[Editor: This letter to the editor, about the compulsory training of Australian teenage males as military cadets, was published in The Observer (Adelaide, SA), 11 February 1911.]
Compulsory military training
From “Von Moltke”:— “Parents have been loth to register and indignant at the fact that their sons should be compelled to serve their country for a subscribed number of years under a modified military conscription. They need have no fear, for the barrack room soldier is not contemplated.
The youths of South Australia, especially those of Adelaide and the metropolitan area, who need reclaiming most owing to lack of parental control, will be taken in hand as recruits, and converted from an undisciplined rabble of waste human material running wild in the streets to a useful body of soldier-cadets, and ultimately a valuable quota of the future Australian Army.
The youths of Adelaide and its vicinity are so imbued with the love of football that the craze amounts to fanaticism. They resort to the matches in tens of thousands, yet less than 10 per cent. of these number of youths play the game or take any other exercise.
Next July the South Australian youths will have an entirely new pastime, for they will, perforce, have to spend some of their Saturday afternoons as well as a portion of any spare time in the interests of their country. Instead of roaring, howling, and barracking at football matches they will be infinitely better engaged at drill, in learning the use of the rifle, physical exercises, and withal be under a strict system of military discipline. Well, so much the better for themselves, health, parents, and their country.”
The Observer (Adelaide, SA), 11 February 1911, p. 47
loth = reluctant or unwilling; a variant spelling of “loath” (distinct from “loathe”, being to detest or hate)
per cent. = an abbreviation of “per centum” (Latin, meaning “by a hundred”), i.e. an amount, number, or ratio expressed as a fraction of 100; also rendered as “per cent” (without a full stop), “percent”, “pct”, “pc”, “p/c”, or “%” (per cent sign)
resort = go to (especially regarding large numbers of people), usually followed by “to”, e.g. “they resorted to their country” (can also mean: recourse, to have recourse to something, to turn to someone or something for aid, assistance, or strength, especially as an alternative, final choice, or “last resort”; a place where people go to have a holiday, a place of relaxation and rest)
withal = as well, besides, in addition, in association with, likewise, together with the rest, with it all; despite that, in spite of all, nevertheless, notwithstanding; (archaic) therewith, with that, with this, with those; (archaic) with (used at the end of a clause or sentence, after the object referred to)
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]
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