Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Ringleaders and Reds in Khaki – British Army mutinies during the First World War
Sat 15th Oct, 2016 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Ringleaders and Reds in Khaki - British Army mutinies during the First World War
Julian Putkowsk is a college lecturer, broadcaster and writer with an established interest in military discipline and dissent in the British Army. With Julian Sykes he co-authored Shot at Dawn(1989); he actively supported the ensuing campaign to secure exoneration for soldiers executed by the British Army and the Blair government’s response in both Murderous Tommies (2011), co-authored with Mark Dunning and Three Uneasy Pieces (2014). Julian’s research about rebels in khaki was reflected in British Army Mutineers 1914-1922 (1998) and his views about military ‘collective bargaining’ can be accessed online here.
Drawing on forty years research, this talk will air and invite debate about the social interpretation, political significance and leadership of the mutinous outbreaks that convulsed the British Army during the First World War.
"British Military historians and assorted flag-wavers celebrate the enthusiastic rush to the colours; the ensuing blood sacrifice of British Tommies, White Dominion troops and (belatedly) colonial formations and even military labourers. The stereotype of soldiers dutifully marching to their deaths was always a conservative mirage but only a handful of books have drawn attention to the hundreds of thousands of soldiers and military auxiliaries who rebelled, mutinied and challenged their commanders and political masters during the First World War. The ‘Unknown Army’, the pioneering study by Douglas Gill and Gloden Dallas produced in the late 1960’s chronicled the incidence of mutinies in Northern France and the UK; Andrew Rothstein’s brave claim that the mutineers were unconscious or perhaps semi-conscious Marxist Leninists, and David Englander’s promising exploration of khaki collective bargaining all challenge the dominant deferential stereotype.
Though there have been a few TV commemorations referencing indiscipline and dissent, the absence of substantive research has left the field open to sensationalism and fantasy, and for the most part public understanding has long been skewed by ‘The Monocled Mutineer’, book and TV drama. Notwithstanding twaddle about Percy Toplis, the declassification of soldiers’ service records admits identification of ringleaders who were punished for mutiny but the personalities who successfully organised, represented and negotiated deals with generals and politicians remain largely anonymous. The latter escaped being court-martialled, they were intelligent, literate, and politically savvy individuals and their names were certainly unknown to more than a handful of mutineers..."
And there's a walk this weekend:
Sun 2nd Oct, 2016 11:00 am
Resisting the War: Deserters, Conchies and Mutineers
Meet at Bristol Temple Meads station forecourt.