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The Disparity of SacrificeIrish Recruitment to the British Armed Forces, 1914-1918$
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Timothy Bowman, William Butler, and Michael Wheatley

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621853

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621853.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 26 July 2021

‘The only privilege we have’: Wartime Officer Appointment

‘The only privilege we have’: Wartime Officer Appointment

(p.176) 5 ‘The only privilege we have’: Wartime Officer Appointment
The Disparity of Sacrifice

Timothy Bowman

William Butler

Michael Wheatley

Liverpool University Press

There was a well-established tradition of the Anglo-Irish gentry serving as officers in the British army and this continued into the war. The British army, pre-war, was very class conscious with officers requiring a private income. The costs associated diminished in wartime but officers were still generally from upper and middle-class backgrounds. As with other recruitment in Ireland, officer recruitment was politicised. Officer Training Corps units pre-war were, almost exclusively, at Protestant schools and universities, which meant that few Catholics presenting themselves for commissions could claim previous military training. The War Office quickly commissioned large numbers of Ulster Volunteer officers, who had enlisted with their men in September 1914. Nationalists felt that they were less favoured by the War Office though the National MPs who sought commissions did not do so before 1915. Lieutenant General Sir Lawrence Parsons established a cadet company in the 16th (Irish) Division but this did not assuage Nationalist concerns. An Officer Selection Board was established in Dublin in the Summer of 1915 and, throughout the remainder of the war, it had some success in attracting Catholic recruits for officer training.

Keywords:   cadets, class, schools, Parsons, universities

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