Great War Officer Selection

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by gennithmedic, Jan 10, 2007.

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  1. Can any ARRSErs steer me onto good books about officer selection in the British (and Empire) forces 1914-1918. Searched ARRSE, nothing seen.
    My Great Grandad was a Temporary Gent. I want to know how a hill farmer with a dodgy accent got commissioned. (Apart from not getting killed). The only person he ever spoke to about WW1 was my uncle, who was a young boy. Lions led by lions.
     
  2. Many of the good books about the British Army will cover Officer commissioning as part of the story.

    Try the chapters in...

    Kitchener's Atrmy by Peter Simkin
    Tommy by Richard Holmes

    A high proportion of junior officers were commissioned from the ranks. 20% in the Pre war Army increasing to 50% by 1918.
     
  3. Thanks RBL,
    50% selected on merit eh? Add the Artists Rifles and no wonder we ruled in 1918.
    What went wrong?
     
  4. The 50% wasn't planned. It includes the officers recruited from units recruited from "officer material" such as the HAC, Public Schools Battalions, 1st Birmingham Pals, 1st Leeds Pals, 23 RF "The Sportsmans Battalion"

    Initially officers for the New Armies were only recruited from Public Schools and Universities or other "Gentlemen". During the course of the war many many more talented leaders emerged, and were commissioned from the ranks after proving themselves in the field.

    If he started as a dodgy farmer and ended up with a commission it might just be because he was a good soldier and commissioned on merit.

    What unit did your Grandfather serve in? What is his name? If you want to find out more or perhaps visit where he served please feel free to contact me or legionline. www.britishlegion.org.uk
     
  5. Thanks for the reply RBL,
    My Greatgradnfather's name was John Fox. I believe he served with the Connaught Rangers, but am not sure. Getting information from the Irish bit of the family is like trying to eat soup with a knife, they seemed to be a bit ashamed of his service- and the ones really in the know are dead.
    All that remain are anecdotes and clues. He was Gaelic speaking, loved horses (he hacked a pig into small pieces postwar, because it attacked his favourite horse), he really like Princess Patricia. Post was he farmed in Co. Monaghan- believed used his payoff to buy land?
    I've emailed the Connaught Ranger assoc. but the Irish haven't realy kept records.
    Any clues where to look? Where would commissions be Gazetted back then? Are they recorded. Wish the old boy had had a really unusual name!
     
  6. Officers were gazetted, so he should be in the London Gazette somewhere. You might like to check one of the Genealogy websites.