The army schoolmaster and the development of elementary education in the army, 1812-1920
It may appear to be somewhat incongruous that the Army, whose primary funct i on has been to prepare for war, shou 1 d have been one of the earliest advocates of organized elementary education. Yet its i mpo rtance is someth i ng the Army has long recogn i zed. Soon after the Restoration in 1660, and perhaps even before, some regiments engaged masters to instruct their soldiers and also their offspring. Over the next 150 years an increasing number of command i ng offi cers appoi nted a su i tab 1 e NCO to act as schoolmaster to the regiment, before the reforms of 1812 compelled them to do so. In 1846 civilians also became eligible to enlist as Army schoolmasters. Together they became members of the Corps of Army Schoolmasters which survived for nearly three-quarters of a century. This thesis considers the role of the Army schoolmaster , his training and conditions of service, with particular reference to the period 1812 to 1920. Although not a comparative study it notes, where relevant, developments in the field of civilian elementary education. It does not consider the Army schoolmistress, who taught the infants, except when her work impinges upon that of the schoolmaster; this subject has been the focus of another study. The thesis is divided into three sections. The opening section is essentially a chronological account of, first, the origins and development of Army education up to and including the formation of the Corps of Army Schoo1 masters in 1846 and, second, the system of training for that Corps provided throughout the period. The second section considers the variety of pupils that the Army schoolmaster was required to instruct and his responsibilities for the formal education of adults and older children. It also considers his working the fie1d 0 fin forma 1 e d u cat ion a 1 activities; the organizational framework in which he operated and the system of inspection; and, finally, his status and conditions of service. The third section considers the role of the Army schoolmaster during the First World War and how, as a result of that conflict, an enlarged Army Educational Corps, with a wider remit, superseded the Corps of Army Schoolmasters in 1920.