Focus on historic leaflet

By Cornish Times in Local People

This eye-catching leaflet, appealing for Cornishmen to join the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, is on display in Cornwall’s Regimental Museum in Bodmin.

The leaflet, ’object of the month’ at the museum, was created in August 1914, at the start of the First World War, when three new battalions of the DCLI were formed.

The leaflet gives details of the kind of roles available in the Regiment and their potential earnings: for example, a Quartermaster, who supervised stores and distributed supplies, could make 9 shillings a day (just under £20 in today’s money) with housing allowance and pension.

The leaflet promises excellent career opportunities for Cornish men, who would be ‘made doubly welcome’ and would have ‘every inducement to be promoted’.

So great was the response, not only from Cornishmen but from all over Britain, that the Regimental Depot at Bodmin was totally overwhelmed by the number; the barracks which would usually have held no more than 200 men, suddenly found itself having to look after 10 times that number without any additional resources.

With remarkable efficiency, within days embryo ‘Kitchener’ battalions were set up across the South of England to which these volunteer recruits were dispatched.

The 6th Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel T. R. Stokoe (mentioned in the leaflet) was established at Watts Common, near Aldershot.

In 1915, 6/DCLI fought at Ypres and experienced one of the first uses of ’liquid fire’, or a flamethrower. Visitors can explore the Grade II listed Victorian Keep, and can see the recruiting leaflet in the First World War gallery.

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