The outbreak of WW1 saw an urgent need to grow the small, professional, British Army which was now committed to war on four fronts against the huge conscript armies of the opposition.
Calls for volunteers saw a dramatic growth in numbers in the autumn of 1914 but it was clear that this war was not going to be over any time soon so there was also a need to look to the future and give basic training to recruits who were, as yet, too young to fight but would undoubtedly be needed later.
With this in mind the General Association Volunteer Training Corps was formed in London and in Penzance was announced in the Cornishman of 21 January 1915 that a meeting was to be held the next day, 22nd January, in St John’s Hall, to form a local training corps. Local newspapers reported that the meeting was very well attended, with 100 St Ives Volunteers marching to the Hall, to raise public support. The speaker came from the London General Association and was well received, the meeting agreeing unanimously that a local training corps would be formed. It is evident from the report of the meeting in the Cornishman that the would-be recruits were in fact not young men but older men, many of them ex-soldiers.
On 4 February 1915 it was reported that 112 men had paraded to join the new force. So keen were these men reported to be that, though no drill had been planned for that evening, nonetheless the sergeants were persuaded to drill them anyway.
Cornishman 21 January 1915 p1
Cornishman 28 January 1915 p2