The Order of the White Feather was another way of making sure every last man did his bit for King and Country. It was a group of women who would give out white feathers to any man they came across that was not in uniform, as a way of shaming them into enlisting, as the white feather was a symbol of cowardice.
The order was founded by Admiral Charles Penrose Fitzgerald in 1914, and supported by Lord Kitchener who said how the women could play a great part by influencing their husbands and sons to take their proper share in the country’s defence.
Unfortunately these feathers were sometimes given out to people who had good reason not to be fighting, such as men at home looking after sick wives, boys too young to enlist, people with handicaps such as short-sightedness, many of which were shamed into joining up and fighting, some never to return. Soldiers on leave and in their civilian clothes were sometimes given them too, and in one case a man who had the very same day received his Victoria Cross medal from Buckingham Palace was handed a white feather.