The Irish regiments in the Great War

Discipline and morale

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.

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