The story of conscription

Explore the story of conscription from its origins before the First World War, through National Service and beyond.

At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the British Army had to adapt quickly to warfare on an unprecedented scale. But by the end of 1915, the number of volunteers for military service was dwindling.

In March 1916, after much debate, the UK government changed the law. Outside Ireland, all UK citizens were now soldiers, precluded from call-up only by gender, age, physical fitness or occupation.

This video explores the story of conscription from its origins before the First World War, through National Service and beyond.

Download the accompanying resource pack, which contains further details about some of the images featured in the video.

Explore further

Join the conversation

"First time @NAM_London today. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thought the presentation & interpretation made the subject accessible..."