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1916 pamphlet on economy
in Britain for the First World War

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Although there was no rationing until early 1918, a pamphlet issued in 1916 urged civilians to conserve vital materials. Entitled Every Household Must Help to Win the War, it quoted Lord Kitchener:

Either the civilian population must go short of many things to which it is accustomed in times of peace or our armies must go short of munitions and other things indispensable to them.

The pamphlet continued:

Which is it to be? Economy in the Household or shortage in the Navy and Army? If sailors and soldiers are to have all they need, and the War is to be carried to a victorious end, every member of every household must do without comforts, luxuries, and all else that is not essential to health and efficiency. Waste nothing, to save is everything, and to lend to the country all you can is the truest patriotism.

The pamphlet went on to explain how waste could be avoided.

Save Coal. Coal is wanted for the Navy, for the Army and for our Allies. Save Light. Coal is used to make light and to waste light is to waste coal, and thus to make things harder for ourselves and all who depend on us.

Page extracted with permission from 'Charlotte's Beastly War' by James Melik.
The book is available from Amazon