Auxiliary forces for the land defence of Great Britain, 1909-1919
AuthorsMitchinson, Kevin William
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AbstractA number of books in recent years have analysed the reasons behind R.B.Haldane's radical decision to create a home defence auxiliary designed to replace the Militia, Yeomanry and Rifle Volunteers. Rather than cover again material which has already been extensively examined, this study concentrates on the formation of the several auxiliary bodies which were intended to assist the new Territorial Force in its defence of mainland Britain. The thesis also looks at the dynamics which, in 1914, prompted the spontaneous emergence of another, unofficial auxiliary, the Volunteer Training Corps. Regarded with disdain and contempt by the War Office, the VTC, later the Volunteer Force, was used by the political authorities as a means by which the civilian population could, without excessive government expenditure, be encouraged to take an active part in the defence of its country. The Volunteer Force developed into a recognized body of part-time auxiliary soldiers which became, in time, intimately involved with the workings of the tribunal system and with the concepts of total war and universal sacrifice. In contrast to the military authorities' distrust of the Volunteers, the Government decided that political expediency demanded it partially support and eventually fund the movement. Although awarded a post-war certificate of appreciation, the Volunteers were denied any real official recognition of their patriotism and commitment. Research into Britain's auxiliary forces of the early twentieth century has largely ignored the contribution of the National Reserve, Corps of Guides, Royal Defence Corps and the Volunteer Force: their existence has occasionally been acknowledged but there has been no adequate study of the role of these bodies in the context of what some historians regard as a nation-in-arms. An examination of government documents, the papers of individuals closely involved in home defence and, in particular, the minute books of the County Territorial Associations, has revealed a sometimes bizarre and occasionally bewildering picture of Government and War Office contradictions. By unravelling the nature and complications of the political and military difficulties involved in raising and maintaining Britain's auxiliary forces, this thesis attempts to develop recent research on the character, controversies and contribution of Britain's part-time amateur soldiers.
CitationMitchinson, K.W. (2002) 'Auxiliary forces for the land defence of Great Britain, 1909-1919'. PhD thesis. University of Luton.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
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