‘A very much abused body of men’

Military Service Tribunals were formed following the introduction of conscription in January 1916, to consider applications for exemption from men deemed by the new legislation to have enlisted. Swiftly, they gained two opposing yet equally unflattering reputations. In the eyes of the military, they were soft, obstructionist ‘old duffers’. To most of the men who came before them, the Tribunals were the unfeeling civilian arm of a remorseless grinding machine. This book, utilizing a rare surviving set of Tribunal records, challenges both perspectives. The Tribunals were charged with balancing the needs of the army with those of the localities from which their members were drawn; they received instructions, recommendations and polite guidance from their masters at Whitehall, yet each was in effect a sovereign body whose decisions could not be overturned other than by appeal to similar bodies. Wielding unprecedented power yet acutely sensitive to the contradictions inherent in their task, they were obliged, often at a conveyer belt's pace, to make decisions that often determined the fate of men, their families, and ultimately, their communities. That some of these decisions were capricious or even wrong is indisputable; the sparse historiography of the Tribunals has too often focused upon the idiosyncratic example while ignoring the wider, adverse impact of imprecise legislation, government hand-washing and short-term military exigencies. Evaluating in depth that impact, and illuminating the social dynamics which often marked proceedings in the Tribunal chamber, this study attempts to redress the balance of an enduringly damning historical judgment.

Colonial war played a vital part in transforming the reputation of the military and placing it on a standing equal to that of the navy. The book is concerned with the interactive culture of colonial warfare, with the representation of the military in popular media at home, and how these images affected attitudes towards war itself and wider intellectual and institutional forces. It sets out to relate the changing image of the military to these fundamental facts. For the dominant people they were an atavistic form of war, shorn of guilt by Social Darwinian and racial ideas, and rendered less dangerous by the increasing technological gap between Europe and the world. Attempts to justify and understand war were naturally important to dominant people, for the extension of imperial power was seldom a peaceful process. The entertainment value of war in the British imperial experience does seem to have taken new and more intensive forms from roughly the middle of the nineteenth century. Themes such as the delusive seduction of martial music, the sketch of the music hall song, powerful mythic texts of popular imperialism, and heroic myths of empire are discussed extensively. The first important British war correspondent was William Howard Russell (1820-1907) of The Times, in the Crimea. The 1870s saw a dramatic change in the representation of the officer in British battle painting. Up to that point it was the officer's courage, tactical wisdom and social prestige that were put on display.

This work examines the ‘amateur military tradition’ in Ireland, essentially the framework in which part-time soldiers of the British Army existed, alongside their regular army counterparts, and how they interacted with wider society. In Ireland, this included the militia, yeomanry, Territorial Force (later Army), Officers’ Training Corps, Volunteer Training Corps, the Ulster Home Guard (UHG), and the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR). It covers the period from the re-establishment of the Irish militia during the Crimean War until the disbandment of the UDR after the British Army’s ‘Options for Change’ paper in 1992. Due to Ireland’s peculiar position within the British military framework, a distinct Irish amateur military tradition developed which, in many respects, was different to the English, Welsh, or Scottish traditions. Additionally, two further traditions have been identified, distinctive to the Irish socio-political environment. Firstly, the re-emergence of the Protestant volunteering tradition, witnessed in Ulster as early as the seventeenth century, also found in paramilitary groups such as the Ulster Volunteer Force, and, secondly, a Catholic amateur military tradition, largely present in the Irish militia until the Edwardian period. Crucially, the work recognises a significant contribution of Irish men and women to activities within the British Empire during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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Charlotte Yonge and the ‘martial ardour’ of ‘a soldier’s daughter’

• 7 • Model military men: Charlotte Yonge and the ‘martial ardour’ of ‘a soldier’s daughter’1 Susan Walton Introduction Throughout her life, Charlotte Yonge (1823–1901), author of the bestselling novel The Heir of Redclyffe (1853), not only adopted the mindset of the military members of her family but moulded her fictional heroes in their likeness to create templates of desirable characteristics for her readers to emulate. The experiences of her father and her uncle in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo remained a fundamental feature of her life and will occupy

in Martial masculinities

Using railways for operational support was the primary mission envisaged by the late Victorian army. Only a couple of the railways had been built completely in theatre during a conflict; both of these (in the Crimea and Abyssinia) were relatively short, and the latter was relatively far to the rear. None of the Victorian works of construction emulated the length and significance of the Sudan Military Railway, a

in Engines for empire

•  4  • Civilians and military service Introduction In October 1914 Holcombe Ingleby and his wife received the news that their son Clement, a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, was on his way to the Front. As Ingleby explained to Clement, they hoped ‘that you will bear yourself like a man’, but could not help worrying ‘that anything may happen to you’. However, such fears were cancelled out by larger considerations: ‘the business has to be faced, and any man who doesn’t offer himself at this moment to his country is a cur’.1 Many – perhaps most

in Civvies
The militarization of postwar France

7 ‘A (very) large military camp’: The militarization of postwar France Nestling amongst dusty letters and reports in a box in the French army archives lies a crudely drawn map that imagines how France will look in 1980.1 Paris, where all the French people live, is surrounded by barbed wire. The rest of France is a ‘[very] large military camp’, symbolized by a tank/skull-and-crossbones hybrid. The map is undated and its author unknown. Nonetheless, it expresses vividly the fear that postwar national defence imperatives would almost-totally militarize French

in Mobilizing nature
Policing the Upper Nile Province of the Sudan

The history of policing in the Sudan is the history of an incomplete transformation from an auxiliary military body to a civil force. It is a complex mixture of paramilitary, civil and tribal organisations; of civil and tribal courts administering different law; and of urban, rural and frontier duties, ranging from criminal investigation to the armed pursuit of nomad tax defaulters and

in Policing the empire

3 Command, control and military efficiency This chapter considers a number of diverse but related topics. The command of the UVF, while theoretically a standard military hierarchy, was in reality anything but. Command of UVF units was actually in the hands of local divisional, regimental, battalion and company officers, some of whom had little respect for and, indeed, openly disobeyed instructions from UVF HQ housed in the Old Town Hall in Belfast. The UVF was often called Carson’s army by contemporaries and this practice has been followed in the title of this

in Carson’s army
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Popular imperialism and the military

Between 1800 and 1900 the reputation of the military in Britain was transformed. The ‘rapacious and licentious soldiery’ came to have a wholly different image in popular culture. At the beginning of the century impressed and brutalised troops were billeted upon the people, ate their food and threatened their daughters. They were used to quell civil unrest, a shield for the

in Popular imperialism and the military 1850–1950