Amateur soldiering in industrial Britain: the early territorial force in Glasgow, 1908-1914

Gies, Kristopher K.
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of the Territorial Force from its inception in 1908 to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Through using the industrial centre of Glasgow, Scotland as an example, this study details the multifaceted social and institutional links that welded local society to the amateur soldiering movement. Particular attention is directed towards to the experience of part-time soldiers in the Anglo-Boer War and subsequent reform efforts, Territorial terms of service, the role of local government and civic groups, labour/employer relations, public health considerations, and the place of uniformed youth movements. This builds upon and complements the substantial body of knowledge produced by scholars such as Cunningham, Spiers, and Beckett, who have adopted a wider British-based perspective in their works. In particular, through a local approach it is argued that despite the expectations of wholesale reform following the Anglo-Boer War, strong continuities existed between the early Territorial Force and its predecessor, the Victorian-era Volunteer Force. Through an examination of how the early Territorial Force operated on a local level, this notion can largely be attributed to the practical limitations of part-time soldiering on a voluntary basis, but also in that many aspects of the Territorial scheme were co-opted from preexisting Volunteer relationships and institutions. In explaining this continuity, this study explores the ideological foundations for army reform in the early-twentieth century. The architect of the Territorial Force, Richard Burdon Haldane envisioned a 'nation-in-arms'--the preserved British tradition of voluntary military service sustained through an intersecting of military and civilian interests. Although previous historians have argued that Haldane was unsuccessful in promoting this concept, study argues otherwise--that although never achieving his ideal, a nation-in-arms was already in existence prior to the concept's articulation, and was only enhanced by the continued ties with the amateur soldiering movement.

Territorial Force, Glasgow, Scotland, amateur soldiering movement, part-time soldiers, Anglo-Boer War, reform efforts, Territorial terms of service, local government, civic groups, labour/employer relations, public health, youth movements