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Title: Officers not gentlemen : officers commissioned from the ranks of the pre-First World War British regular army, 1903-1918
Author: Deeks, Roger
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 4120
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2017
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The British army officer commissioned from the ranks had become a rare and politically contested phenomenon in the years leading up to the First World War. This research addresses a previously unexamined phenomenon; how the conflict saw almost 10,000 commissions awarded to soldiers from the ranks of the pre-war British Army, and over 7,000, of these were ‘permanent’, constituting 42 per cent of regular army commissions. This was deeply threatening to the identity of gentleman-officers that had embedded a culture of gentlemanliness parsed into the rules and behaviours that governed army life and the homo-social space of the officers’ mess. This investigation shows the emergence of the ranker officer identity, progressively defined during the war through a process of Othering in terms of socio-cultural differences, particularly presentation and speech. The post-war officer class resumed its pre-war social and cultural character, maintaining its exclusivity and ethos and the ranker officer was increasingly caricatured in the discourses surrounding regimental officering and Englishness. The ranker officer, is fully examined for the first time in this thesis and this examination crucially informs our understanding of the persistence of an elite through the continuing gentlemanly appropriation of British army officer identity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: D501 World War I ; DA Great Britain ; HT Communities. Classes. Races