Daddy, what did You do in the Great War?

Catalogue number
  • Art.IWM PST 0311
Art and Popular Design
Production date
Place made
Great Britain
Subject period
  • Support: paper
  • medium: lithograph
  • Support: Height 750 mm, Width 495 mm
Alternative names
  • object category: Poster

© IWM (Art.IWM PST 0311)

Purchase & License
Object description

whole: the image occupies the whole, held within a narrow black border. The title is integrated and positioned across the bottom edge, in white cursive script. image: a man sits in an armchair at home, with his daughter sitting on his lap. She points to a page in a book and looks questioningly at her father. A young boy plays with toy soldiers on the floor at his father's feet. The man looks at the viewer with a pensive expression. text: Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War? PUBLISHED [BY THE - missing text] PARLIAMENTARY RECRUITING COMMITTEE, LONDON. - POSTER NO. 79. DESIGNED AND PRINTED BY JOHNSON, RIDDLE AND CO., LTD., LONDON, S.E


This British recruiting poster was produced in 1915 and has since become infamous for its use of emotional blackmail to urge men to enlist with the British Army. Produced by the London printers Johnson Riddle & Co, it was conceived from the director Arthur Gunn’s own feelings of guilt at having not volunteered himself. Seeing the persuasive potential of a child’s awkward questions to a shirking father in peacetime, Gunn commissioned a poster picturing such a scene. Although Gunn joined with the Westminster Volunteers shortly after the poster’s publication, the poster became the source of much bitter trench humour on the Western Front. Such was the resentment towards it in post-war Britain that its creator, Savile Lumley, a children’s book illustrator, is said to have disowned it.

Physical description

Parliamentary Recruiting Committee Poster No. 79.





Associated people and organisations
Associated places
Associated events
Associated themes
Associated keywords
Associated subjects

IWM Non Commercial Licence

The media for this item are free to reuse for non-commercial purposes under the IWM Non Commercial Licence. Video, sound and images can be embedded with the code we offer here, and images can also be downloaded.

By downloading any images or embedding any media, you agree to the terms and conditions of the IWM Non Commercial Licence, including your use of the attribution statement specified by IWM. For this item, that is: © IWM (Art.IWM PST 0311)

  • Download this item
    Embed HTML
    Embed BBCode
  • Download this item
    Embed HTML
    Embed BBCode