in Norfolk.