Uncle Sam's "I Want You" World War I US Conscription Campaign Poster
Uncle Sam's 'I Want You' World War I US Conscription Campaign Poster - some long-dead men have been conscripted anew due to a computer glitch Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons

Remember the Y2K Millennium Bug, which was the bane of IT professionals everywhere in 1999 as they rushed to reassure panicking companies, and had us all convinced that the world would come to a standstill in the year 2000?

Well, it's finally hit, albeit 14 years later. A computer glitch has seen military draft notices mistakenly sent to 14,215 men in Pennsylvania who were born between 1893-1897, ordering all recipients to register for the draft or face punishments of "a fine and imprisonment".

This might be a bit difficult for the men to do, since they're all, well, dead.

The glitch occurred during an automated data transfer of nearly 400,000 records on 30 June from the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles to another federal government department, the Selective Service System.

Somehow, the records of men born between 1993 and 1997 became mixed up with those of males born a hundred years before, and the agencies involved had no idea what had happened since Pennsylvania uses a two-digit code to indicate an individual's year of birth.

Almost all male US citizens and immigrants between the ages of 18-25 are required to register with the Selective Service, but they are not automatically inducted into the military.

During a crisis, a random lottery number and year of birth would be used to select men to be drafted into the armed forces, but they would still need to be examined for "physical, mental and moral fitness" before being inducted.

The Selective Service only realised what had happened when confused relatives of the deceased contacted the agency to complain.

"Selective Service regrets any inconvenience caused the families of these men and assures them that the error has been corrected and no action is required on their part," the agency said on its website.

The agency says that it now no longer has any access to records for men born before 1960 in the state, and all requests for archived records must be sent to the National Archives & Records Administration in Missouri instead.