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Reconstruction and Soldier Settlement in the Empire Between the Wars
Author: Kent Fedorowich

Research on soldier settlement has to be set within the wider history of emigration and immigration. This book examines two parallel but complementary themes: the settlement of British soldiers in the overseas or 'white' dominions, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, between 1915 and 1930. One must place soldier settlement within the larger context of imperial migration prior to 1914 in order to elicit the changes in attitude and policy which occurred after the armistice. The book discusses the changes to Anglo-dominion relations that were consequent upon the incorporation of British ex-service personnel into several overseas soldier settlement programmes, and unravels the responses of the dominion governments to such programmes. For instance, Canadians and Australians complained about the number of ex-imperials who arrived physically unfit and unable to undertake employment of any kind. The First World War made the British government to commit itself to a free passage scheme for its ex-service personnel between 1914 and 1922. The efforts of men such as L. S. Amery who attempted to establish a landed imperial yeomanry overseas is described. Anglicisation was revived in South Africa after the second Anglo-Boer War, and politicisation of the country's soldier settlement was an integral part of the larger debate on British immigration to South Africa. The Australian experience of resettling ex-servicemen on the land after World War I came at a great social and financial cost, and New Zealand's disappointing results demonstrated the nation's vulnerability to outside economic factors.

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Kent Fedorowich

British government into committing itself to a large-scale free passage scheme for its ex-service personnel between 1914 and 1922. What is not fully understood is the pressure private interest groups, such as the Royal Colonial Institute and ex-servicemen’s organisations, brought to bear on the imperial and dominion governments. The internal tensions and debates within the higher echelons of the

in Unfit for heroes
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Foredoomed to failure?
Kent Fedorowich

C. J. Duder has ably demonstrated, between 650 and 700 soldier settlers, mostly ex-officers who became an integral part of the Kenyan colonial elite, invested in large-scale farming operations. But like their brother officers in the dominions, many abandoned or sold their properties preferring to speculate rather than settle. 2 Britain’s free passage scheme for ex-service personnel provides another

in Unfit for heroes
Kent Fedorowich

Nationalists remained dissatisfied and unconvinced. 34 Throughout 1917 and 1918 the South African government remained resolute in its determination not to introduce special soldier settlement projects, state-aided migration programmes or participate in an imperial free passage scheme. Schreiner reported disconsolately that the other dominions were very active in promoting their own schemes in Britain. He pleaded

in Unfit for heroes
Kent Fedorowich

amongst them was the free passage scheme for British exservicemen and women which operated between 1919 and 1922 under the auspices of the Overseas Settlement Committee (OSC), a body established in January 1919 and itself a creation of wartime imperial co-operation. The ex-servicemen’s scheme was, in part, a response to the emotional outpouring generated by the war which led the imperial government to

in Unfit for heroes
The failure of the Anzac legend
Kent Fedorowich

government’s free passage scheme. Throughout 1919 discussions between the OSC and Australian representatives focused on passage rates, fare equalisation and shipping accommodation. Once the free passage scheme was in full swing the scarcity of shipping severely hampered Australian operations and Munro-Ferguson called upon the Colonial Office to discuss the problem with the Ministry of Shipping. The

in Unfit for heroes
A dominion responsibility
Kent Fedorowich

from the War Office, Admiralty, High Commissioners and Agents-General. The application procedure and the administrative framework were the major focus behind the first set of meetings. The burning question, however, was the method and the extent to which the various dominions wanted to carry out the selection process themselves. 92 The Canadian response to the free passage scheme was one

in Unfit for heroes