Wed, 27 Sept|
Great War Huts
Hutted Histories: ‘Kitchener’s Mob’ – the raising of Kitchener’s Army 1914-15 with Professor Peter Doyle
Professor Peter Doyle returns to Great War Huts for this month's Hutted Histories to tell us all about Kitchener's Mob!
Time & Location
27 Sept, 19:30
Great War Huts, Brook Farm Camp, Bell's Ln, Bury St Edmunds, Bury Saint Edmunds IP29 5NW, UK
About the event
In popular memory, the concept of the ‘Pals’ Battalions in the Great War is a powerful one, a vision of groups of friends from village streets and mills joining together to serve together, with inevitable consequences to those communities. But the story is much more complex, and this idealistic view is not altogether accurate.
Before the Pals, there was the ‘First Hundred Thousand’ (K1), men from all walks of life who joined, steadily at first, and who were assimilated into the Service Battalions of the county regiments, or into the Arms and Services. Not for them the accolades and gifts of the ‘Chocolate Box soldiers’ that came after. Their story has largely been overshadowed by the growth of the Pals concept. Rather than an egalitarian ideal, the Pals were steeped in class consciousness, raised from the ‘commercial classes’ with the guarantee that there would be ‘no undesirables’ – working class men – in their ranks.
This talk looks at these concepts, and how it affected recruitment, equipment and uniforms, depicting a disparity between men of K1–3 and the Pals ideal, but also how, once at the Front, these matters faded as the casualty lists grew.
Peter Doyle specialises in the understanding of military terrain, with special reference to the two world wars. He is also an author who focusses on the British experience of war, and the material culture of war. A member of the British Commission of Military History, and secretary of the Parliamentary All Party War Heritage Group. He is the author of many works of military history and the material culture of warfare.
A regular speaker at conferences and in invited lectures, he has given numerous specialist battlefield talks and battlefield tours, and worked as a consultant on archaeological digs both at home and abroad. He is professor of history and head of research at London South Bank University.