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Title: The British Yeomanry Cavalry, 1794-1920
Author: Hay, George Murray
ISNI:       0000 0004 2719 882X
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines the place of Britain’s Yeomanry Cavalry within the wider context of the amateur military tradition, between the French Revolutionary Wars and the reformation of the Territorial Army in 1920. Covering the turbulent episodes of the 19th century, as well as the conflicts that marked its beginning and end, this thesis traces the development and evolution of the Yeomanry whilst questioning its place in British social history. To achieve these ends, it routinely returns to three key themes: the Yeomanry’s relationship with the state, its interaction with society, and its place in the wider amateur military tradition. It is argued in this study that the historiography of the amateur military movement has said too little about the Yeomanry, and much of what has been said centres on the combined experience with the Volunteers and Militia. Unlike the Volunteers, however, no text deals with the Yeomanry as a single institution. Though a number of studies have furthered our understanding for the Revolutionary and Napoleonic period, the history of this institution in the rest of the 19th century is largely neglected. This thesis will redress this balance by assessing participation and questioning the importance of the force in society; from the significance of its role as a constabulary, to the importance of its pageantry and presence to those involved and outside of the institution. It will tackle questions of social compositions – particularly the suggestion that the Yeomanry was a ‘feudal’ force – as well as the wider politics of the institution. Given its role in the Second South African War, its incorporation into the Territorial Force, and its involvement in the First World War, this study will also show the varied experience of reform and conflict by offering comparison with academic studies that have covered its sibling forces. The evolution and changing nature of the Yeomanry is considered alongside the evolution and changing nature of the amateur military movement as a whole. The part it played in shifting perceptions in government and society are considered, both in the way that the force maintained a level of independence, and how it benefited from co-operation. Above all, the importance of the Yeomanry as a civilian movement will be juxtaposed against its military pretensions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available