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.
Shell-shocked British Army veterans in Ireland, 1918–39: A difficult homecoming
tells the story of Irish veterans of the First World War who suffered from
psychoneurotic ailments as a result of war service. Relying on previously
untouched and newly released archival material, this monograph is a thematic
analysis dedicated to the rehabilitation of mentally ill pensioners who returned
to civil society and those who received institutional treatment. The unique
socio-political and economic circumstances in Ireland ensures the Irish
experience of post-war mental illness and disability does not reflect previous
British-centric works. This case study argues that the post-war care and
rehabilitation of mentally ill veterans of the Great War was dictated by unique
bio-psycho, socio-economic, cultural and political concerns.
When Britain formally entered
the First World War, the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), a
specialist corps responsible for providing medical care to BritishArmy personnel, immediately deployed a significant contingent of
medics to accompany the British Expeditionary Force. This included
900 medical officers, 10,000 other ranked members of the RAMC and
Civilians into Soldiers is an examination of British Army life during the Second World War. Drawing on a wealth of official records and servicemen’s personal testimonies it explores the ways in which male civilians were turned into soldiers through the techniques by which they were inducted into military culture. The book demonstrates that the body was central to this process. Using strict physical regimes, the military authorities sorted men into bodily types that reflected their cultural assumptions and sought to transform them into figures that they imagined to be ideal. However, soldiers’ bodies were often far from ideal and served to frustrate these designs. While recruits were willing to engage in practices and routines that they found desirable they also resisted the army’s demands by creating subversive bodily cultures. The book follows the chronological experiences of army personnel, from their recruitment and training to their confrontations with wounding and death, tracing the significance of the body throughout. It analyses the extent to which the British Army organised compliance and relied on consent to achieve its objectives, the ways in which resistance was manifested and experienced, and what can be drawn from these instances by way of larger observations about wartime society in general. By examining soldiers’ embodied experiences it also illuminates broader issues of gender, class, national identity and emotional life. As such, it makes a major contribution to military history, medical history and the social and cultural history of Britain in the Second World War.
Over 130 military museums in the United Kingdom preserve the historical collections of British regiments, corps and services (including two naval museums). Their collections contain artefacts acquired by British servicemen in colonial warfare and on imperial garrison duties across the globe. Outside military culture, the phenomenon of collecting in theatres of war is primarily associated with looting. However, those who encountered the British Army in its colonial garrisons and campaigns met with a remarkably heterogeneous enterprise. Drawing from a series of research workshops funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and case studies developed with British Academy/Leverhulme, support, the essays in this edited collection will combine the perspectives of anthropologists and historians to test current understandings of military collecting beyond Europe. Dividing the Spoils will variously address motivations and circumstances for collecting and appropriation, the place of collected objects in the context of military organisational culture and the legacy of military collections as material witnesses of encounters between non-European peoples and imperial forces. The book argues for an understanding of these collections within a range of intercultural relationships which embrace diplomacy, alliance, curiosity and enquiry, as well as conflict, expropriation and cultural hegemony.
This book re-examines the campaign experience of British soldiers in Africa during the period 1874–1902—the zenith of the Victorian imperial expansion—and does so from the perspective of the regimental soldier. The book utilises a number of letters and diaries, written by regimental officers and other ranks, to allow soldiers to speak for themselves about their experience of colonial warfare. The sources demonstrate the adaptability of the British army in fighting in different climates, over demanding terrain and against a diverse array of enemies. They also uncover soldiers' responses to army reforms of the era as well as the response to the introduction of new technologies of war.
The British army was almost unique among the European armies of the Great War in that it did not suffer from a serious breakdown of discipline or collapse of morale. It did, however, inevitably suffer from disciplinary problems. While attention has hitherto focused on the 312 notorious ‘shot at dawn’ cases, many thousands of British soldiers were tried by court martial during the Great War. This book provides a comprehensive study of discipline and morale in the British army during the Great War by using a case study of the Irish regiments. It considers the wartime experience of the Irish regular and Special Reserve battalions, as well as the 10th (Irish), 16th (Irish) and 36th (Ulster) Divisions. The book demonstrates that, although breaches of discipline did occur in the Irish regiments during the period, in most cases, these were of a minor nature. The author suggests that where executions did take place, they were militarily necessary and served the purpose of restoring discipline in failing units, and also shows that there was very little support for the emerging Sinn Fein movement within the Irish regiments.
The railway represented one of pivotal technological developments of the nineteenth century. This book reviews the way in which the British army exploited the potential of railways from the 'dawn of the railway age' to the outbreak of the First World War. It explores the use of railways when the army was acting in aid of the civil power, as a factor in the planning for home defence, and as an increasingly efficient means of supporting the army on active service. If the early Victorian army welcomed railways as an ancillary means of responding to domestic emergencies, it encountered similar challenges in fulfilling its role in home defence. Over nearly thirty years from the Crimean War to the intervention in Egypt, the Victorian army both experimented with railways and observed the employment of railways. The Sudan Military Railway was regarded as 'astounding in conception'. The book reveals that the army monitored the use of railways in foreign wars, experimented in the use of railways within rear areas, designed and built railways for strategic defence in India, and later exploited railways to transform the prospects of military success in the Sudan and South Africa. The Victorian army demonstrated a capacity to integrate the railway into its logistic planning, to grasp the imperative of operational management, and to envisage it as a key element in mobilisation and strategic planning.
The Victorian private solider was a despised figure. Yet in the first sixteen months of the Great War two and a half million men from the UK and many more from the empire, flocked to the colours without any form of legal compulsion. This book is the result of reflection on one of the most extraordinary mass movements in history: the surge of volunteers into the British army during the first sixteen months of the Great War. The notion that compulsory service in arms was repugnant to British tradition was mistaken. The nation's general state of mind, system of values and set of attitudes derived largely from the upper middle class, which had emerged and become dominant during the nineteenth century. The book examines the phenomenon of 1914 and the views held by people of that class, since it was under their leadership that the country went to war. It discusses the general theoretical notions of the nature of war of two nineteenth-century thinkers: Karl von Clausewitz and Charles Darwin. By 1914 patriotism and imperialism were interdependent. The early Victorians directed their abundant political energies chiefly towards free trade and parliamentary reform. It was the Germans' own policy which jolted the British into unity, for the Cabinet and the nation were far from unanimously in favour of war until the Germans attacked Belgium. Upper-class intellectual culture was founded on the tradition of 'liberal education' at the greater public schools and at Oxford and Cambridge.