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Answering the Salvage Call

by Alicia Peaker

The navy soldier cups his hand around his mouth to call out to the viewer that he needs “BONES FOR EXPLOSIVES.” In the smaller copy, explosives are first in the list of the uses of bones while fertilizers appear nearer to the end. This implicit ranking of the uses of bones suggests that it was easier for civilians to connect weapons with war than it was to connect fertilizers and food production with war. It might also be argued that such a poster specifically targets men who sought a more “active” role in the war but who were unable to serve overseas for whatever reason.

I Need Bones for Explosives

A World War II propaganda poster that encourages viewers to save and donate bones to create explosives, which will, in turn, contribute to the war effort.

from Salvage: 'I need bones for explosives' (naval rating calling) (1939)
Creator: Unknown
Distributor: National Archives UK
Posted by Alicia Peaker