Shaping British and Anzac soldiers’ experience of Gallipoli: environmental and medical factors, and the development of trench warfare
AbstractWorks discussing the experience of combatants, based on their writings or on oral testimony, are a well-established genre of military history. However, it is rare to find authors explicitly analysing the various influences that shaped the soldier’s experience in any era. This article, which forms part of a wider study of British and Dominion soldiers in the two world wars, attempts to fill this gap by using the Gallipoli campaign as a vehicle to examine some of the factors that shaped the experience of British, Australian and New Zealand soldiers that served at the Dardanelles. Here, ‘experience’ is defined as ‘the process or an instance of undergoing and being affected by an event or a series of connected events’. Such an exploration helps to reveal the extent to which individuals in war have ‘agency’, the ability to determine their own fate, or are limited by external factors (in sociological terms, ‘structural constraints’). Such external factors could stem from apparently trivial things, which nevertheless determined a man’s fate. In September 1914 Philip Ibbetson and his mate Jack tried to join the Royal Australian Navy in Brisbane, but Jack was rejected because of hammer toes. Both men then enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF), which was evidently less fussy about recruits’ feet. They eventually found themselves at Gallipoli, rather than experiencing a rather different war at sea. In their case, agency was noticeably absent.
CitationSheffield, G. (2017) 'Shaping British and Anzac Soldiers’ Experience of Gallipoli: Environmental and Medical Factors, and the Development of Trench Warfare', British Journal for Military History, 4, (1) pp. 23–43
PublisherBritish Journal for Military History
JournalBritish Journal for Military History
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