Historians of the First World War often seem to have a very clear idea of who middle-class men were and how they reacted to the outbreak of the conflict. This book explores the experiences of middle-class men on the English home front during the First World War. It first focuses on the first twelve months or so of war, a period when many middle-class men assumed that the war could hardly fail to affect them. The book then delves deeper into middle-class men's understandings of civilians' appropriate behaviour in wartime. It explores middle-class men's reasons for not conforming to dominant norms of manly conduct by enlisting, and considers individuals' experiences of 'non-enlistment'. It also focuses on middle-class men's involvement in volunteer activities on the home front. The book also focuses on middle-class men's working lives, paying particular attention to those aspects of work that were most affected by the war. It considers civilian men's responses to the new ambivalence towards profit-making, as well as to the doubts cast on the 'value' of much middle-class, whitecollar work in wartime. The book further assesses the ways in which middle-class men negotiated their roles as wartime consumers and explores the impact of war on middle-class relationships. It considers the nature of wartime links between civilians and servicemen, as well as the role of the paterfamilias within the middle-class family, before turning to focus on the relationship between civilian fathers and combatant sons.
knowledge: in particular, we know more about women’s experiences
on the home front than about men’s,15 and we know more about working-class than about middle-class men.16 It is this latter group that is the
subject of this book: focusing particularly on the Englishhomefront, its
aim is to explore civilian middle-class men’s wartime experiences, questioning how the war affected lives and identities, as well as the extent
and ways in which ‘normal’ practices were disrupted and relationships
Attempting to argue that middle-class men have been neglected and
to stake a claim for wartime manliness based on notions of
suffering and sacrifice rarely paid off. Part of the problem was that in
a context where sacrifice was the ultimate virtue, civilian suffering was
hardly comparable to that of combatants. As Jay Winter points out, during the war ‘all other social questions were measured, in part, by reference to … the harsh realities faced by the men at the front’. Given the
comparison, people on the Englishhomefront, whatever the hardships
they may have faced, would always be in a ‘privileged’ position, at least
Gender, militarism and collective action in the British Women’s Corps
65 R. Leared, IWM, Docs, 13794; A. Gummersall, NAM, 1998–01–64.
66 G. Ottaway, IWM, Sound, 7486.
67 Crosthwait, ‘The Girl Behind the Man Behind the Gun’, pp. 176–7.
68 L. Ugolini, Civvies: Middle-Class Men on the EnglishHomeFront, 1914–18
(Manchester, 2013), pp. 103–10; Furse, Hearts and Pomegranates, pp. 298–301;
Bartlett, ‘The Day I Remember Best’, p. 5.
69 ‘The King’s Uniform’, Letters from ‘A Woman’, ‘Another Woman’, ‘Matron’ and
M. Rickett, Morning Post, 16 July, 19 July, 20 July 1915; ‘Women and the War’,
Letter from V. Markham, Sheffield Independent
Juliette Pattinson, Arthur McIvor, and Linsey Robb
also personal narratives
that resembled those of soldiers. Moreover, when contrasted with the reluctant conscript and the deserter, the conscientious objector could be configured as more heroic than some combatants.
40 Laura Ugolini, Civvies: Middle-Class Men on the EnglishHomeFront, 1914–18
(Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), p. 4.
41 Arnold and Brady (eds.), What Is Masculinity?, p. 10.
42 Rose, Which Peoples War?, p. 153.
43 Peniston-Bird, ‘Classifying the Body in the Second World War’, p. 34.
44 Graham Dawson, ‘History-
Writing on World War
The policy of reservation in the First and Second World Wars
Juliette Pattinson, Arthur McIvor, and Linsey Robb
–1919 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 265.
5 Laura Ugolini, Civvies: Middle Class Men on the EnglishHomeFront, 1914–18
(Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), p. 124.
v 89 v
Men in reserve
6 Ian F. W. Beckett, ‘The Nation in Arms, 1914–18’, in A Nation in Arms: A Social
History of the British Army in the First World War (Manchester: Manchester
University Press, 1985), p. 11.
7 Stephen Garton, ‘Return Home: War, Masculinity and Repatriation’, in Joy
Damousi and Marilyn Lake (eds.), Gender and War: Australians at War in the
, Grief and Mourning in Modern Britain’ , in J. Whaley (ed.), Mirrors of Mortality (London, 1981), pp. 199–201; J. Winter, ‘Britain’s “Lost Generation” of the First World War’, Population Studies , 31:3 (1977), p. 465.
22 L. Ugolini, Civvies. Middle-Class Men on the EnglishHomeFront, 1914–18 (Manchester, 2013), pp. 4–5.
23 M. W. Cannan, Grey Ghosts and Voices (Kineton, 1976), p. 75. The VAD, run under the auspices of the Red Cross or the Order of St John of Jerusalem, was established in 1909 to provide volunteer support to the wounded in time of war