For Queensland's Honour: Queensland expects that every man will do his duty

Queenslanders, Your country calls! We’re coming lads. Hold on. Image source: Australian War Memorial

Queenslanders, Your country calls! We’re coming lads. Hold on. Image source: Australian War Memorial

Guest blogger: Kerry Raymond, Q ANZAC 100 First World War Wikipedian in Residence.
As news of the Gallipoli landings and the terrible casualties made its way to Australia, many citizens realised that more men were needed to reinforce the troops at Gallipoli. But how to achieve this? In Brisbane, the Mayor of Brisbane, George Down, convened a public meeting to discuss the problem and the solution was a group of prominent men formed the Queensland Recruiting Committee, chaired by Andrew Thynne MLC. It was the first recruiting committee established in Australia and, unlike other states, was a self-appointed volunteer effort using funds they raised themselves.

The recruiting committee believed that Queensland men were willing to enlist but that they did not realise the urgency for reinforcements, so they embarked on an education campaign. Posters such as the one above, were commissioned to be displayed at railway stations, lantern slides were prepared for presentation in cinemas, and a permanent recruiting station was established in Queen Street, Brisbane.

The committee published a 16 page booklet “For Queensland's Honour: Queensland expects that every man will do his duty” which contained a mixture of patriotic messages to motivate men to enlist as well as practical information like rates of pay.

For Queensland’s Honour: Queensland Expects that Every Man will Do His Duty. Image source: Wikimedia

For Queensland’s Honour: Queensland Expects that Every Man will Do His Duty. Image source: Wikimedia

A private soldier earned 6 shillings per day (and was paid for 7 days in the week) but 1 shilling of that daily payment was “deferred pay” only paid out at the end of his military service. Higher ranks received higher pay, e.g. a sergeant received 10 shillings 6 pence per day on active service (with 1 shilling 6 pence deferred). A married man received an additional 1 shilling 5½ pence per day for his wife plus 4½ pence per day per child. The booklet also pessimistically included the information that a widow would receive a pension of £2 per fortnight (with more rising for higher ranks) with a further £1 per fortnight for the first child, plus 15 shillings per fortnight for the 2nd child and 10 shillings per fortnight for additional children. The booklet provided a very upbeat description of the three stages of a soldier’s life. The first is the training camp “White City” at Enoggera where the men are “thoroughly happy” with the amusements such as billiard rooms (but there was no mention of any actual military training). The second stage is The Fighting which promised bravery and no regrets (again no mention of actual fighting). The final stage is The Life of the “Returned” Soldier, in which the happiness and welfare of the returned soldier would be the “especial care” of the nation “regardless of cost” and they would receive “honour and respect from all classes”.

More poignantly, the booklet included an additional verse of the national anthem “God Save The King” to be sung during wartime:

God save our splendid men
Send them safe home again
God save our men
Keep them victorious
Patient and chivalrous
They are so dear to us
God save our men.

Poster advertising the Recruiting Committee’s Special Train, August 1916. Image Source: Queensland State Archives

Poster advertising the Recruiting Committee’s Special Train, August 1916. Image Source: Queensland State Archives

More information about the Queensland Recruiting Committee is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queensland_Recruiting_Committee

The State Library of Queensland has digitised OM71-41 Queensland Recruiting Committee Records and may be viewed at http://hdl.handle.net/10462/eadarc/3010

The booklet “For Queensland's Honour: Queensland expects that every man will do his duty” has been digitised and may be viewed at http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/9906183

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