[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] Sia,—" Janus," commenting on
the remark of the Temps that in spite of Britain's large numbers of unemployed the army is still well below establishment, says that it is indeed surprising that so few of them are attracted into the army with its lure of good food, pocket money and clothes.
It is no doubt true that anti-war propaganda has had very important effects in preventing worldess men from "jumping out of the frying pan into uniform," but I believe that there are many thousands of unemployed who would only too eagerly join the army if they were accepted, and I don't think the numbers of applications to enlist are greatly diminished. It is the rejections which are increasing.
It is rather that unemployment renders a man utterly useless for the army in lowering seriously his physical and mental health, for it is fantastic to expect a workless man to keep fit on the present rates of benefit.
As the report of the Army Adjutant-General shows, on an average for the whole country, 52 per cent. of would-be recruits are annually rejected as physically unfit, the number of rejections rising to as much as 68 per cent. and 80 per cent. in areas of severe unemployment.
This reveals an extremely disturbing state of affairs. In the event of war, foreigners would be even more shocked at the deplorable state of British physique than they were during the Great War.—Yours faithfully,