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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Anticipation of victory


centurion
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Recently there was a thread about how confident Britain was in victory

Just discovered that planning for end of war demobilisation began as early as 1917 with the railways and the War Office working out which troops would be sent from where to where for discharge processing. This was a complex planning exercise. No actual dates were applied.

Shows a high degree of confidence in the eventual outcome over a year before the event.

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Centurion

Planning for demobilization actually started earlier than that. In December 1914 the PUS War Office and PUS Board of Trade considered it in terms of discharged soldiers obtaining civilian jobs. Then in May 1916 a Demobilization Sub Committee of the Rerconstruction Committee was established. Its first report concluded that those with jobs awaiting them should be demobilized first, followed by those with trades in induistries which were short of labour. The final scheme reflected this albeit with those in trades considered essential to getting the country back on its feet and others,notably clerks, who were needed to administer the demobilization machine, taking priority. Haig warned that this would cuase discontent since it took no account of length of service in a theatre of war. He was proved right and when Churchill was appointed Secretary of State for War he had to carry out a drastic overhaul.

Charles M

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Thinking about this a bit more, I believe it may reflect the tug of war that went on between the Army and the competing civil requirements. It also reflects the struggle by every employer for his hands to stay at home. There had been endless discussion and wheeling and dealing since the Derby scheme was introduced.This would have concentrated the minds of those who were responsible for returning soldiers to civilian life. Deciding which men were required at home first would have demanded a planned approach.

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True but in this case the job was to plan how all the soldiers could be brought home and got to their appropriate demobilisation centres - effectively moving the entire army - definitely a non trivial job and nothing to do with establishing principles as to who was entitled to be demobbed first.

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There is an old saying:

"Those who fail to plan, plan to fail."

And, to be cynical perhaps, even if we had lost the war, the Army would still have to have been demobilised.

Ron

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True but in this case the job was to plan how all the soldiers could be brought home and got to their appropriate demobilisation centres - effectively moving the entire army - definitely a non trivial job and nothing to do with establishing principles as to who was entitled to be demobbed first.

You are right and this omission caused several upsets and near mutinies.

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You are right and this omission caused several upsets and near mutinies.

There was no ommission - there was a principle established - just the wrong one

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