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cathal1972

"Indifferent officers"

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cathal1972

I have recently finished "Through German Eyes-The British & the Somme 1916" by Christopher Duffy, which I enjoyed very much.

The author makes the following statement "As a political formation-like the 16th (Irish) Division on the other side of the fence-the 36th had been plagued by an unusually high proportion of indifferent officers....." (page 150)

He does not qualify or explain this statement any further.

Anyone any thoughts as to what he means?

Is it that the Irish officers, who would have come from the Ulster Volunteers or National Volunteers, because they came from a paramilitary formation, would not have had the same training/discipline/military "bearing" as English officers?

Or is it the reverse, that some of the officers were English and because they were posted to an Irish "political" unit, did not have the same enthuasiasm as their counterparts in English/Scottish/ Welsh units? Was being assigned to an Irish division seen as a less prestigious posting?

Or have I completely missed the point?

Regards,

Cathal.

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rob elliott

Cathal,

I think that is possibly a misleading quote and hence the reason no qualification.

When the Ulster Division was first formed in late 1914/ early 1915 a number of Officers were appointed for what you could term political reasons, but in reality more to do with what connections they had.

The UVF had a structure from which a large number of men and officers were drawn.

So naturally somme Officers of the UVF with the right connections became junior Officers of the army.

However as could be expected not everyone of the UVF officers that transfered was up to the required standard.

When General Nugent took over the Division before it went to France he realised this and the effect it would have sohad quite a big clear out of unsuitable Officers, eventually replacing all three Brigade Commanders.

By the time the Division was in France the standard of Officers was pretty good, as was to be proved on the 1st July.

A good book to read on this subject and Irish battalions of all shades is T.Bowmans 'Irish Regiments in the Great War-Discipline and Moral'.

Very detailed, can recommend it.

The situation with this must have been the same [although on a smaller scale] with other regiments of the army, where a good contact [or school] could get you in as an Officer but it didn't necessarily mean they were good enough.

Rudyard Kipling's son John springs to mind!

Rob

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west coast

i have a diary of a lieut in the 2nd otago regt . in it he makes a couple of remarks about various officers he comes into contact with during his time in france, i can`t recall his exact words right now, but some were "he was a dud, and was sent back", lazy, and his c.o 'nag, nag, nag'. also his c.o or 'major' ? stopped his promotion because he didn`t cover up for him when a man went missing on a trench attack and wasn`t reported missing until too late and he was shot by friendly fire. i`ll have to have a re read , the problem is you have to read most of the diary to find this item.

p.s, he does make very good remarks about other officers.

mike.

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Steven Broomfield
A good book to read on this subject and Irish battalions of all shades is T.Bowmans 'Irish Regiments in the Great War-Discipline and Moral'.

Very detailed, can recommend it.

Discussed a bit here.

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cathal1972

Thanks folks, most interesting.

The book is winging it's way to me as we speak.

Cathal.

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