Coleraine Battery member Athens, 1945, Coleraine Battery Collection.

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Coleraine Battery member Athens, 1945, Coleraine Battery Collection. © Coleraine Museum

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The Army and conscription

Although an impressive surge of recruits came forward at the outset of war, the levels had fallen considerably by early 1940. Despite a recruitment drive in May 1940, there seemed to be little popular enthusiasm and numbers enlisting fluctuated throughout the war.

The implementation of conscription in Northern Ireland was considered. Although support rose within the Northern Ireland government, with advocates such as Craig and MacDermott, there remained much anti-conscription sentiment arising from various elements both within and outside of Northern Ireland. As a result, fearing the complications and unrest which may have ensued, the Westminster government decided against this measure and conscription was never applied to Northern Ireland.