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Recruitment stats and other things


GJW

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Hi,

 

I am doing an article for my local paper on recruitment to the british army from my village and surrounding parishes during WW1. This is partly raising awareness for work we are carrying out on those who served from the areas, Castledermot, Moone, Kilkea and Maganey in South Kildare. We have found over 40 who gave their lives and about 100+ others who survived with a strong connection to the area. If anyone could direct me to some information on recruitment numbers in ireland and/or castledermot area and any other generic information that would be relevant.

 

Strange request and many thanks,

 

Gerard

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Hi Gerard.

Excuse me if I am asking the blindingly obvious, but I assume you have been in contact with the people at the Athy Museum? I was there recently and noted, they claim over 2,000 Great War recruits from the town. I guess some of these includes recruits from Castledermot & Moone?

 

Re; Irish recruiting figures, the late Prof. Keith Jeffrey did some research in this area which he presented in his book ‘Ireland and the Great War’. His work seems to be widely referenced. I recall Prof. Grayson presented recruiting figures in his book (Dublin’s great wars).

 

Jervis.

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Have you looked at 'Far from the Short Grass. The story of Kildare Men in two world wars', by James Durney? It must be in your local library.

 

Michael

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You're looking for a very specific geographical area but don't forget that many Irishmen enlisted in British cities, or in Canada for that matter.

 

A quick rummage around my own spreadsheets for Co Kildare reveals at least 120 who served with the flying services (e.g. RNAS, RFC, RAF) but none from the areas of interest to you in South Kildare.

 

The CWGC site will give you plenty of the basic information on the casualties but it's not the same as getting down into the detail of the life stories. Here's an example of Cornelius Byrne from Castledermot. His pre-war service number was 11220. The poor chap couldn't keep out of trouble. Best of luck with the article.

 

WO97_Byrne_R-Dub-Fus.jpg

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On 11/12/2019 at 22:32, GJW said:

If anyone could direct me to some information on recruitment numbers in ireland and/or castledermot area and any other generic information that would be relevant.

 

 

 

Statistics of the Military Effort of the British Empire in the Great War (or ‘Statistics’) is available online

https://archive.org/details/statisticsofmili00grea/page/363

 

On page 363 there is a table that shows the total number of enlistments from Ireland to November 1918 was 134,202, or 6.14% of the estimated male population of 2,184,193.

 

Beckett and Simpson in a ‘Nation in Arms’ expand on these figures identifying 117,063 voluntary enlistments to December 1915 or 10.7% of males aged 15 - 49; after January 1916 there were 17,139 enlistments or 1.6% of eligible men.  Thus 12% of the male population of Ireland aged 15-49 years enlisted 1914 - 1918, compared to 46.2% in England and Wales (or just over 4 million) and 41.4% (557,618) of eligible men from Scotland.

 

Acknowledging those Irishmen who were already serving, or enlisted in Great Britain ,or under the Military Service Act were ‘ordinarily resident in Great Britain’ were excluded it may be regarded as an accurate and acceptable global figure.

 

While there was considerable resentment that conscription was not applied to Ireland until 1918 (never implemented) it has been noted that before conscription there was considerable rural indifference to volunteering in rural England and Wales and the Irish recruitment reflected this indifference to the war and enlistment in rural communities.

 

Ken

 

 

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Thanks for sharing Ken. Very interesting. 

 

Summary of Jeffrey’s research

 

Jeffrey’s figures align somewhat- although he has a slightly higher recruitment figure of 140,460.

 

To this he added an estimated 28,000 regulars and 30,000 reservists to come up with an overall figure of circa 210,000 enlisted men from the whole Island.

 

(This figure excludes: Officers, RFC/RAF, Navy personnel and of course Irish men serving in Dominion armies or the US Army)

 

Jeffrey differs in that he states that approx. 25% to 30% of men of military age in Ireland served in the Great War. He defined men of Military age as 15 years to 35 years, which is obviously a shorter age span than quoted above but also more aligned to Army regulations than the 15 to 49 span. Using this age demographic and basing it on the 1911 census he said there was 700,000 eligible men of which circa 210,000 served.

 

The figure of 700,000 eligible men from a male population of 2.1m seems quite low to me, but that is what he claimed. I’d like to know how valid this figure is. 

 

Jervis.  

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5 minutes ago, Jervis said:

Jeffrey differs in that he states that approx. 25% to 30% of men of military age in Ireland served in the Great War. He defined men of Military age as 15 years to 35 years, which is obviously a shorter age span than quoted above but also more aligned to Army regulations than the 15 to 49 span.

 

An observation as always statistics are open to interpretation but, the first Military Service Act defined eligible men as single men aged 18 to 41, this was swiftly amended to include married men of a similar age subsequent amendments to the Act culminated in the Military Service (No. 2) Act 1918 which extended conscription to men aged 41 to 50 and allowed for the extension of conscription to Ireland, the latter provision was never implemented.  It is however a more accurate comparison if applied to each part of the United Kingdom, though it must be acknowledged Jeffrey's interpretation illustrates a deeper analysis of the Irish recruitment pattern.

 

In truth the relatively small number of enlistments from Ireland after 1916 is of only slight significance to the age range chosen.  One of the most significant factor for enlistment in Ireland is that of Sir John Redmond's call to arms as discussed in the article cited above.  Although it is, as Jeffrey observes just one of many reasons that encouraged Irishmen to enlist but that nationalist motivation had waned by 1916.

 

The majority of the first 100,000 recruits to Kitchener's 'New Army' came from the traditional recruiting pool for the Army, that is the seasonally unemployed and working class recruits.  

 

Ken

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Prof Jeffrey makes a good anecdotal point re Canada: I've encountered quite a few, and have seen a figure as high as 20,000 mentioned.

 

I gather that there's hard data for Australia, a figure of 4,000 Irishmen.

 

I don't have my UK Census material immediately to hand but, rummaging around my notes here, I've the following figures for the Irish-born population in Great Britain. It would tend to suggest that the higher figure for 225,000 - 250,000 isn't out of the question, as the Irish community in Britain constituted a significant percentage of the Irish population.

 

However, it would also suggest that recruitment rates might be lower than expected, as the overall Irish population baseline is higher. (I'd disregard the Irish population of the USA, as it's of a much older demographic profile. That said, the Canadian enlistment figures would be affected by this cohort).

 

Location

 

1901 Census

1911 Census

1921 Census

Australia

 

184,085

139,434

105,033

Canada

 

101,629

92,874

96,264

Great Britain

England & Wales

426,565

375,325

364,747

 

Scotland

205,064

174,715

159,020

Ireland

6 counties

1,235,952

1,250,531

1,256,561

 

26 counties

3,221,823

3,139,688

2,971,992

New Zealand

 

43,524

40,958

34,419

USA

 

1,615,459

1,352,251

1,037,234

Total:

 

7,034,101

6,565,776

6,025,270

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Keith_history_buff

  

On 03/02/2017 at 01:51, voltaire60 said:

Elsewhere again on the Forum, there is good work by [former forum member] and others on the structure of the Regular Army by drilling into the 1911 Census returns-and on Irish recruiting in the war years. One small question that comes to mind in this is:

 

     Were more British soldiers who saw service in South Africa 1899-1902 killed in the Great War than in the Boer War itself?  My guess is "Yes"

 

 

Taken from here
https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/247207-victorian-old-soldiers-and-the-great-war/

Not sure how easy it is to find some of those aforementioned threads, in respect of Irish recruitment.
 

 

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The official sources acknowledge that a large number of Irishmen of military age had emigrated, especially to the USA, Canada and Australia. They do not offer any information on how many of these enlisted in the forces of their new countries.

 

Ron

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 11/12/2019 at 22:57, Jervis said:

Hi Gerard.

Excuse me if I am asking the blindingly obvious, but I assume you have been in contact with the people at the Athy Museum? I was there recently and noted, they claim over 2,000 Great War recruits from the town. I guess some of these includes recruits from Castledermot & Moone?

 

Re; Irish recruiting figures, the late Prof. Keith Jeffrey did some research in this area which he presented in his book ‘Ireland and the Great War’. His work seems to be widely referenced. I recall Prof. Grayson presented recruiting figures in his book (Dublin’s great wars).

 

Jervis.

Hi Jervis,

 

Athy have been most helpful and have shared their notes with me.

 

Thanks for the other references for stats. I will look them up.

 

Gerard

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