Two new stamps mark centenary of first World War

Irish recruitment posters, one featuring John Redmond, revived for commemoration

An Post

Both feature well-known recruitment posters from the time. The first features the Irish parliamentary leader John Redmond and his remarks first made at Woodenbridge in September 1914 and then repeated at Waterford in 1915 urging Irish men to join the British army.

Some 10,000 copies of the poster were made and issued nationwide by the Central Council for the Organisation of Recruiting in Ireland in September 1915. The design was inspired by the 1914 “Your Country Needs You” recruitment poster featuring Lord Kitchener.

Redmond’s initial call to arms was popular but became increasingly unpopular as the war progressed.

Infamous parody

The second is a British army recruitment poster and crafted on a specifically Irish theme in a bid to aid recruitment.

It features a man dressed in what at the time was regarded as classical Irish garb, with the silhouette of Glendalough in the background.

Some 7,500 of these posters were issued by the Central Council for the Organisation of Recruiting in Ireland.

Both stamps will be issued today, marking 100 years to the day since the announcement that the Buckingham Palace talks aimed at resolving the growing Home Rule crisis failed.

The early recruitment drive by the British in Ireland was successful. Some 95,000 Irishmen joined up between August 1914 and February 1916 though recruitment tailed off drastically after that because of mounting casualties and the Easter Rising.

Ferocious opposition

The stamps are part of An Post’s contribution to the decade of commemoration.

An Post spokeswoman Anna McHugh said there has already been “massive interest. “We have had a lot of inquiries from the beginning of the year asking if there are stamps,” she said.

Next year will see the issue of stamps commemorating 100 years since the Gallipoli campaign and the sinking of the Lusitania.