William was an employee of the Company during the First World War. Prior to the introduction of Conscription in 1916, any able bodied men seen in public and not in uniform, were often accused of ‘shirking’ their duty to their country. The famous ‘White Feather Brigade’ presented them with a white feather; a symbol of cowardice.
To protect those who were engaged in work associated with the war effort, badges and certificates were issued. William was such a person. His certificate, bearing his badge number R2293 and signed by no other than W Lloyd George, is displayed here. The whereabouts of William’s badge is unknown but examples of two of these badges are also shown. The circular one was about 1″ diameter (25mm) and the other a little larger. The final picture is the Company version which William would have worn.
After Conscription in 1916, the need to wear these badges declined, as did the work of the White Feather Campaign.
By 1920, William was unemployed, see ‘This card is a receipt for an Out of Work Donation Policy’ dated 28 December 1920. The Ministry of Labour Unemployment Insurance Act 1920 card shows that William was still unemployed on October 24th 1921. What difficult times it must have been for him and thousands like him.
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