The First World War prompted the recruitment and training of British soldiers on an unprecedented scale. And they all needed to be prepared for one of the deadliest, most gruelling conflicts in human history. Physical training, bayonet fighting training and hand-to-hand combat all fell under the instruction of the Army Gymnastic Staff, which grew from 200 to 2,000 officers and instructors between 1914 and 1918. The training and equipment manual, books, photographs and inspirational lectures collected in this publication provide an insight into how the physical training instructor kept the British soldier Fighting Fit.
Adam Culling is Curator of the Royal Army Training Corps Museum in Aldershot.