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New Recruits ~ London

National Portrait Gallery, London

Recruiting for the 2nd Battalion began at the end of

August 1914 and such was the Artists reputation, over
5,000 men applied to join within a week. The Artists
were very selective, even sending invitations to
gentlemen with good addresses. Recruits were
trained as officers who would serve in almost every
regiment in the British Army. Among them was the
painter Paul Nash who evidently took to soldiering:
I enjoy the burst of exercise - marching, drilling all day in
the open air about the pleasant parts of Regents Park &
Hampstead Heath. We are not camped anywhere yet so
live at home - later we may pig it at the Tower, a dirty,
haunted sort of place I hear...
Nash the soldier made quite an impression on a new

Paul Nash after his commission to the Hampshire Regiment in

December 1916.

Image by kind permission of Paul Sieveking

friend, future writer and broadcaster Lance Sieveking:

Private Nash ... was a small, neatly made, closely knit
young man, who held himself well. He was always alert,
standing very straight. Also he was dexterous in all his
movements, managing his rifle and all the drill with a
smart accuracy that won the approval of Captain Tommy
and the sergeants.
Before they got their uniforms the volunteers had to
drill in their own clothes. Sieveking noted some other
recruits disapproval of Nashs dandified appearance:
... it seemed a little odd that in a corps calling itself the
Artist's Rifles they should look askance at someone who
appeared every inch the popular conception of an artist.

Lance Sieveking in his Artists Rifles uniform in 1914. He was

amused when Nash decided they should get their uniforms
from Gamages - best known as a toy shop!