Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Recommended: Everyday Lives in War

This is an excellent university consortium website (Hertfordshire University has the leading role) that produces excellent articles on "the impact of war on everyday life between 1914 and 1918 and on subsequent generations." The editors sponsor and assist with local remembrance projects around the UK and add their own excellently researched articles. Here is  a representative entry I found especially interesting.

Foxhunters in Khaki —

Foxhunting and the County Yeomanry During the First World War

Posted on January 3, 2017
Contributed by Nick Mansfield

The mobilization of the Welsh Horse Yeomanry at Lampeter in west Wales, in August 1914. The Yeomanry found it difficult to recruit further volunteers. One hundred years ago, the British government for the first time introduced conscription for compulsory service in the armed forces; a response to the high battlefield casualties and the need for mass mobilization to defeat Germany. Exemptions were granted both on conscientious grounds, or for reasons of urgent and vital work for the national interest. Such appeals were heard by local military service tribunals. One of the most unusual of these was heard in Shropshire when, in 1916, the South Shropshire Hunt applied for exemption from conscription for their kennelman, one of their full-time and professional hunt servants. At a time when the bloody battle of the Somme was at its height, what might have been thought of as a frivolous and unworthy appeal, was agreed in full by the tribunal. Its chairman declared that "the military had no objection at all to the application. It was recognised that hunting should be kept up." Such was the power of the vested rural interest of foxhunting and its military wing of the county Yeomanry.

The mobilisation of the Welsh Horse Yeomanry at Lampeter in west Wales, in Aug 1914
The Yeomanry found it difficult to recruit further volunteers.

The latter were originally formed from local foxhunting packs around 1800, as part-time mounted home defense force to oppose Napoleonic invasion. They were socially exclusive; mainly farmers’ sons, officered by the county gentry. After 1815 the Yeomanry continued as a paramilitary gendarmerie used to act against a wide range of early 19th-century protesters.  Their methods were often violent, with Manchester’s Peterloo Massacre only one example of their handiwork. The Yeomanry were also very political and overwhelmingly supported conservatism. Their policing role if the countryside was superseded by the new county constabularies, but the Yeomanry continued their existence as old-fashioned military auxiliary units, still built around fox hunting and the associated, and often raucous, social and political activities. Continued. . .

Finish reading the article HERE.


1 comment:

  1. Good article. This is an aspect of the war, and British culture, that we rarely see. Thank you and post more from that source.

    Robert Warwick