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In the early days of the Great War about 50,000 men of the flower of this country volunteered to offer themselves as targets for Hun bullets, and left these shores not knowing what fate was in store for them. After that the Military Service Act, with its compulsory provisions for overseas service, came into force. Under that Act, between November, 1916, and November, 1918, a total of 135,282 men were medically examined. Of that number, no fewer than 77,900 had to be rejected, although the medical examination was not very strict, and only 57,382 were accepted. Making all allowances for the fact that the return only commenced as from November, 1916, when so many fit men had already gone, the result was that 40 or 50 per cent., or nearly half, of the young men of this country were unable to shoulder a rifle. Taking the age period of between 20 and 25, we find that only 16,251 were accepted, and 15,191 were rejected. In other words, of men between 20 and 25 years of age, we rejected 15 for every 16 passed for service.

Of those unfit, it was unfortunately true that many of them were refused for causes that could have been prevented had they been taken in time. Of all the knowledge we possessed before the war, we had no exact knowledge of the physical condition of the manhood of this country. Now that we have such knowledge of New Zealand’s manhood of from 20 to 45 years of age, what sort of nation may we expect to have in 40 years’ time, with overcrowding and the various causes of physical degeneration?

The report upon the medical inspection of the school children showed that fully half of them were in need of dental or medical attention. Of 11,221 male Civil servants, 2,838 had 49,779 days’ sick leave during twelve months—an average of four days per annum over the whole staff; of 2,079 females, 947 had had sick leave for 17,000 days during the year. These figures give some indication of the economic loss that is caused by physical inefficiency. Let us examine the figures for the Cl camp. Did the Cl camp succeed, or was it a failure? It was a most pronounced success. Out of the total number of physically unfit men sent in, no less than 55 per cent. emerged Fit A, while 43 per cent. remained unfit, and 2 per cent. were unclassified. The fact was that half of the unfits were made fit by training on progressive lines. It is obvious that if anything really valuable is to be done, we should follow up what is being done in the primary schools through the age of adolescence, which involves special dangers—notably the contracting of tuberculosis. It is unquestionable that a great improvement can be effected in the physical condition of youths if the work is taken in hand in time. It is a question of social service. They can be improved physically, mentally, and morally. We can get better results under military training than by any other system. The men can be kept under disciplinary control, which means that their attention will not be allowed to wander. One of the failings of the Territorial system had been that nothing was done with the unfit. They were simply discarded. Those men ought to have something done for them, be given a chance, be given physical training, which would make them fit, and in most cases would raise men to the Fit A standard, enabling them to do their military training, and be more useful citizens than they otherwise would be.

The scheme of periodical medical examination advocated by Dr. Collins in another part of this Journal has much to commend it. The main objection that is likely to be raised against its acceptance is the familiar one of expense. An instalment of the larger scheme will be acceptable, and medical examination of the Junior Cadets, Senior Cadets, and Territorials may readily furnish such an instalment as is speedily practicable.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

View Article PDF

In the early days of the Great War about 50,000 men of the flower of this country volunteered to offer themselves as targets for Hun bullets, and left these shores not knowing what fate was in store for them. After that the Military Service Act, with its compulsory provisions for overseas service, came into force. Under that Act, between November, 1916, and November, 1918, a total of 135,282 men were medically examined. Of that number, no fewer than 77,900 had to be rejected, although the medical examination was not very strict, and only 57,382 were accepted. Making all allowances for the fact that the return only commenced as from November, 1916, when so many fit men had already gone, the result was that 40 or 50 per cent., or nearly half, of the young men of this country were unable to shoulder a rifle. Taking the age period of between 20 and 25, we find that only 16,251 were accepted, and 15,191 were rejected. In other words, of men between 20 and 25 years of age, we rejected 15 for every 16 passed for service.

Of those unfit, it was unfortunately true that many of them were refused for causes that could have been prevented had they been taken in time. Of all the knowledge we possessed before the war, we had no exact knowledge of the physical condition of the manhood of this country. Now that we have such knowledge of New Zealand’s manhood of from 20 to 45 years of age, what sort of nation may we expect to have in 40 years’ time, with overcrowding and the various causes of physical degeneration?

The report upon the medical inspection of the school children showed that fully half of them were in need of dental or medical attention. Of 11,221 male Civil servants, 2,838 had 49,779 days’ sick leave during twelve months—an average of four days per annum over the whole staff; of 2,079 females, 947 had had sick leave for 17,000 days during the year. These figures give some indication of the economic loss that is caused by physical inefficiency. Let us examine the figures for the Cl camp. Did the Cl camp succeed, or was it a failure? It was a most pronounced success. Out of the total number of physically unfit men sent in, no less than 55 per cent. emerged Fit A, while 43 per cent. remained unfit, and 2 per cent. were unclassified. The fact was that half of the unfits were made fit by training on progressive lines. It is obvious that if anything really valuable is to be done, we should follow up what is being done in the primary schools through the age of adolescence, which involves special dangers—notably the contracting of tuberculosis. It is unquestionable that a great improvement can be effected in the physical condition of youths if the work is taken in hand in time. It is a question of social service. They can be improved physically, mentally, and morally. We can get better results under military training than by any other system. The men can be kept under disciplinary control, which means that their attention will not be allowed to wander. One of the failings of the Territorial system had been that nothing was done with the unfit. They were simply discarded. Those men ought to have something done for them, be given a chance, be given physical training, which would make them fit, and in most cases would raise men to the Fit A standard, enabling them to do their military training, and be more useful citizens than they otherwise would be.

The scheme of periodical medical examination advocated by Dr. Collins in another part of this Journal has much to commend it. The main objection that is likely to be raised against its acceptance is the familiar one of expense. An instalment of the larger scheme will be acceptable, and medical examination of the Junior Cadets, Senior Cadets, and Territorials may readily furnish such an instalment as is speedily practicable.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

View Article PDF

In the early days of the Great War about 50,000 men of the flower of this country volunteered to offer themselves as targets for Hun bullets, and left these shores not knowing what fate was in store for them. After that the Military Service Act, with its compulsory provisions for overseas service, came into force. Under that Act, between November, 1916, and November, 1918, a total of 135,282 men were medically examined. Of that number, no fewer than 77,900 had to be rejected, although the medical examination was not very strict, and only 57,382 were accepted. Making all allowances for the fact that the return only commenced as from November, 1916, when so many fit men had already gone, the result was that 40 or 50 per cent., or nearly half, of the young men of this country were unable to shoulder a rifle. Taking the age period of between 20 and 25, we find that only 16,251 were accepted, and 15,191 were rejected. In other words, of men between 20 and 25 years of age, we rejected 15 for every 16 passed for service.

Of those unfit, it was unfortunately true that many of them were refused for causes that could have been prevented had they been taken in time. Of all the knowledge we possessed before the war, we had no exact knowledge of the physical condition of the manhood of this country. Now that we have such knowledge of New Zealand’s manhood of from 20 to 45 years of age, what sort of nation may we expect to have in 40 years’ time, with overcrowding and the various causes of physical degeneration?

The report upon the medical inspection of the school children showed that fully half of them were in need of dental or medical attention. Of 11,221 male Civil servants, 2,838 had 49,779 days’ sick leave during twelve months—an average of four days per annum over the whole staff; of 2,079 females, 947 had had sick leave for 17,000 days during the year. These figures give some indication of the economic loss that is caused by physical inefficiency. Let us examine the figures for the Cl camp. Did the Cl camp succeed, or was it a failure? It was a most pronounced success. Out of the total number of physically unfit men sent in, no less than 55 per cent. emerged Fit A, while 43 per cent. remained unfit, and 2 per cent. were unclassified. The fact was that half of the unfits were made fit by training on progressive lines. It is obvious that if anything really valuable is to be done, we should follow up what is being done in the primary schools through the age of adolescence, which involves special dangers—notably the contracting of tuberculosis. It is unquestionable that a great improvement can be effected in the physical condition of youths if the work is taken in hand in time. It is a question of social service. They can be improved physically, mentally, and morally. We can get better results under military training than by any other system. The men can be kept under disciplinary control, which means that their attention will not be allowed to wander. One of the failings of the Territorial system had been that nothing was done with the unfit. They were simply discarded. Those men ought to have something done for them, be given a chance, be given physical training, which would make them fit, and in most cases would raise men to the Fit A standard, enabling them to do their military training, and be more useful citizens than they otherwise would be.

The scheme of periodical medical examination advocated by Dr. Collins in another part of this Journal has much to commend it. The main objection that is likely to be raised against its acceptance is the familiar one of expense. An instalment of the larger scheme will be acceptable, and medical examination of the Junior Cadets, Senior Cadets, and Territorials may readily furnish such an instalment as is speedily practicable.

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

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