Alfred Leete (1882-1933)
Alfred Leete and his son John, c. 1916
Alfred Leete in uniform, c. 1916
The Artists’ Rifles, with Alfred Leete seated in the second row smoking a pipe, c. 1916
(Images courtesy of North Somerset Local Studies Collection)
Iconic image of Kitchener by Alfred Leete, published on the front of the London Opinion Magazine, 5 September 1914
Iconic image of Kitchener by Alfred Leete, adapted as a poster by the London Opinion Magazine, c. 1915
Alfred Leete designed the most iconic image of the First World War showing Lord Kitchener
Your Country Needs You
By the age of 32 when the war started, Alfred was one of the best commercial artists. On the 5 September 1914 Alfred’s drawing of General Kitchener featured on the front of The London Opinion magazine with the words ‘Your Country Needs You’.
This image was later adapted into an unofficial recruiting poster by the magazine with the words ‘Britons [Kitchener] Needs You’. In 1917 it was also adapted into an American version with the words ‘Uncle Sam Needs You’.
Alfred also produced comic cartoons which poked fun at the Germans, including series called Schmidt the Spy, The Worries of Wilhelm and The Bosch Book. These were later published as cartoon story books.
Alfred joined the Artists’ Rifles in 1916. He served with them in France on the Western Front. During this time he produced a series of wash drawings that captured life during the war with great sensitivity.