Enlisting in Kitchener’s Army
1914 Enlisting Requirements For Kitchener’s Army
1914 enlisting requirements dictated not everyone was eligible to enlist. Only men could join up as soldiers. All new recruits be had to be at least 18 years old to join the army, and 19 years old before they could be sent abroad to fight and no older than 41 years old (the age limit was increased to 51 years old in April 1918).
These restrictions did not stop lots of young boys and teenagers trying to ‘join up’ too. Many lied about their age, hoping the recruitment officer would believe them so they ‘wouldn’t miss out on the fun’.
All men had to pass a rigorous medical exam – including a fitness test, eye test and hearing test. This process was originally designed to weed out those with prior health conditions or those unfit for the rigours of a soldier’s role but by 1916 with volunteer numbers decreasing, the criteria became less stringent.
A minimum height limit was also dictated, it started at 5 feet 3 inches but was raised to 5 feet 6 inches in order to prevent an unmanageable flood of volunteers coming forward when the numbers joining up was at its peak. This process was subsequently reversed in the latter years of the war in response to the dwindling number of new recruits coming forward to enlist.