Military life is not easy, separation from loved ones is perhaps the most difficult. In times of war, it is more so as the enemy fires back. The enthusiasm documented in the summer of 1914 soon waned as the outing, planned for a few weeks, dragged on and became more and more sacrificial. The troops soon learned of deprivation as well. This news also reached the hinterland, so that the newly formed replacement march companies were set off with less and less enthusiasm.
The lads who went to war were holding their soldier’s chests on the streets of Budapest towards the barracks. There they would get uniforms, receive training, a few weeks and head to the front! The lads in the picture may already be soldiers in reserve, their chest may already contain the military uniform. They served the required time, but had to go immediately upon mobilization. Their mood is not very rosy, as they are already familiar with soldier life. But what they had to experience after that was much more mournful than the military experiences so far.
The private who says goodbye on the opening picture, is not happy that he has to leave his beautiful family. What will happen to them if he still can’t return in a few weeks? Sure, many families were suffering of the same deprivation as the head of the family on the front. Perseverance in the front line among the tribulations could be maintained by the family, by dear letters. The connection with civilian life was maintained through the letters. The badge presented could also have helped in this: the kind promise of the sweetheart: “It is yours, forever!”. According to the dating, it was made in 1914. Whoever put it on his hat could still wave to his sweetheart with good hopes.
The other badge is also from 1914. Health fitness was examined in the pre-enrollment queue. Whoever the doctors found suitable could soon put on the uniform. In the opening year of the Great War, I think the vast majority still welcomed the military doctor’s words, “Suitable!” (Tauglich!). That’s why a special badge could be made for this event, which was also proudly pinned to their hats by the bouncing boys. Many times they also decorated their hats with ribbons and flowers during the procession. The last picture shows such a company.