The British army was almost unique among the European armies of the Great War in that it did not suffer from a serious breakdown of discipline or collapse of morale. It did, however, inevitably suffer from disciplinary problems. While attention has hitherto focused on the 312 notorious ‘shot at dawn’ cases, many thousands of British soldiers were tried by court martial during the Great War. This book provides the first comprehensive study of discipline and morale in the British Army during the Great War by using a case study of the Irish regular and Special Reserve batallions. In doing so, Timothy Bowman demonstrates that breaches of discipline did occur in the Irish regiments but in most cases these were of a minor nature. Controversially, he suggests that where executions did take place, they were militarily necessary and served the purpose of restoring discipline in failing units. Bowman also shows that there was very little support for the emerging Sinn Fein movement within the Irish regiments. This book will be essential reading for military and Irish historians and their students, and will interest any general reader concerned with how units maintain discipline and morale under the most trying conditions.
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