By Peter E. Hodgkinson
Contemporary stories of the British military in the course of the First international conflict have essentially overturned old understandings of its method and strategies, but the chain of command that associated the higher echelons of GHQ to the warriors within the trenches continues to be poorly understood. to be able to reconnect the strains of conversation among the final employees and front line, this e-book examines the British army's commanders at battalion point, through 4 key questions: (i) How and the place assets have been came upon from the small officer corps of 1914 to deal with the requirement for commanding officials (COs) within the increasing military; (ii) What used to be the standard of the lads who rose to command; (iii) past uncomplicated total caliber, precisely what characteristics have been perceived as making a good CO; and (iv) To what quantity a meritocracy constructed within the British military by way of the Armistice.Based upon a prosopographical research of a database over 4,000 officials who commanded infantry battalions through the battle, the e-book tackles one of many important historiographical concerns referring to the battle: the traits of the senior British officer. In so doing it demanding situations lingering renowned conceptions of callous incompetence, besides extra scholarly feedback that has derided the senior British officer, yet has performed so and not using a data-driven point of view. via his thorough statistical research Dr Peter Hodgkinson provides a precious new point of view to the historic debate underway in regards to the nature of British officials throughout the awesome growth of the military among 1914 and 1918, and the awesome, but usually forgotten, British victories of The Hundred Days.
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Additional info for British Infantry Battalion Commanders in the First World War
Old Contemptibles 23 The two main reasons, specified and unspecified, for not leading a unit on active service were either age/health, as is often proposed in regimental histories, or competence. J. Younger, 4th Royal Scots, for instance, resigned his commission on the grounds of illness in January 1915 without seeing active service. In terms of age, the territorial COs who took their battalions abroad were in fact only two years younger than those who did not. It is more likely that whatever the truth about age, health, and associated fitness, many of these statements were a way of cloaking the need to take action over low levels of appropriateness or competence, which could not be ignored.
19 Appointed to command the 13th Worcestershire on 11 November 1914, he swiftly came to grief. ‘Early in December 1914, rumours were rife that private soldiers were making indecent suggestions about [his] conduct … and these rumours continued. ’ Colonel P. 20 Hovell suffered from acne across the top of his back, and in India the pustules were pressed by hand by soldier-servants. It was this requirement of his Worcestershire servant which had started the rumour. Hovell was removed from his command in March 1915.
Pollok-McCall, 1/5th Royal Scots Fusiliers, an ex-Black Watch officer, who commanded the regular 25 Brigade between June and October 1918. The other was a ‘pure’ territorial: Lieutenant-Colonel Frederic Gustav Lewis, 1/13th London, a solicitor by profession, who commanded two territorial infantry brigades from August 1915 to December 1917. One can only conclude he must have been a highly competent officer. If, however, the group who did not take their battalions overseas are included, the overall viability rate for the territorial COs falls to 31 per cent.