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Browned Off and Bloody-MindedThe British Soldier Goes to War 1939-1945$
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Alan Allport

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300170757

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300170757.001.0001

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Gentlemen and Old Sweats

Gentlemen and Old Sweats

Chapter:
(p.18) Chapter 2 Gentlemen and Old Sweats
Source:
Browned Off and Bloody-Minded
Author(s):

Alan Allport

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300170757.003.0002

This chapter describes the characteristics of the British Army between the wars. In the 1930s, there was scarcely such a thing as the “British Army,” in the sense of a single, coherent, unitary institution. What existed was a collection of several dozen regiments, each of which enjoyed an effectively independent corporate existence that was only occasionally and weakly disturbed by the intrusions of the War Office in London. The British Army regarded the regiment as the essential building block of its organization and identity. The cult of the regiment produced a passionate esprit de corps within the ranks, but also produced soldiers obsessed with the fortunes of their own regiment and indifferent to any other concern. Loyalty to the Army as a unitary institution scarcely existed at all.

Keywords:   British Army, enlistment, recruitment, regiments, soldiers

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