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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

EDUCATION


JoMH

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Hello,

I've just read through the chapter on 'Education in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force' on the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre here, and wonder if members have come across any examples of these schemes (NZ or other).

It seems that educational schemes were set up to prepare men for life after war - and took place in camps and hospitals, for example at Codford, Sling, Torquay and Hornchurch. An instructor's school was established at Hornchurch. The debate as to whether education should be voluntary or compulsory was decided in favour of it being 'compulsory for all ranks'. 'Instruction in camps for four hours per day, excluding Sundays; on transports and in hospitals for three hours and one hour respectively.'

On a slightly different tack, is anyone aware of any schemes, or individual instances, for providing lessons in French - possibly earlier in the war, and therefore more concerned with the practicalities of communication at the front?

Joanna

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Joanna

Here is a pre-war Army Education Cerficate from the UK. No French mentioned, but probably Geography and Map reading would come in handy!

Eirian

post-42224-1246542412.jpg

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Hello,

..................................

On a slightly different tack, is anyone aware of any schemes, or individual instances, for providing lessons in French - possibly earlier in the war, and therefore more concerned with the practicalities of communication at the front?

Joanna

Hi Joanna, in the British army at this time, there were quite a few officers who could not speak French so it is not likely that much effort would be expended on the men. There was almost no intermingling of the armies and such liaison as was required was provided by staff officers trained in their duties. See Spears " Liaison 1914 " for a very well written first hand account of how the allies interacted. As far as soldiers communicating with civilians goes, soldiers have always managed to make their needs known and found someone to provide the services they require. Language has never been a barrier for long.

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Thanks everyone!

Scott, I saw that Aussie thread, and it sounds similar to the NZ scheme. I guess the process of repatriation was long and complicated, so this would be a good pretext for occupying time, with the potential bonuses of developing skills whilst at the same time producing food, which I believe was very short in Britain at the end of the war.

Eirian, What a wonderful document. I hope the man got a good chance to use his knowledge. And I wonder what 'Modern English History' covered.

Tom, The English abroad? It's just the same today - where there's a will there's a way. And from accounts I've read, it worked both ways - if someone had a service to provide.

Joanna

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Joanna

Sadly no, William Moore only lived another 3 months after this Certificate was issued. (He is listed on the Menin Gate.)

In 1919 the War office tried to send this certificate and other papers to his family, but his father had also died the previous year, and it seems that the package was "returned to sender" marked "Gone Away." I guess that is why the Certificate (and a copy of the envelope proving they had tried to deliver it) now appears in his Service Record.

post-42224-1246564388.jpg

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Eirian,

I am humbled. I should have put that together myself. I didn't read the signature below your post and therefore make the connection with dates and William Moore.

Joanna

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Joanna, please don't worry!

Not sure it adds much information to your request about Education schemes I'm afraid, but I just thought it rather a poignant ending to the story. I hadn't really thought about it before, but in those "pre-photocopier" days I suppose the War Office wouldn't normally keep the original certificates, as they would have sent them to the recipients or their families, so I'm wondering whether perhaps it is not that common to find a certificate such as this among a soldier's service papers. Just a guess . . .

Eirian

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Eirian,

Thanks! I felt a real clumsy idiot when I read your post. What a thing to say - 'hope the man got a good chance to use his knowledge'. A lesson for me there... Those two pieces of paper certainly do tell a poignant and sad story.

It's interesting. I wonder if it is common to find these certificates with service papers. Tends to imply these would automatically be for men who had died?

Also, does anyone know of certificates issued to participants in the later schemes?

Joanna

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Joanna: As early as latter 1915 when the first serious numbers of Canadian wounded and invalided out of the service returning soldiers reached Canadian shores (even before actually in Parliament (Ottawa) and provincially as well thoughts as to what to do with these possibly unemployable men were turned into governmental intervention in the manner of a) establishing employment bureaus B) establishing or greatly increasing specific industrial or vocational retraining and c) in 1918 establishing the Khaki University which served to reintroduce the masses of Canadian soldiers back into civilian life by focussing on education as a critical component back into civilian life. In fact the Canadians established a separate ministry level department called "Department of Soldier's Civil Re-establishment" which stressed education and re-educaiton.

Hope this helps.

John

Toronto

(ex-British North America)

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Thank you, John. That adds to the picture. The problem was obviously taken seriously.

Do you know if any education or training for Canadians took place before actually returning to Canada? In Britain or in transit?

Joanna

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During most of the war NO formal educational programs since military instruction and training would have been the priority. Education as you have framed it would have served re-integration BACK into civilian society something which military authorities were not fond of with the ever increasing manpower shortages as the war dragged on. However, some very limited local individual initiatives did occur AND the Canadian Y.M.C.A. (and probably the Knights of Columbus and other war supporting charities both in Canada, Great Britain and in the rear areas of the Western Front) did make very limmited informal attempts at education: soldier's rest camps would have semi- and in some cases formal libraries, books and magazines were donated in large scale and also available for purchase; religious education through sermons and Sunday worship may be considered or construed as educational. The Canadian YMCA and the KNIGHTS of Columbus for Canada both have individual monographic length histories btw. Hope this helps you further.

John

York, U.C.

[ ex-British North America ]

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Thanks again, John. YMCA crops up as playing big role in education for New Zealanders as well - as described in the NZETC 'Education in the NZEF'.

Are you aware of any Canadian programmes in the hospitals?

Joanna

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When the armistice was signed, it was natural for the men who had been conscripted to expect to be demobilised immediately. Of course, this could not happen. There was a lot of trouble, some bordering on mutiny when it did not. The CiC was quick to emphasise that troops waiting demob would have to be kept usefully employed. One of the employments offered was education and many soldiers took advantage of the opportunity. Much of that was continued in the Army of Occupation under Plumer. I think what we need here is some input from forumites with expertise re the Army Education Corps and its history.

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For Canada the focus was on rehabilitiation including vocational training or retraining in all kinds of work. At first agricultural training and work as therapy as well was resorted to but again in Canada itself with more and more soldiers returning sick or wounded technical education and industrial (as we think of it NOT industrial meaning agriculture pre-1914 in Canada!) became all far more important. Officially it was perceived that NOT that many soldiers would want to be farmers but rather go to the cities with high paying factory or technically oriented jobs. Boards of Education, technical schools and some private schools offerred courses just for returned soldiers. The Canadian government paid the soldier a small salary and basic expenses while soldiers sought such education.

Medcial personnel not to mention the temper of the times : read Protestant work ethic alone - meant that Canadian home front military hospitals greatly encouraged this and in some cases classes were held on military hospital premises.

John

Toronto

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Thanks Tom & John,

Yes, I would be very interested to hear more from experts on the Army Education Corps. There may also be little mentions in passing - perhaps in letters and diaries from people who actually underwent (re) education...?

Joanna

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9th bn Sherwood Foresters had a number of educational classes after 11 Nov 1918 until disbanded in mid 1919. Possibly to give the men something to do, more than anything else.

SteveM

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What got me started on this was mention of education & debates on board HMNZ 'Rimutaka' going home 1919-20. Thread here - see post #99. I have no doubt that two months at sea presented the same problems of keeping the men occupied.

Joanna

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Considering the presence of both students and teachers commonly during especially 1914 to 1916 and higher educated officers generally military camps, training bases, rear areas, troopships on long voyages, etc...did see debating societies, literary clubs and the like formed. AT one major Canadian military training base in 1917 the debating society considered whether women should get the vote.

John

Toronto

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Hi Joanna,

I know from an Australian perspective nurses spent their voyages out from Australia in late 1914/early 1915 learning French onboard (not stated who taught them but obviously someone could speak French) as they thought they would be going straight to France.

Christina Goodchild, AANS, had French lessons for her NME in 1919 before she returned to Australia.

cheers

Kirsty

http://www.findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au/res...erson20382.html

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Joanna

Not sure if you are interested in education classesfor all soldiers or rehabilitation/vocational clases classes for the wounded both before and after discharge; I've picked up a couple of references to the latter in the Polytechnic Magazine (including one to training men as barbers) and can root them out for you if you want. Oh and Robert Mitchell (who was I think the Poly Director of Education) becaame somethiing senior (Director of Training?) in either the Ministry of Pensions or a section of the War Office in connection with this. Let me know if this is of interest.

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Thank you all!

Because my grandmother (Eleni/Helene Dobson nee Georgoulopoulos) is noted in the above-mentioned 'Rimutaka' journal as giving lessons in French during the voyage to New Zealand in 1919, I wonder if she may have been doing this sooner. She had gone to London (date unknown) to teach French, and met my grandfather there in 1915. He was a NZ padre (Rev Charles Dobson) and was one of the editors of the onboard 'Rimutaka' journal. As a padre, he may have had an interest in education.

I particularly want to know who the educators might have been, and would the schemes have employed non-service people?

I realize that the subject is very broad - but am unwilling to narrow it down at this stage. Therefore the Polytechic Magazine references could be useful, Anthony - thank you.

Joanna

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So far there has been little reference to women, girls and their needs. I realise that this is rather outside the scope of the original question, but certainly the problem of equipping girls and boys for life after the war was on the minds of teachers, as this report of a conference held in Manchester in May, 1916, shows.

(I have broken down the paragraphs for easier reading online. I have the original image.)

Education after the war

The war in its relation to education was under discussion at a meeting of the Lancashire and Cheshire branch of the Incorporated Association of Assistant Masters, held at Manchester on Saturday. We all realise now that the world will emerge from the great and terrible conflict among civilised nations a vastly different place. The standards of living, of luxury, or education – all must undergo dramatic change. Great Britain, victorious as we hope and believe she will be, will be immeasurably poorer. It is all the more important, therefore, that we should begin without delay to consider some of the problems that will follow hard upon the end of the war.

One of the most important of these concerns education. If we are to maintain our supremacy after the war we must see to it that amid all the economies that are being impressed upon us now education is not unduly starved. That would be a fatal mistake. For education, now and hereafter, will play a far more important part than it has ever done. It may be that our ideas will undergo great change; some of the education considered necessary today will have to be discarded. But there must be no cheeseparing economy that will strike at the heart of educational efficiency.

In the future, as Bishop Welldon said at Saturday’s conference, education must be much more practical. There must be less waste of time in the public schools such as was evident when boys were set to write Latin and Greek verses though they were not thought capable of writing a single verse in their own tongue; and University degrees should be made more difficult to obtain.

In the past few years it is to be feared that our educational system has attempted too much. Boys and girls have been turned into the world badly equipped to grapple with the problems facing them. That is because their education has not been run on suitable lines. As another speaker at the conference referred to observed, in the case of secondary education for girls, not half enough had been made of the duty of motherhood. In the coming days many women would have to do what was done in the Middle Ages – look after the family and the children, and carry on part of the industrial life of the nation as well. It was necessary, therefore, to strengthen the home side of the girl’s life, to teach her more and more the duty she owed to the family, and to show her that it was through the family that she did her duty to the state.

A well-educated democracy will; be essential after the war; and it is highly important that we do nothing now that will handicap the nation in the days to come. If the youth of today are to carry on the struggle of tomorrow it is our duty to see that they lack nothing in equipment. We have been warned that the industrial struggle that will follow the war will be every whit as strenuous, and that our enemy will spare no effort to gain the victory. It is for us to see that he is worsted in the fight; we may do so if our educational system is adapted to our needs.

Northwich Guardian, May 23rd, 1916.

(As an aside, some of these sentiments could have been written in 2009, especially the suggestion that degrees should be more difficult.)

The WEA was certainly in existence before the war years and presumably offered a selection of useful courses. I would also add - though again I realise that this is outside the scope - that the drill halls were invariably equipped with the means for men to educate themselves, some with reading rooms or even libraries.

Gwyn

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1st Class Certificate of Army Education was a very high standard indeed (roughly A level - they went down to 5 and 6 was considered in the war - if you had failed 6 you would have been unfit for the army in today's terms "special needs"). In the Black watch Museum at Perth there is an ACE 1 with about 18 subjects on it - mostly Indian languages. ACE 1 in appropriate subjects could get a British OR considered for a commission in an Indian Army specialist corps such as Farms, Clerks, Pay or Ordnance

Royal Army Education Corps has two roots which came together to form the Corps after the Great War.

The Corps of Army School Masters which prepared men for the ACE examinations, took educational classes for boy soldiers and ran schools for soldiers' children, was a very old corps. Its members were amongst the most expensively trained men in the Army, most were alumni of the Duke of Yorks Military School. Due to this they were forbidden to accompany their units on active service as they would be difficult to replace. Most of the Army Schoolmasters in India were concentrated in Army HQ at Simla after the outbreak of war to help out in the Intelligence Branch.

In 1914 these men were not even issued with Khakhi uniforms and wore, on more formal occasions a frock coat and forage cap type uniform not dissimilar to that of a Bandmaster taking a concert. One Schoolmaster had to travel from Malta to the War Office via France during mobilisaton and had the very embarassing experience of being mistaken for Lord Kitchener by French Railway personnel at Marseilles.

The other root of the RAEC is from a Branch of the Staff Duties Directorate at the War Office. When conscription had started in the UK there was a degree of unhappiness amongst recruits, particularly from the engineering sector of the civil economy, that they would fall behind their unconscripted colleagues in terms of professional development. Northern Command set up classes to counteract this. The Staff Duties Directorate were impressed with these and set up a Branch to spread them throughout the Army. Eventually it grew into a very large variety of lectures and courses ranging from bird watching upwards.

To complete the picture there were also Army Schoolmistresses who were civilians working for the Army largely teaching soldiers' children in the Infants Departments of Army Schools

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tintin and dragon: great contributions. Keep them coming. Both your posts btw highlight the civilian-military relationships both before and during the war.

John

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