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100 Years Ago: Sergeant Spafford Appeals for Recruits

The Intelligencer October 5, 1915 (page 3)

“Sergt. Spafford Makes Appeal For Recruits. Belgium, Sept. 17, ’15. Dear Friend, Mr. Bowell:—I have received The Intelligencer with each Canadian mail and thank you for the same. I appreciate your thoughtfulness very much indeed. …

YOUR KING AND COUNTRY NEED YOU. During my training in England and when on leave not very long ago, the above poster and numerous others greeted my eyes at every turn, wherever I happened to be. …  To-day we read a statement made by Lord Kitchener in addressing the House of Lords, as follows: ‘The provision of men to keep up the strength of our army in 1916 has caused us anxious thought, accentuated by the recent falling off in recruits, although every effort has been made to obtain our requirements under the present system.’ …

The above brings me back recollections of my efforts devoted to recruiting, when the news that England had declared war, and the call to arms electrified the nation. And I remember, too, with pain and with no little disgust, that in spite of our efforts at that time, and since by our loyal and patriotic citizens, Col. W.N. Ponton, Mr. F.E. O’Flynn and others, who with many of our comrades have carried on the recruiting campaigns at home, while we here at the front have watched with anxious, hopeful hearts that we might see MEN we once called comrades, qualified and whom we know physically fit to take their places and ‘do their bit’—but we have hoped in vain. Still they cling to the slackers’ ranks and scoff at men who don the uniform and are fulfilling their duty as loyal subjects of Britain and the fair Dominion in which we enjoy more freedom and liberty than any other country on the face of the earth. …

Remember Ypres, the gallant heroes who gave their lives for King and Country—for freedom and liberty. We must win. You must help us. I appeal to men I know. Don’t be compelled; that’s what is going to happen. Remember what Lord Kitchener says: ‘The problem of how to secure them is engaging our close attention, and will, I hope, soon receive a practical solution.’ Spafford.”