The Nation is Fighting for its Life. All Men Should Enroll for National Service


This 1915 poster shows the figure of Britannia, holding a flag with the words “National Service” emblazoned on it. The caption below reads “Who Follows?” The bottom line states: “Forms for offer of services can be obtained at all post offices, national service offices, and employment exchanges.” Until March 2, 1916, when the Military Service Act introduced conscription, Great Britain’s World War I army was comprised entirely of volunteers, and many of the most famous wartime posters were recruitment appeals. The illustration on this poster was reproduced with permission from Punch, the weekly British magazine of humor and satire founded in 1841. Britannia, an ancient term for Great Britain, derives from the Roman period. Personified as a Greco-Roman goddess, Britannia as a symbol of Britain came into widespread use from the 16th century onward and first appeared on British coinage in the 17th century. The figure was a mainstay of Punch cartoons in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Bradbury, Agnew & Company, London


Title in Original Language

The Nation is Fighting for its Life. All men should enrol for national service

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 75 x 51 centimeters


Last updated: February 10, 2014