The Other Ranks

Timothy Bowman and Mark Connelly

in The Edwardian Army

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199542789
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741401 | DOI:
The Other Ranks

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Just as the officer corps was drawn from a narrow section of the upper and middle class, so the other ranks of the army continued to be drawn almost entirely from the most socially deprived elements of the unskilled working class. Some families had developed a military tradition but most recruits joined because they were unemployed. While the Cardwell–Childers reforms of 1868–81 were meant to introduce localized recruiting with ‘County Regiments’, this was clearly failing long before the First World War, especially in rural areas. Having joined the army, most men left it as quickly as possible and the various experiments with the length of enlistment did little to make the army more popular as a career or establish a well trained reserve.

Keywords: Enlistment; short service; localization; deprivation; working class; discipline; desertion

Chapter.  11931 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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