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Shirkers at the Seaside

war sketches

From The Weekly Dispatch 27th August 1916

Shirkers at the Seaside - Systematic "Round-up" of the Absentees

The military authorities and police have been "rounding up" the men of military age at the seaside, and, as they expected, they have found that many of them have no excuse for not having joined up. We received the following reports from our correspondents yesterday:-

Blackpool – During this war August nearly 300,000 holiday-makers have poured into the town every week, and although there appear to be thousands of shirkers among the huge crowds on the promenades and piers, they are, in fact, nearly all badged or rejected men.

For instance, two local recruiting officials noticed six strapping young Jews upon the North Pier. "Every one of them ought to be in the Army," said one of the recruiters. "I'll bet each one has a good excuse," returned the other. And the bet was made. Showing his card of authority he then questioned the young men. They produced six certificates of rejection.

Llandudno – The police have just made a great haul of men of military age who had no papers to prove exemption. They stopped every likely man, and the police station was soon full. Many of the men had their wives or sweethearts with them when stopped, and there were some loud lamentations. Names and addresses were taken in every case, and it is expected that a considerable proportion of the captures will soon find themselves in the Army.

Margate – Up to the present not more than half a dozen shirkers have been rounded up. One of the young men brought in was a member of a theatrical touring company, who had remained in Margate in the hope of escaping military service. Two others were burly men of the labouring class, who had made it a practice to remain indoors during the day time, while their aged father and mother had to support them.
From The Weekly Dispatch 30th May 1915

The Shirker's Paradise - If you want to see shirkers go about twelve o'clock to the garden of St Botolph in the City. There in the sun you will see them reading books borrowed from the free libraries or trying to look sleepy. They all ought to be photographed.