I’ve been in Pennsylvania this week, visiting my daughter and enjoying a quiet day or two to work on Volume 2 of the Stokely Chronicles.
I don’t want to spoil anything in the new book, but it’s not saying too much to admit that somebody is receiving an enlistment notice. It took me quite a bit of research to find an authentic notice, but eventually I did:
There are several interesting bits on this notice. First, the recruit would know what part of the Armed forces he was being called into from the very start. He would also know the location of his first assignment, though frequently this would be an enrollment camp or transit camp.
Both the front and the back of the form specified the ‘kit’ that the recruit was to bring: “Any kit that you take with you should not exceed an overcoat, change of clothes, stout pair of boots, and personal kit, such as razor, hair brush, tooth brush, soap and towel.” I don’t know if this kit was only intended for transit, but the notice does say that the recruit would be issued a uniform after joining His Majesty’s forces.
On the back of the form were fairly elaborate instructions regarding what to do if you were sick or needed a leave of absence. “If circumstances suddenly arise, such as the illness of your wife, or a relative, which make you wish to apply for leave to delay joining for a few days, you must write to the officer commanding the unit which you have been ordered to join.”
The form ended with the following words:
You must understand that you will be deemed to have been enlisted from the date on which you are required to present yourself to your unit and unless you have obtained sick leave or a leave of absence as explained above, failure to join your unit on the appointed date will make you an absentee and you will then be liable to be arrested and brought before a Court of Summary Justice.
These word must have been chilling to the millions of recruits who read them, including at least one character from Stokely.