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Survivors of a Kind - seeking clarification


Desmond7
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I read the essay on Crozier contained in this well produced and well written book yesterday.

One line stood out for me. Noting Crozier's transfer post 1st July episode, and having given due credit to performance on that date, the allegation is made that the Ulster Division afterwards becomes a drink sodden formation ... I do not have the exact text to hand right now, but that's how I read the inference.

Anyone got the book who can post the lined referred to?

I am well aware of drink and discipline problems in the Belfast Bde of the 36th pre Nugent's take-over. In accepting that, I do find the allegation that the entire formation was infamous for wholesale drink problems either before or after the Somme to be rather sweeping.

If the author is on board the forum I would like to see evidence that the 36th had any such reputation in the post 1st July 1916 period.

Des

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This is a relatively new book on WW1 ... it is mainstream (i.e. Waterstones have it) .. I am flagging this up again. I know Nigel Cave worked with the author in the past .. as forum member, can he help?

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Hi chums,

I can't push this on any further myself but I am interested in this thread as I have always found that such accusations are normally over-exagerations and based on a few individuals or a couple of incidents. Nevertheless if the evidence exists then let's have a look at it together?

Pete

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The assertion just seemd to come out of the blue in the context of this book. Thanks Peter.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think Brian Bond has used Tim Bowman's 'Irish Regiments in the Great War: Discipline and Morale' (MUP: 2003) as a key source. I don't have BB's book in front of me but Bowman notes a statement (p.125) about the relief of the Ulster Division after the start of the Somme saying that 'The Ulster (sic) Rifles who were still alive were all roaring drunk'. However Crozier was not promoted until Nov 1916 so there may a wire getting crossed somewhere. Bowman gives lots of figures regarding courts martial etc.

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Having been a postgraduate student of Professor Bond in the early 1980s and a member of the British Commission for Military History for nearly twenty years, of which he was President, I would be... somewhat suprised if he were a member here.

That said, any historical assertion he makes - whether or not you agree - is certain to have been based on sources. Brian Bond is not a tattle merchant. (That is not intended to sound as strident as it looks; simply to underline that he is one of the most rigorous academic historians in the country).

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For further discussion on this topic see a thread entitled : 'Drunken Disorderly Division'.

Des

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I can confirm that Professor Bond does not use email etc.

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Des,

In a few weeks (17th March) Prof. Brian Bond is giving a talk at Birmingham University which I hope to attend. If you have not got to the bottom of this remind me and I will try and ask him after the talk.

Regards

Arm

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Its also worth adding that this is a fascinating piece of work (and v. expensive £25.00 - but try Amazon used copies for a price cut). It looks at virtually all the genuinely worthwhile Brit Great War literateurs, their work and how it and they were influenced by the Great War and comparisons of generally linked individuals . A couple of nice 'left-field' entries - Pollard VC and Lord Reith DG, and ranker writers like the great Frank Richards and Manning. Good chapter on the Guards writers too. Much new, and little known, about the writers featured. I thoroughly enjoyed it and felt I had learned quite a bit, great shame about the price and not a book I would anticipate would get into paperback.

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I thoroughly agree - with the exception of my point - a very worthwhile, different study which is well worth 25 quid to us anoraks. I do not have neough in-depth on other subjects to challenge .. but there are some turgid WW1 books out there .. this is at the VERY LEAST worth attention.

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Phil,

I don't know Brian Bond and have to say have never heard of him, and haven't seen his book.

However you say he is a rigorous researcher, but then i find it strange he appears to have used another author [bowman] as a key source and quoted him without checking primary source himself [based on other comments].

As Bowman has done the donkey work by finding the source in the first place its not too difficult to cross check it.

He [bowman] also falls foul of this by using two mis-qoutes from books in his 'Irish Regiments'. Knowing the author of one of these books i know this to be correct.

I personally wouldn't use anyones book as a prime source without qualifying it. That said, I would take the references they have provided in their books and investigate the prime source myself.

The problem with quoting from someone else's work is that if they are wrong or have given their opinion on a subject rather than stated a fact, then this can get repeated.

This is what appears to have happened hear.

The subjects Tim Bowman writes about, Irish Regiments and the Ulster Division in particular are, like Des, my own interest.

As such i have taken the references Tim Bowman has provided in his books, gratefully i may add, and investigated them at source.

ie the Public Records Offices, museums etc.

From this i have collected many fine documents relevent to my own research.

However by doing this i have had the opportunity to see where mistakes have been made and then repeated.

As Des says go to the other posting and i think you will see the information available to refute a second hand statement.

I do appreciate the work these authors do and know the difficulties in finding good first hand information. But if your going to make a statement you need to be able to defend it. I think certain writers rely on their reputations to prevent their work being questioned.

The great thing about this forum is that there are so many people who are very knowledgable on small detailed subjects, thereby allowing printed works to be questioned and corrected, where previously they would have stayed unchallenged.

David, if you want to see an expensive book [in relation to its size] see Tim Bowmans 'Carsons army'. It Cost £50, but then your paying for a specialist subject well researched, if a little misleading in places.

Rob

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  • 1 month later...
The assertion just seemd to come out of the blue in the context of this book. Thanks Peter.

Des,

You know about the legal case concerning the accusation about drunkenness of the 36th and the Baird of Belfast telegraph fame?

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Phil,

I don't know Brian Bond and have to say have never heard of him, and haven't seen his book.

However you say he is a rigorous researcher, but then i find it strange he appears to have used another author [bowman] as a key source and quoted him without checking primary source himself [based on other comments].

I do appreciate the work these authors do and know the difficulties in finding good first hand information. But if your going to make a statement you need to be able to defend it. I think certain writers rely on their reputations to prevent their work being questioned.

Rob

Having read some of Bond's work I can't see any fault with the way he conducts his research. The arguments made in what I have read are well supported, I may not always agree with them, but I can not question his method. The use of secondary sources is integal in the writing of all history. A good historian will be just as critical of a secondary source as they would of any primary source, I can't see Bond citeing some fellow's work just because. If he feels the author made a valid point why not use his work, its important to understand what others have said on the subject. If we should do all our research ourselves and not agree or disagree with what others have said then why write history at all? Why not just publish collections of primary sources?

Chris

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