New recruits in Market Square (PHO9764)
New recruits in Market Square (PHO9764)

poppy_image_ww1_databaseBefore the passing of the Military Act in 1916, which introduced conscription, men volunteered for service and recruitment drives and meetings by individual regiments were held throughout the country. We believe this meeting took place on 7th September 1914, led by the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, a regiment based in Winchester, but with battalions formed across the south of England. There was another big drive in 1915, for the Oxford & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.



25.05.1918 Gloucester Journal - Lt Grist obituary.bmp
From the Gloucester Journal 1918 – British Newspaper archive

The meeting was arranged by Ronald Grist, a local bank manager, who later served and was killed. The meeting was led by a parade of the National Reserve, Special Constables and Boy Scouts, headed by a band of pipers, starting from the railway station, and with the fire brigade and engine joining in, they proceeded to Little Shardeloes to be met by the Amersham Band who played marches and patriotic music. There were speeches, and it was reported that 55 men had volunteered their services.

Whit Monday 1915 - "IF THE CAP FITS" poster on the Market Hall (HO9662)
Whit Monday 1915 – “IF THE CAP FITS” poster on the Market Hall (PHO9662)

In March 1916 the Military Service Act came into force, introducing conscription for all single men aged 18 to 41 (with some exceptions).  A subsequent Act in May extended conscription to married men and in 1918 the age limit was increased to 51.

Men or their employers could object to their call-up, by appealing to a Military Tribunal.  The Bucks Examiner contained numerous reports about such appeals.  Some men objected to killing another man on moral or religious grounds; these conscientious objectors were sometimes put into a non-combative role.  In March 1916 Henry Coleman, a bootmaker’s son, was allowed to join the Royal Army Medical Corps because he refused to take another man’s life.


Plan Your Visit

Opening hours:

Wednesday to Sunday, and Bank Holiday Mondays, 12noon to 4:30pm

49 High Street
Old Amersham

01494 723700
[email protected]


“Enjoyed our visit to this wonderful interactive museum where you are positively encouraged to touch things!”

“Visited Amersham museum yesterday – lovely place, provides many details on the history of the place. Plenty of cute cafes, pubs and shops around also… not difficult to find free parking nearby. ”

“A well-run, informative and interesting small museum on the main street. It’s mostly volunteer-run and they do a great job in keeping it and making you feel welcome…Check out the herb garden too.”

“Enjoyable film and television location guided walk around Amersham hosted by Amersham Museum – here are the Sun Houses on Highover Park and further up the hill is High & Over.”

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