Who's Who - Sir Auckland Geddes

Sir Auckland Geddes (1879-1954) served in British wartime recruitment positions during World War One.

Although having trained as a surgeon Geddes - brother of Sir Eric Geddes, who served as wartime First Lord of the Admiralty - spent much of his career in public duty.

He was appointed Britain's Director of Recruiting in 1916 and then, the following year, as Minister of National Service, replacing Neville Chamberlain.

In the latter position Geddes oversaw an extension of the ministry's powers to include military recruitment; he also worked well with the newly-established Ministry of Labour in determining the two department's division of responsibilities in wartime manpower management.

Despite this by the time of his appointment in 1917 Geddes found the manpower well starting to run dry, despite the extension - in 1918 - of conscription to all men aged from 18-51 and the scrapping of military service exemptions.

Measures such as these, intended to provide fresh resources for the various Fronts, often served only to antagonise the trade unions, with its consequent threat of strikes and industrial action.  Geddes was forced however to cancel planned conscription in Ireland given the volatile state of affairs in that country.

After the war Geddes served as President of the Board of Trade and subsequently as British ambassador to the U.S.

He died in 1954.

A 'corkscrew' was a metal post for supporting a wire entanglement, with a twisted base enabling it to be screwed into the ground, removing the need for a hammer, the use of which could attract enemy fire.

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