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INTRODUCTION

Ian F. W. Beckett

A Victorian traveller in the settled part of the British Empire at any time between the 1850s and the 1890s would have encountered much that was exotic and novel. On the other hand, there would be much that would be familiar from churches to clubs, and from railways to parks. One of a number of familiar institutions would be the high visibility of forces of citizen soldiers from Australias Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers, to Burmas Moulmein Volunteer Reserve Company, Canadas Victoria Rifles, Indias Cossipore Artillery Volunteers, New Zealands Coromandel Rifle Brigade and South Africas Lang Kloof Cavalry. Victorians who stayed at home were equally familiar with colonial citizen soldiers, contingents or representatives taking part in the Queens Jubilee procession on 22 June 1897 including the Canadian Highlanders, the South Australia Mounted Rifles, the Natal Carbineers, the Umvoti Mounted Rifles, the Ceylon Light Infantry Volunteers, the Otago Hussars, the Rhodesia Horse and the Royal Malta Regiment of Militia. Such units fall clearly within the typology of colonial forces advanced by Karl Hack and Tobias Rettig, who have classified them as a special case in being comprised of males who were locally born or resident but not indigenous.1 As Craig Wilcox has noted, within the empire, these citizen units advertised a communitys significance, maturity and cohesion and, compared with other local colonial organizations such as cricket clubs or fire brigades, required as much or more initiative and commitment to create and maintain it.2 But the citizen soldiers of the empire were neither simply another form of colonial unit, nor solely an expression of settler community. They also represented Britains own long tradition of raising amateur citizen soldiers militia, yeomanry and volunteers for home defence, which is precisely why they would have been so familiar to an itinerant Victorian. By the end of the Queens reign, there were not only over 360,000 citizen soldiers in Britain but also well over 100,000 more throughout the empire. It was a model of citizen soldiers that had been widely emulated in British colonies and settlements in the Caribbean, North America and India in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Following the defeat of Napoleonic France, many of the local forces raised in Britain and Ireland between 1793 and 1815 were
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disbanded or disembodied. Renewed fears of French invasion, however, led to a major revival of the militia in Britain in 1852, and of the volunteer movement in 1859. The model of the rifle volunteers was then copied throughout the British Empire. In many cases, those colonies facing specific threats had already raised either militia or volunteers from settler communities on the earlier British model. On occasions, the threats were those resulting from perceptions of Britains own imperial role. The outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854, and the concomitant fears of Russian expeditionary forces suddenly appearing over the horizon, resulted in the formation of citizen units in Australia, South Africa and the Far East, as well as in the equally distant Falkland Islands.3 The potential implications of Britain becoming involved in war against Russia as a result of the Russo-Turkish War of 18778, or the Penjdeh crisis in 1885, when Afghan and Russian forces clashed on the Afghan frontier, similarly reverberated throughout the empire. In addition, however, there were the internal threats relating to particular colonies. Canadian militia and volunteers confronted rebellion in the Upper and Lower Colonies in 1837, and were to do so again in 1870 and 1885, as well as Fenian incursions from the United States in the 1860s. Australians were sent to assist in the Third New Zealand (Maori) War of 18636, and a New South Wales contingent was to go to Suakin in the eastern Sudan in 1885. All three New Zealand Wars from the 1840s to the 1860s involved colonial forces. European volunteer units were also raised in India in response to the outbreak of the Mutiny in 1857, while the long series of Cape Frontier Wars against the Xhosa in South Africa saw the establishment of local colonial units. Many of the latter suffered a particularly bloody experience in the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. Once British regular forces were withdrawn from Australia, Canada and New Zealand in 1870, the colonial forces took on the mantle of primary defenders of their respective colonies, forming the nucleus of the colonys own regular defence forces. Generally, colonial forces came to be seen as a crucial, if sometimes problematic, component of imperial defence. Indeed, amateur attitudes towards military professionals often had a detrimental impact on colonial campaigning. In every case, however, the auxiliary military forces in Britain and throughout the Empire also performed a significant social, cultural and political role within metropolitan, provincial and colonial societies. Throughout the Empire, they embraced alike the professional men, tradesmen and clerks, the respectable working class, and the aspirant. Not least, they reflected and transmitted traditional attitudes towards military participation through their ubiquitous presence and, for whatever reason they enlisted, demonstrated commitment to community, country and empire. It is that presence and its significance within the Victorian empire that is examined in this volume. Each contribution outlines the general development

Introduction

and military performance of auxiliary military forces in their respective country. In addition, they also describe the wider social, political and cultural context in which these citizen forces operated and to which, in turn, they contributed. Attention is given to such aspects as recruitment and social composition of officers and other ranks, social control and aid to the civil power, the relationship with home and colonial political and military authorities, and the wider relationship with society. The volume concludes with a chapter on the South African War, in which British and colonial contingents fought together between 1899 and 1902, heralding the contribution that the Empire would make to the Great War.

The Tradition
The principle that the citizen owed a military obligation to state or community in times of danger is an ancient one. For the Greek poleis (city-states), citizenship implied undertaking military service. Aristotle specifically linked military service to widening political rights. Military participation, however, was by no means confined to land-owning hoplites.4 Similarly, in the early and middle years of the Roman Republic, military service was primarily an obligation upon citizens, but citizenship was also a reward for such service. Subsequently, there was no clear linear development under the empire, the Roman army consisting at various times of citizen soldiers, mercenaries, and both volunteer and conscript professionals.5 In building civic identity, the military systems of antiquity were fundamentally different from the feudal systems of the mediaeval period, in which the obligation was one of serving an overlord rather than state or community. Urban militias re-appeared in continental Europe from the twelfth century onwards, notably in Italy and within the Holy Roman Empire. In part the evolution of more organized local forces in the early modern period reflected the dissemination of classical military texts such as those by Vegetius and Polybius in new vernacular editions, marking the revival of the concept of communal defence as a civic virtue. It implied both a growing confidence on the part of rulers, or the ruling elite, to entrust the people with weapons, and also a sufficiently developed state bureaucracy to manage the requisite military organization. It also reflected the view articulated by Niccolo Machiavelli that those not prepared to take up arms did not deserve the states protection or the right to participate in its affairs. Increasingly, too, a militia was recognized as both an alternative to the employment of mercenaries, and also as a safeguard against tyranny or arbitrary rule. Florence, for example, reorganized its militia in 15056, Venice in 1507 and 1528, Urbino in 1533 and France in 1534.6 England was not immune to such developments, the militia being first organized on a systematic basis from 1558. In the case of England, however, the free mans obligation of military service long pre-dated the actual revival of the militia.

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It was already well established in mediaeval legislation that owed its origin to the pre-feudal period. There were common burdens in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of the seventh and eight centuries including an obligation to undertake military service in the fyrd, these obligations being paralleled in the Frankish kingdoms. While fyrd was simply the old English word for army, and the idea of an AngloSaxon nation in arms has been discounted, the admittedly fragmentary sources available do suggest a sophisticated system with obligation based on the ownership of property.7 The fyrd itself survived in some form until at least the twelfth century.8 The principle of military service as an obligation upon the free man was then enshrined in the Assize of Arms in 1181 and its subsequent revisions, and the Statute of Westminster in 1285, and its revisions. King Henry VIII not only ordered that the Statute of Westminster be more rigorously applied in 1511 but also began the process whereby there was a coalescence of quasi-feudal and national systems with the emergence of the 1558 militia statutes.9 Most of the new citizen militias in Europe either pre-dated or emerged more or less simultaneously with standing military forces. In this regard, England was little different given that such a standing force can be said to have emerged during the reign of King Henry VII in the late fifteenth century. A substantial English standing army, however, only emerged in the seventeenth century. In that sense, what might be characterized as the amateur military tradition had a particular pedigree in England, the English model being applied to Wales from 1536 onwards. Notwithstanding the union of the English and Scottish Crowns in 1603, Scotland retained a separate military establishment until the Act of Union in 1707, and there was no Scottish militia until 1797.10 Ireland also maintained a separate military establishment from 1661 until 1801, though its militia was first organized in 1666. Similarly, the county lieutenancy effectively established in England and Wales in the 1540s and 1550s was not extended to Scotland until 1794, or to Ireland until 1831. By the mid-eighteenth century, Britain was alone among leading European states in lacking a fully organized citizen reserve for its standing army. It could be argued, therefore, that the introduction of a compulsory ballot for militia service in England and Wales in 1757 imitated the emergence of conscript systems in Sweden (1682), France (1688) and Brandenburg-Prussia (1733). In many of these continental cases, however, the move towards a militia ballot represented conscription for the standing army by another name. Britain alone persisted with a combination of a standing army raised by voluntary enlistment, a militia for home defence subject to compulsion and a variety of ad-hoc volunteer forces. The revival of the English and Welsh militia in 1757 was partly predicated on its relative cheapness compared to the regular army. Some contemporaries also stressed its ability to release regulars for overseas service, thereby obviating the need to import foreign mercenaries for home defence, as had occurred during the Jacobite incursion into England in 1745. It has also been argued that the

Introduction

new militia was an attempt to integrate English landed society more fully into armed service in support of the Hanoverian dynasty, while the whole militia debate has been cast against the perceived need for national regeneration against a background of a wider cultural crisis following the early setbacks in the Seven Years War (175663).11 Its attractiveness also owed much to the perceived shift of the burden of military service down the social scale since, rather than a charge on property as hitherto, militia service now became a tax on manpower: all ablebodied males were now theoretically liable to the ballot. In practice, there were numerous exemptions, substitution was permitted and service could also be avoided by payment of fines. The burden was thus firmly lodged on those poorest elements of society unable to avoid it.12 The concept of the citizen soldier decisively changed in continental Europe as a result of the impact of the French Revolution, specifically the law of requisition, popularly known as the leve en masse, enacted in August 1793.13 The resulting mass citizen army spurred on by revolutionary and ideological fervour was emulated by those powers defeated by the French, most notably Prussia. To the Prussian military reformers, the adoption of universal service was more than a military innovation. It was a catalyst for social and political change, in which the army would become a school of the nation in statehood and service in it rewarded with suffrage.14 The concept of the nation in arms came under attack after 1815, as restored monarchies preferred the perceived political reliability of professional long-service regulars. Nonetheless, short-service conscription survived in Prussia. In tribute to Prussian military ascendancy, it was introduced generally in continental Europe after the Franco-Prussian War of 18701, albeit now in the service of absolutism and the control and moulding of the individual by the state. Thus did the Italian soldier and politician, Niccola Marselli, speak of the new Italian army after 1871 as the great crucible in which all provincial elements come to merge in Italian unity.15 Conscription clearly contributed to establishing national identity though many regular soldiers remained wary of the socio-political implications of a more militarized society. Only Switzerland retained a pure militia system after 1815.

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The British Model

The British model, therefore, was unique in Europe. The English and Welsh militia had a formal statutory existence from 1558 to 1604, from 1648 to 1735, from 1757 to 1831, and from 1852 to 1908 although the absence of enabling legislation did not mean necessarily that the militia had ceased to function between these dates. King Charles I, for example, claimed the 1558 statutes were still in force after 1604. An exact militia was duly raised in the 1620s, and control of the militia was a major factor in the outbreak of civil war in 1642.16 Having lapsed like that of England and Wales after the French Revolutionary and Napo-

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leonic Wars, the Scottish militia was revived in 1854 to continue until 1908. The Irish militia was disarmed in 1685 but re-established in 1690, with new legislation in 1715. The legislation lapsed in 1766 and new legislation in 1778 was never actually utilized. The Irish militia re-appeared between 1793 and 1816, and was then revived like that in Scotland in 1854, also surviving until 1908.17 The militia always remained an institution of the state. As already indicated, it was subject in theory to compulsory ballot between 1757 and 1831 in England and Wales, between 1797 and 1831 in Scotland, and between 1793 and 1831 in Ireland. In addition, however, purely volunteer forces emerged at times of crisis in England and Wales such as the 1650s, 1660s, 1715 and 1745, and between 1778 and 1782, when the first specific volunteer legislation was enacted. The great flowering of the volunteer movement, which also extended to Scotland, came with the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (17931815). It was marked by the appearance in the 1790s of (mostly infantry) volunteers and, from 1794, of mounted yeomanry. Characterized as the greatest popular movement in Georgian Britain,18 these volunteers and yeomanry were once seen primarily as a response to fears of insurrection rather than the threat of invasion.19 More recently, it has been suggested that they fitted into a pattern of growing national consciousness and self-assertion among the urban middle classes, allowing them to claim parity with traditional landed elites in an ostensibly national cause. The extent of self-mobilization varied widely but there were opportunities for those of lesser social status to claim public leadership though volunteering did not result in any concessions to wider political representation.20 In 1808 the volunteers were mostly incorporated into the semi-balloted local militia. Interpretation differs as to whether this represented an underlying fear of their potential political disaffection.21 The local militia was then disembodied in 1816, and the legislation lapsed in 1836 though, curiously, it remained on the statute book until 1921. The yeomanry survived throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century to be incorporated into the Territorial Force in 1908. Infantry and other volunteer units were then revived in England, Wales and Scotland in 1859.22 They, too, were incorporated into the Territorial Force in 1908, at which point the militia was abolished throughout the United Kingdom. As Ian Beckett demonstrates in Chapter One, this long British amateur military tradition meant that the auxiliaries provided the essential point of contact between army and society when the regular army was both limited in size and also invariably serving overseas. The revival of the militia in England and Wales in 1852 and of the volunteers in Britain as a whole in 1859 resulted primarily from invasion scares. As in the past, the auxiliaries performed such additional functions to home defence as social control and aid to the civil power, the latter a function of the yeomanry from 1815 until the 1860s. They also spread military values broadly through their varied social composition. Increasingly, there was

Introduction

also the issue of the degree to which the auxiliaries could be used in direct support of the army overseas in imperial defence. The revived militia was embodied both for the Crimean War and the South African War, the revival of the militia in Scotland in 1854 also relating directly to the outbreak of war against Russia. Volunteers pressed for the opportunity to go overseas in the 1870s and 1880s, with some specialists reaching Egypt in 1882 and Suakin in 1885. Ultimately, the popular response to the South African War showed the role of the auxiliaries in the growth of militarism in Victorian Britain. With the militia in abeyance in Ireland, volunteers had been formed there in 17789. The movement became heavily politicized, with some elements demanding legislative independence for Ireland. Subsequently the Irish volunteers were outlawed in 1793 and, as already indicated, the militia revived instead.23 It has been argued, however, that the volunteer corps formed in Britain during the American War of Independence (177583) attracted similar middle class elements, and that they aroused similar political concerns though those formed in Britain had more of a local than a national focus.24 Yeomanry was also raised in Ireland in 1796, but it was abolished in 1834 amid growing concern at its perceived excesses in defence of the Protestant Ascendancy. The Irish yeomanry was so specifically located in the Ulster Protestant tradition that it has few applications to the mainland. In any case it has been strikingly argued that volunteers and yeomanry in Ireland were the military expressions of two rival nations.25 As Timothy Bowman and William Butler show in Chapter Two, Irelands place in the British Empire as a whole was always a contentious and confused one, and it is not surprising that this was reflected in its amateur military traditions. The yeomanry had been an almost exclusively Protestant force, while the militia of 17931816 had been a largely Catholic one. It could be argued that there were two patterns for the auxiliary forces in Ireland to follow: one, the standard British militia model and the other, the more specifically Irish Protestant volunteering model, the latter most notably revived with the creation of the Ulster Volunteer Force in 1913. However, from 1854 to 1902 the amateur military tradition in Ireland was focused almost exclusively on the revived British militia pattern. The militia was a disproportionately strong force in Ireland, no Irish regiment having less than three militia battalions after 1881. This revived militia was embodied, with surprisingly few difficulties, for service in the Crimean and South African Wars, with the vast majority of units volunteering for overseas service. While there were some ugly sectarian riots involving Irish militia units, there is little evidence of the wider politicization of the force and it could be concluded that, like Irish recruits to the regular army, Irish militiamen were largely apolitical. Despite this, the rifle volunteer movement never transferred to Ireland, despite attempts by Irish MPs to extend the relevant legislation, over concerns about rifles falling into Fenian hands.26 Indeed, with no volunteer

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force in Ireland, the militia attracted recruits of greater social status than usual in mainland Britain. There remained concerns, however, about keeping Irish militia battalions in Ireland when they were embodied. Interestingly, as will be seen below, while there were Fenian threats in Canada, and a perceived threat in New Zealand that led to Irish exclusion, Australia embraced Irish volunteer units. The raising of the Imperial Yeomanry in the United Kingdom as a whole in 1899 for service in South Africa saw the formation of such units in Ireland. Despite the negative reaction to the South African War in Nationalist Ireland, Irish militia and yeomanry units served in this conflict in considerable numbers and, despite the disaster that befell the 13th Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry at Lindley in May 1900, with some distinction.

The First Empire


Given the persistence of the amateur military tradition in the United Kingdom, it was inevitable that militia and volunteer forces would be extended to the English and British empires. Within the first empire, the militia tradition had a particular strength in the North American colonies. With the exception of Pennsylvania, all the American colonies formed militias on the English model. Ten of them did so in the seventeenth century, and Georgia soon after it was founded in 1733. The early Virginia colonists were organized along military lines and a formal militia organization was created once it came under royal control in 1624. Equally, both the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies had military organization from the beginning with proscribed laws from the 1630s.27 Connecticut adopted a more formal militia organization after the Pequot War of 1637, and it was King Philips War in 1675 that encouraged the New England colonies to augment militia with volunteers. This marked the general emergence of the so-called provincial companies and regiments. Though volunteers, they equated more to a semi-regular force, albeit raised only for specific campaigns.28 The key role and symbolic significance of the colonial militias minutemen in the American War of Independence is well known.29 Not surprisingly, the US constitution of 1787 provided for a militia and the second amendment in 1791 declared that, A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.30 After much delay, Congress legislated for a new militia in 1792 but no comprehensive national system emerged. In England the old constitutional force of the citizen militia had been routinely employed as an appropriate counterweight to a standing army in the fierce debates on the army in the late seventeenth century.31 The militia was portrayed in exactly the same way in the United States, serious problems arising as a result of reliance upon the militia in the Anglo-American War of 181214.32

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Introduction

Thereafter the American militia atrophied. Indeed, much of the evidence used by those opposed to reviving the militia in Britain was derived from American examples. As a result, a variety of volunteer companies and corps emerged in the 1840s and 1850s that were nominally attached to the militia.33 Militia and volunteers were subsumed into the Union and Confederate armies during the American Civil War (18615). Ultimately, in the wake of the Spanish-American War (1898), the 1903 Militia Act finally replaced the 1792 legislation and fully established the National Guard. Just as the English model reached the American colonies, so it extended to India and the Caribbean. The Company of Trained Bands was organized from the merchants of the East India Company at Madras in 1645. There were soon to be similar militias at Calcutta and Bombay and from the 1670s part-time units were formed to guard European enclaves in times of emergency. Such a unit was formed in Calcutta in 1756 and European militias were again formed in 1798 as a result of the perceived French threat to India. In the Caribbean, a militia regiment was formed on Barbados in 1646: it was solely responsible for the defence of the island from 1670 to 1780 when the growing threat from the French and Spanish necessitated garrisoning it with regulars.34 On Jamaica, seized in 1655, former soldiers from the Cromwellian expedition who had settled as peasant proprietors formed a militia in 1657, a more permanent standing militia also being established in the following year. When many of the latter joined an expedition against Cuba in 1662, a new militia was established though there was no formal legislation for it until 1678. A militia was established on Bermuda in 1687. Such colonial militias in the seventeenth century served both to defend the boundaries of empire and to define provincial society.35 In the case of Trinidad, a militia was formed in 1801, four years after the island was taken from the Spanish, service being compulsory for all white and free coloured males of military age. It continued to exist until 1838, disbandment following on from the emancipation of slaves, the possibility of slave insurrection having been its raison dtre since the end of the French and Spanish threat in 1815.36 A local militia was also formed on St Helena though the first actual militia ordinance was passed only in 1837.37 In Sierra Leone, a militia law was passed in October 1808. All males between 15 and 60 became liable for service including all Europeans, Kroomen (local native Kru), hired African labourers and freed slaves who had resided in the colony for more than three months. Subsequently, Africans who were not deemed to be settled in the colony were excluded in 1810, and the artillery corps restricted to Afro-American colonists from Nova Scotia.

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The Settler Empire


Naturally enough, the British model also spread to the settled colonies of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and to Cape Colony and Natal in South Africa. As Bob Marmion illustrates in Chapter Three, Sydney and Parramatta had seen short-lived local defence associations between 1800 and 1801, and between 1803 and 1809. The period from the early 1850s to the mid-1880s then saw a predominantly voluntary system based on the British model. A militia seemed unwise in view of the potential volatility of some settler communities such as gold miners and, while South Australia enacted legislation, it remained dormant. Volunteers were preferred and, with the impetus of the Crimean War, New South Wales led the way in authorizing corps in August 1854, to be followed by South Australia in September and Victoria in December. Tasmania formed volunteers in 1859, Queensland in 1860 and Western Australia in 1862. Impetus derived particularly from the outbreak of the Crimean War, and was then further fed by fears of French or Russian ambitions in the Pacific. The Penjdeh crisis, for example, raised fears in Australia just as much as in Britain. Just as in Britain, the early Australian volunteer corps were proudly self-sufficient and self-regulatory. Nearly all Australian males received the vote between 1856 and 1859, the widening suffrage contributing to the concept of active citizenship. Interestingly, such a concept also embraced the radical left, while those of Irish Catholic descent equally supported volunteering as an expression of the right to defend an adopted country that enjoyed the home rule denied Ireland.38 The withdrawal of the British garrison in 1870 saw Victoria and New South Wales raise the first small colonial permanent standing forces, and following from the war scare in 1878, a number of the colonies also paid their volunteers to drill. At that stage, too, many volunteer units chose to adopt the scarlet of the regulars rather than the grey of the rifleman in what Craig Wilcox has characterized as scarlet fever, though this has some parallels in Britain at the same time.39 The crisis in the Sudan in 18845 led Tasmania and Queensland to raise voluntary militia but, paradoxically, also encouraged more volunteers coming forward to serve without pay. The period from 1884 to 1901 then saw a radical shift towards integrated defence schemes linking land and naval forces with fixed defences. This was a response to technological advances, but it was also an accurate reflection of the increasing sophistication of the Australian colonies. There was a growing interest in taking part in imperial ventures, beginning with the New Zealand Wars, and later including the Sudan in 1885, China in 1900 and the South African War. One in ten of Australias citizen soldiers were to go to South Africa.40 Echoing the multiple functions of the auxiliary forces in Britain, there was also a significant role in the development of colonial society. Providing for the colonies internal stability was seen as of equal importance to providing a defence

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Introduction

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against external attack. The use of Imperial troops in the role of policemen occasionally led to outbreaks of civil unrest and even outright rebellion such as at the Eureka Stockade in 1854. The result was to minimize the role of the Imperial soldier in favour of locally raised Volunteers, who had a vested interest in protecting not only their own property, but also the new colonial society to which they had contributed so much. Citizen soldiers were employed in aid of the civil power against railway gangers at Kyneton in Victoria in 1861 but also during a maritime strike in New South Wales in 1890, and during sheep shearers strikes in Queensland in 1891 and 1894.41 Volunteers played a major role in the establishment of towns, and in politics, education, religion, banking and business. Being a citizen soldier suited the self-help ethos, as well as the developing egalitarianism that marked the emerging Australian national character and psyche. In Canada, as James Wood indicates in Chapter Four, there were more immediate threats than in Britain, Ireland or Australia stimulating the growth of citizen forces. There had been different militia systems in Lower and Upper Canada prior to 1840, that in Lower Canada (Quebec) retaining some aspects of the old pre-1760 French colonial militia even after new militia legislation in the 1780s and 1790s. A militia ordinance had been passed in Quebec in 1777, and militia service made compulsory on the French model in 1793 though there was no formal training. In Upper Canada, a militia had been organized in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1753, and a thoroughly British model was instituted in Upper Canada as a whole in 1793.42 Volunteers from the militia fought beside regulars in defence of Canada during the Anglo-American War of 181214, while Fencibles were raised from ex-servicemen in New Brunswick, the myth that the militia had been solely responsible for fighting the war paralleling that in the United States. Volunteers emerged at the time of the rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada in 1837 and, following the union of the two provinces, new militia legislation was introduced in 1846 though most militia tended to be volunteers. Other emergencies followed such as the Oregon Boundary Crisis between Canada and the United States in the 1840s; the Crimean War; the potential confrontation between Britain and the Union during the American Civil War over perceived British support for the southern Confederacy; and the Fenian incursions of the 1860s. Following federation in 1867, new militia legislation in 1868 established an active militia of 40,000 men to be found by compulsory ballot if sufficient volunteers were not forthcoming, with a reserve liability for all able-bodied males of military age. The withdrawal of the Imperial garrison in 1870 impacted on the Canadian militia just as it did on the Australian citizen forces. The North-west Rebellion of 1885 resulted in a sense of complacency that was fostered by the militias victory in that conflict, reinforcing the militia myth but the 1890s saw rising imperial patriotism contributing to militia reform, new discussions of a

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citizens obligation to military service and the dispatch of Canadian volunteers for the war in South Africa.43 Just as in Britain, on occasions, the parliamentary representatives of the citizen forces could exercise considerable influence.44 It was also the case in Canada, as elsewhere, that outside of the occasional defence crises, volunteering as recreation took precedence over military efficiency. As shown by John Crawford in Chapter Six, New Zealand also faced a serious internal threat and raised citizen forces to assist the regulars. The first manifestations of the British citizen soldier tradition in New Zealand were the Kororareka Association in 1838, and the New Zealand Company Militia in 1840 as settlement expanded. The beginning of hostilities with the Maori resulted in the emergence of a new militia in 1845, followed by volunteers. Citizen soldiers played a major role in the New Zealand Wars between 1845 and 1872 with each successive outbreak of the conflict resulting in new militia legislation and more volunteer corps being formed. The Taranaki Rifle Volunteer Corps, for example, was formed at New Plymouth in January 1859, and saw action at Waireka in March 1860, subsequently carrying the battle honour on the unofficial colours presented to it by the ladies of Taranaki in June 1861, as well as adopting the motto, Primus in Armis.45 Subsequently, Maori served in both the New Zealand militia and volunteer force, particularly in the Thames Native Volunteers and the Ngati Porou Rifle Volunteers in the 1870s.46 New locally raised permanent formations such as the Forest Rangers and the Armed Constabulary took over more of the fighting in the mid-1860s, but militia and volunteers still took the field on occasions as in the occupation of the Maori Kingite territory of Parihaka as late as 1881. The organization and role of militia and volunteers changed from local defence against Maori to guarding the colony from possible raids by foreign naval forces, a task already being fulfilled by volunteer units on South Island from the 1860s onwards. In addition, there was some fear of potential Fenian disturbances on the west coast, with Irish Catholics being excluded from corps.47 Consequently, the Russian scares of 1878 and 1885 saw the same upsurge in volunteering as elsewhere in the Empire. Citizen soldiers also had a particular place in New Zealand society, their social composition, motivation for enlistment, enjoyment of non-martial activities, political leverage, self-regulation and the public perception of them paralleling the trends noted elsewhere. Volunteering enjoyed a measure of social acceptance that made it, if anything, more popular than in Britain, an estimated 5.4 per cent of all adult white males being enrolled in the New Zealand volunteers in 1886, with some 8,000 men serving in 130 corps.48 Curiously, in New Zealand, election of volunteer officers persisted until the formation of the Territorial Force in 1910. If the amateur military tradition in Ireland reflected divisions of religion and perceived national identity, it can be noted, as Tim Stapleton suggests in Chapter Seven, that two traditions also existed in South Africa. During frontier

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conflicts with indigenous Khoisan in the eighteenth century, frontier Dutch settlers organized voluntary local militias called commandos that would mobilize when needed and then disband.In 1739 commando service became compulsory for all frontier settlers, who sometimes also brought along Khoisan servants or sent them as substitutes. The mid-nineteenth century Cape Frontier Wars then produced a number of volunteer and ad-hoc colonial military units, both white and black, that fought under British command.From around 1850, mostly English-speaking Cape white settlers began to form permanent militia units based on the British model. As in Australia, the outbreak of the Crimean War was a particular catalyst. The Cape Royal Rifles volunteered for garrison service in 1857 to release regulars for the suppression of the Indian Mutiny. After the Cape settlers gained internal political control through responsible government in 1872, many more such units were formed such as the Cape Town Highlanders, the First City Volunteers, the Diamond Fields Horse and Kaffrarian Rifles.Similar volunteer units were formed in Natal in preparation for the 1879 invasion of the Zulu kingdom, and served in the ensuing conflict. Others followed in Natal after the granting of responsible government in 1893. It can be argued that colonial conquest and rule was often dependent upon citizen forces, the Cape forces coming out in the field again for the Gun War against the Sotho in 18801, and against the Batlhaping in 1897, and the Natal forces for the Bambatha rebellion in Zululand in 1906. As elsewhere, the military function was supplemented by political, social and cultural roles. Many of those in Natal operated precisely the same kind of clubs and societies familiar in Britain, volunteer social clubrooms being as much a feature of hotels and taverns in South Africa as in Australia. Similarly, there was the same provision of public spectacle. In the South African War, volunteers from the Cape and Natal were formed into a number of new wartime formations including the South African Light Horse, Rimingtons Guides, Thorneycrofts Mounted Infantry and the Imperial Light Horse. There was even an attempt to extend the British model to the Transvaal after the South African War, with the creation of the Transvaal Volunteers. By no means confined to those of British descent, they, too, were deployed in Zululand in 1906.49

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Race and Citizen Soldiers

The historiography of the army in India invariably misses out those part-time soldiers who were raised on the sub-continent during emergencies. As Kaushik Roy relates in Chapter Five, when the sepoys and the sowars of the Bengal army rebelled in 1857, British planters and merchants raised irregular units such as the Khaki Resalah in northern India and the Bengal Yeomanry Cavalry. Europeans as well as indigenous part-time soldiers also functioned as constabulary

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in certain regions, such as the Rohilkhand Irregular Horse in Simla and the Zhob and Cachar Levies. Not unexpectedly, new corps formed after the Mutiny, such as the Bihar Volunteer Light Horse. As elsewhere, the perceived Russian threat to India in 1878, leading on to the British intervention in Afghanistan, and especially the Penjdeh crisis in 1885 stimulated European volunteering in India, the existing units mustering only about 7,000 effectives prior to 1878. The Lieutenant Governor of the Punjab, indeed, recommended compulsory military training for European civil servants to the Eden Commission that year.50 At times amateur soldiers were raised both by the civilian organizations and by individuals. The Indian Railways, for example, raised units of volunteers from their employees who were Anglo-Indians, or ex-British soldiers who had married locally and settled down, in many cases requiring such military service of its employees. Subsequently, volunteer units, such as those in Bombay and Karachi, also included Parsees, indigenous Jews, Goans, Armenians and Indian Christians.51 An offer from the Bihar Light Horse to serve in the Sudan in 1885 was rejected but, during the South African War, Lumsdens Horse was raised in Calcutta for service in South Africa from indigo planters, tea planters, coffee planters, civil servants, bank assistants, medical employees and mercantile marine employees. As they were classified as British units, the Indian volunteer corps actually took precedence on parade over Indian army units. The participation of Anglo-Indian and indigenous groups alongside Europeans in India raises the issue of race though, as indicated earlier, Maori also served increasingly in units in New Zealand. It might also be noted that just as Scots became regarded as a kind of quasi-martial class within the regular army, national or ethnic citizen corps of Scots appeared in most corners of the empire.52 Race, however, was a factor in the Far Eastern colonies generally, where emerging Asian elites of wealth and influence not only shared the Europeans interest in security, but also saw participation in volunteering as a measure of status and acceptability. Eurasians, too, sought assimilation through membership of volunteer corps. While those of Portuguese descent found some acceptance, this was generally not readily accorded to those of British descent. There had been some consideration given to forming a volunteer corps at Singapore after riots by the Chinese population in 1846 but it was not undertaken until July 1854 after further Chinese riots. The initial strength of the Singapore Volunteer Rifle Corps was 62, the purpose as proclaimed during the presentation of Colours to the corps in February 1857 being to assist in protecting the lives and property of the public, and to show the evil disposed how readily Europeans will come forward in the maintenance of order and tranquillity. They were called out during renewed rioting in 1858 and 1871. Membership was exclusive to those of British descent until 1901, when separate Eurasian and Chinese companies were raised. While embraced by

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the British government, the inclusion of Chinese and Eurasians was resisted in Singapore, hence the separate companies. Similarly, only Europeans were admitted to the new volunteer units formed in the Federated Malay States in 1896, though the limited number available resulted in some attempts to raise mixed units. A purely European Penang Volunteer Corps existed from 1861 to 1879: it was revived as a mixed European and Eurasian corps in 1899, but foundered in 1909. Malays were not accepted in the Singapore corps until 1910. When a volunteer corps was first raised in Hong Kong in 1854 in response to the outbreak of the Crimean War, only Europeans, Americans and Eurasians of Portuguese ancestry were accepted. The corps existed but briefly and two further corps only lasted from 1862 to 1866, and from 1878 to 1882, though the second corps was deployed in response to riots by unemployed European seamen in December 1864. A new Hong Kong Volunteer Corps formed later in 1882 proved more lasting and was deployed to help police potential opposition to the acquisition of the New Territories in 1899. Chinese, however, were not admitted until the 1930s. A prohibition on Eurasians who could not prove that at least one parent was white, and on Burmese, also pertained in Burma. Nonetheless, many Eurasians served in the Rangoon Irrawaddy (later Burma) State Railway Volunteer Corps formed in 1879. Some Burmese units also included Christian Karens.53

Thus, the citizen forces of the Empire were many and varied. In Britain and Ireland, as already suggested, the auxiliaries were seen increasingly as a potential supplement to the army. The militia and even the volunteers and yeomanry were increasingly taken into account in mobilization plans for home defence though special legislation would be required to enable volunteers and yeomanry to serve overseas. Even before the advent of Edward Cardwell as Secretary of State for War in 1868, the use of locally raised colonial forces was seen as part of the general solution to the problem of colonial defence. Viscount Howick, later third Earl Grey, as Secretary at War between 1835 and 1839, and as Secretary of State for War and Colonies between 1846 and 1852, favoured such forces. He also advocated the use of military pensioners or military settlers. In the case of New Zealand, the Royal New Zealand Fencibles were formed in 1847 to guard the southern access to Auckland, being recruited from ex-servicemen who received an acre of land, of which they would become owner after completing ten years service. They only took the field once, in April 1851, and were disbanded in 1859. However, four Waikato Military Settler Regiments, and the Taranaki Military Settlers were then raised in 18634 for service against the Maori. Those volunteering were again offered land in return for service. Many were recruited in Australia

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and they often had experience in the Australian citizen forces. Generally, they were more successful than the ill-fated veterans settlements overwhelmed by the Xhosa on the Cape Frontier in December 1850, or the short-lived experiment with the German Legion, also at the Cape, in 1857.54 Thoughts of integrating the colonial forces of the white colonies in a wider scheme of imperial defence naturally increased, however, with Cardwells decision to make them responsible for their own defence in 1870. The Royal Navy accepted responsibility for the defence of all overseas colonies and territories from invasion in 1896 as part of its doctrine of naval supremacy, but there was still disquiet. In the case of Canada this was somewhat problematic given the potential threat posed to it by the United States and, indeed, the Americans planned for operations against Canada during the Venezuelan crisis in 18956.55 New Zealand and the Australian colonies had also grown anxious about German ambitions in the Pacific in 1885, leading to the establishment of the Colonial Defence Committee that same year, and to the first Colonial Conference in 1887. The perspective of the War Office on the colonies effective contribution, however, was a negative one, summed up by Field Marshal Viscount Wolseley in June 1902: They generally can find money to build monuments to one another, but when asked to put their hands in their pockets to support Military Institutions they do not feel so anxious to spend their money liberally.56 For a long period, it seemed unlikely that any colonial manpower would be forthcoming for wider imperial needs. When one of the regular regiments retained at Halifax, Nova Scotia was withdrawn for service in Egypt in 1882, the Governor General, Lord Lorne, suggested embodying a Canadian militia regiment to replace it at British expense. The Canadian government took the view that Egypt was too remote to justify embodying a militia regiment. Though maintaining his view that events in Egypt and the Sudan were not Canadas concern, the Canadian Prime Minister, Sir John Macdonald, did suggest the imperial government could recruit men in Canada, thereby establishing an unintended precedent since the idea arose that troops had actually been offered. Ironically, the acting Prime Minister of New South Wales, William Dalley, picked up on this erroneous interpretation and offered a contingent for service at Suakin. There was some talk of other colonies contributing but Dalley appeared determined that New South Wales alone should participate though it would also seem that he wanted to emphasize the reciprocal military resources of the empire given the growing anxiety at French and German activities in the Pacific. An earlier offer by South Australia to send 300 men to South Africa during the Anglo-Transvaal War in 1881 had been declined but Dalleys offer was accepted in the light of its political significance at a moment when British forces were also confronted by the Penjdeh crisis. In all, 770 Australians comprising an infantry battalion, an artillery battery and an ambulance corps were despatched to Suakin. The battery

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was mostly found from the colonys permanent artillery force, but those volunteering for the infantry went beyond the colonys militia. Eight died as a result of the contingents three months service on the Red Sea coast.57 Major General Edward Curly Hutton was a key and controversial figure in the subsequent, largely unsuccessful, attempts in the 1890s to imperialise the Canadian and Australian citizen forces, acting as Commandant in New South Wales from 1893 to 1896, GOC in Canada from 1898 to 1899, and GOC of the Australian Commonwealth Military Forces from 1902 to 1904.58 Hutton was dismissed from the Canadian command in January 1900 after clashing with the Canadian Minister of Defence, Frederick Borden. Nonetheless, it was his public suggestion of sending a colonial contingent to South Africa that was taken up by the Colonial Secretary, Joseph Chamberlain. In similarly worded telegrams sent to all the colonies on 3 October 1899, Chamberlain set out the terms on which offers of service would be accepted. It has been suggested that Chamberlain effectively pressured the colonial governments by appealing to the public in a process of manufacturing spontaneity. Chamberlain knew, however, that he was pushing at an open door. In the case of Canada, correspondence had already been exchanged on the issue prior to April 1899. There was a well-orchestrated press campaign through the summer months in support of the British position in South Africa, and Chamberlain had already requested the Governor General of Canada and the Governors of New South Wales and Victoria to approach their governments for troops on 3 July 1899. Queensland made an unsolicited offer of a contingent on 10 July, and preparations were well underway in the other colonies by September, albeit that only vague numbers had been notified to London. In the event, 7,368 Canadians, 16,124 Australians and an estimated 6,000 to 6,500 New Zealanders served in South Africa. As a proportion of its population, the New Zealand contribution was twice that of Australia, and seven times that of Canada.59 Of the 448,000 men eventually deployed in South Africa, approximately just over half were volunteers from Britain, a little over a quarter were volunteers from South Africa itself, and a little over a fifth were volunteers from Canada, Australia and New Zealand.60 For Britain, too, the South African War appeared the culminating moment for the endeavour of half a century. As Stephen Miller shows in Chapter Eight, circumstances compelled the British government to recognize that success would depend on more than just the regular army. Militia, volunteers and yeomanry from Britain and the defence forces of the colonies came forward to enlist, albeit in special wartime creations such as the City Imperial Volunteers, the Imperial Yeomanry, volunteer service companies attached to regular battalions, and the colonial contingents. Remarkable in their effectiveness for what they were designed for, but at the same time criticized by many whose expectations were set too high, the citizen soldiers of Britain and the Empire

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toiled under difficult conditions and quickly became disillusioned when they found themselves committed not to the supposed glories of conventional battle but instead to a prolonged guerrilla war. Following a series of military embarrassments, much of the criticism was levelled at the Imperial Yeomanry, drawn from a far wider section of society than the British domestic yeomanry force. On the other hand, the New Zealanders earned a good reputation as mounted troops though the performance of the Australians was distinctly varied.61 Perhaps inevitably, attention has been drawn to the conduct of irregular contingents such as the Bushveldt Carbineers, the latter always intended more as mounted constabulary than mounted riflemen, and also initially intended as a South African loyalist rather than an Australian unit. Others escaped the legal retribution their actions equally merited in the same case but there is no doubt that the English-born Harry Breaker Morant and the New South Wales-born Peter Handcock were guilty of the murders for which they were executed by firing squad in February 1902.62 The fact that the manpower of the empire had come forward in sufficient numbers at a moment of imperial crisis demonstrated that such a response might be elicited again in the future. The often-desperate improvization, however, had not met with obvious military success. Instead of the three or four month campaign requiring no more than 75,000 men originally expected, it had taken thirty-two months to overcome what amounted to a handful of farmers. The Boers had never fielded more than about 42,000 men and, following the surrender of the main Boer field army in February 1900, never more than about 9,000 on commando.63 In the wake of the South African War, the Colonial Conference of 1902 discussed the notion of an imperial pool of troops. The idea found its greatest support from New Zealand, whose Defence Act already permitted the government to transfer volunteers into such an imperial reserve for service overseas. The New Zealand government envisaged the cost being borne by the imperial government but this found little favour with the Colonial Defence Committee or the British government and it was on the issue of cost to the colonies that the proposal foundered. The 1907 Colonial Conference was more positive in advancing ideas for greater military integration though New Zealand and South Africa were more co-operative than Canada or Australia. At the Colonial Conference in July 1909, summoned chiefly as a result of Australian and Canadian naval aspirations, the Secretary of State for War, R. B. Haldane succeeded in persuading the colonies to adopt British unit establishment scales and equipment and regulations, while also establishing an Imperial General Staff. The Imperial Conference in 1911 agreed that planning should begin for what assistance the colonies might offer Britain in any future war but their first duty remained local defence and there was no commitment as such. In practical terms, however, little had been achieved in terms of colonial and dominion participation in strategic planning by 1914.64

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Reforming the Citizen Soldier


The experience of the South African War, however, had brought the issue of internal imperial military reform to a head. In Britain, a little unjustly, a great deal of criticism was levelled at the performance of the auxiliaries. Successive Unionist Secretaries of State for War, St John Brodick and H. O. Arnold-Forster, failed to get their reform plans through the House of Commons, in which auxiliary MPs were well represented.65 Many, therefore, thought that their Liberal successor, Haldane, would also fail despite the large Liberal majority returned in the 1905 election. In the event, Haldane was to succeed in replacing the existing auxiliaries with his new Territorial Force in 1908. Haldane always suggested later that his reforms were driven by the desire to ready Britain for the great continental war he foresaw, but the reform package was actually determined, as so often, by the need for economic retrenchment. Haldane represented the Territorial Force as the last viable alternative to conscription. Apart from attacking the Territorials, the campaign for national service that had gathered pace since the creation of the National Service League in 1902 was to take heart from the introduction of forms of universal military training in Natal in 1903 and in both Australia and New Zealand in 1909. In the case of Australia, growing fears of German and especially Japanese ambitions in the Pacific following the Russo-Japanese War (190405) suggested that the new Commonwealth Military Forces were too small. Inspired, in turn, by the campaign of the National Service League in Britain, Australian advocates of military training won wide political support with the establishment of a compulsory militia in 1909, and compulsory cadet training for boys between twelve and seventeen introduced in 1911, to be followed by compulsory training in the citizen forces to the age of twenty-six. The intention was to have a force of 80,000 in peacetime expanded to 135,000 in war. It has been claimed by John Mordike and Greg Lockhart that the Australian Defence Minister, George Pearce, committed Australia to an overseas expeditionary force at the Imperial Conference in 1911, but this was simply not the case. The 1903 Defence Act certainly stated that overseas service would not be compulsory, but it allowed for volunteers to serve abroad and this was Pearces assumption.66 The principle of universal military training was also extended to the Union of South Africa in 1912 with training for boys between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, followed by the choice of service in the coastal garrison force, enlistment as regulars in the South African Mounted Rifles, or compulsory unpaid training in the citizen force until the age of twenty-five, before passing into the reserve. New Zealand had witnessed a considerable expansion of its volunteer forces during the war from 7,000 to over 17,000, which proved unsustainable once victory was won, though strength remained greater at 12,000 than before 1899.

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The war undoubtedly strengthened New Zealands self-image and, to a degree, contributed to greater militarization of society. It was reflected in Prime Minister Richard Seddons willingness to commit to overseas service but also in the introduction of compulsory training in 1909, a campaign being mounted by the National Defence League from 1906 onwards. Under the Defence Act, all males between twelve and twenty-five (to thirty from 1910, and later modified in 1912 to those fourteen to thirty) were required to undertake military training, cadets passing into the new Territorial Force at 18. The Territorial Force, which was formally constituted in February 1910, would have a permanent training staff and a peacetime strength of 20,000 men, rising to over 30,000 in the event of war. In fact, the latter strength was attained easily through the adjustment of the upper age range, and a peacetime strength of 30,000 was accepted. In 1913, New Zealand had 4.5 per cent of its male population under arms compared to just 1.5 per cent in Australia and under one per cent in Britain. Planning for a possible future expeditionary force began in 1911, and the idea of a joint Australian and New Zealand expeditionary force was aired in 1912.67 Militia reform was on the agenda in Canada as well, its newfound status having brought new obligations as well as an increasing strength of 100,000 men, and new equipment and facilities. Unlike Macdonald in 1882, Borden was quite prepared to raise a special service battalion to take over garrison duties at Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1900, as well as adding new supporting services to create the basis of a self-contained Canadian army answerable to Canadian rather than Imperial officers. The future was seen, indeed, in terms of the militia rather than the small permanent force and, in 1914, the abrasive Militia Minister, Samuel Hughes, discarded totally the existing mobilization plans drawn up by the regular cadre to raise an expeditionary force from the militia. It has been suggested that this mood of military independence resulted from those returning from South Africa being unhappy warriors but it appears to relate more to the 1,200 Canadians who served in the South African Constabulary rather than those who went to South Africa in the first two Canadian contingents.68 There was not the same sense of impending danger as in Australasia, however, and Canada did not go down the compulsory training route despite the efforts of the Canadian Defence League though compulsory cadet training was introduced in some provinces between 1909 and 1914.69 With respect to Britain, the Territorial Force, as originally outlined by Haldane in February 1906, was to be a real national army, formed by the people. The new County Territorial Associations would have the role not only of raising and administering the Territorial Force but also promoting military values in schools through encouraging drill, physical activity, cadet units and rifle clubs. Haldane was aware that, though British society had become militarized to some extent in the late nineteenth century, attachment to military virtues did not nec-

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essarily run deep so that this would be a long-term programme for a nation in arms subtly different from the conscript systems of the great continental powers. Since Haldane intended the Territorials to both support and also expand the regular army in the event of war, there would now be fourteen infantry divisions and fourteen cavalry brigades with full supporting services including artillery and engineers. Upon mobilization, the Territorials would garrison naval ports, replace regular garrisons and provide defence against enemy raids and, after six months training, they would be themselves ready for overseas service. It was at this point that the vision was blurred by political compromise. The militia colonels declined to participate and so the militia was abolished and replaced with a Special Reserve. Opposition from the volunteer commanding officers, who believed the County Territorial Associations would encroach upon their independence, led to the removal of an elective element on associations. Above all, most Liberals opposed the idea of commitment to overseas service and, between the first and second reading of the bill in February 1907, the entire emphasis was switched to home defence only. Haldane was left to hope that a sufficient number of Territorials would volunteer for foreign service if called upon to do so. The new force was also to come under sustained attack from a variety of sources including regulars, who deprecated the possibility of Territorials ever becoming efficient artillerymen; advocates of conscription; the TUC and the political left; and several of the uniformed youth organizations who rejected affiliation. The Territorial Force offered a better organizational framework for expansion than the auxiliaries of old but its perceived weaknesses, partly the result of Haldanes political expediency, had undermined its status as a means of expanding the army in the event of war.70 In 1914, therefore, precisely the same ad-hoc approach to manpower planning as had occurred in 1899 was repeated. Again, the voluntary response in Britain and throughout the Empire was an extraordinary one. Ultimately, however, the challenge of total war could only be met by compulsion in Britain and New Zealand in 1916, and in Canada in 1917, though Australia rejected conscription in both 1916 and 1917. South Africas contingents also remained volunteers, as did the Indian army though district quotas for enlistment were introduced in 1917. Nonetheless, that the voluntary system endured as long as it did was a testament to all those who, for whatever reason, had become part of Britain and the Empires proud amateur military tradition.

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