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First World War

Lord Kitchener's Advice

The True Character of a British Soldier

Lord Kitchener's Advice

The True Character of a British Soldier

The following instructions were issued by Lord Kitchener to every soldier in the Expeditionary Force, to be kept in his Active Service Pay Book:-

You are ordered abroad as a soldier of the King to help our French comrades against the invasion of the common enemy.  You have to perform a task which will need your courage, your energy your patience.  Remember that the honour of the British Army depends on your individual effort.  It will be your duty, not only to see the example of discipline, and perfect steadiness under fire, but also to maintain the most friendly relations with those whom you are helping in the struggle.
The operations in which you are engaged will, for the most part take place in a friendly country, and you can do your country no better service than in showing yourself to France and Belgium in the true character of a British Soldiers.
Be invariably courteous, considerate, and kind.  Never do anything likely to injure or destroy property, and always look upon looting as a disgraceful act.  You are sure to meet with a welcome and to be trusted; your conduct must justify that welcome and that trust.
Your duty cannot be done unless your health is sound.  So keep constantly on your guard against any excesses.  In this new experience you may find temptations both in wine and women.  You must entirely risk* both temptations, and, while treating all women with perfect courtesy, you should avoid any intimacy.

Do your duty bravely.
Fear God.
Honour the King.

KITCHENER, Field-Marshal
9th August 1914

* one assumes this has been mistyped and should be "resist"

Accession Number: KO0418/12

Only a proportion of our collections are on display at anyone time.  Certain items are on loan for display in other institutions.  An appointment is required to consult any of our collections which are held in store.

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