Keeping away from the French ladies

The British and American soldiers were faced with some of the most horrendous conditions ever none to a trooper when they debarked from the troop ships in the First World War. Arriving in France the first batch could have no idea of the horror of the trenches that awaited them. They had been fed a lovely diet of nonsense that the whole thing would be over by Christmas and that the war leaders actually gave a fig for their welfare.  Showing the same regard for modern warfare as they had at the Eton Wall game seems to be the general approach of Kitchener and Haig. Still, as they weren’t the ones going over the top to bayonet charge a series of machine guns nests why should they care? What they did seem to care about was that the soldiers should not lose their virginity to willing French prostitutes before coming to the front to be shot at and potential killed.

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One thing that bothered Kitchener was that the whole war operation was going to be scuppered by the troops contracting sexual diseases. Who would he order to slowly advance at the entrenched German troops if half the force were in the hospital with “the clap”? The leaders of the war at the Ministry for War would have loved to have given out a Home STI Kits Bexley (based for example)  but as this was not an option they chose to appeal to the chaps sense of moral duty. For example, in a message from Lord Kitchener he asks that they cannot possibly work as an effective war unit “…unless your health is sound” and to “…guard against any excess” ending with “…you should avoid any intimacy”. In other words, don’t get into your cups and sleep with a prostitute.Concentrate  instead on the fact that you might be killed, poisoned by gas or get severely disabled by a shell.

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Unsurprisingly, the troops roundly ignored this stupid request and decided that as they were probably going to die, and they were far away from the constraints of home and their families, it might be an idea to see what sex was like with someone who knew what they were doing.  They also had a nice packet of army pay, which in some cases amounted to much more than they would earn at home, burning a hole in their pocket.

As a result over Forty thousand cases of sexual transmitted diseases were not official reported, but were recorded, yet another example of the regard and honour that the troops held Kitchener in.

Richard Anderson


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