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Edith's Death and Army Recruitment

There 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.

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