AffiliationFaculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences
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AbstractThe human resource – or ‘manpower’ – problem faced by the British during the First World War is a topic that has been neglected and is therefore much misunderstood. This thesis sheds light on the ways in which the nation attempted to organise its citizens to serve four concomitant manpower needs: the sufficient supply of men for the armed forces, the workforce required for the munitions industry, the personnel needed to cater for the needs of the civilian population, and the people who worked to maintain the country’s financial and economic stability. This is done through study of the implementation and administration of compulsory military service. The principal archival source is the Middlesex Appeal Tribunal archive, held at The National Archives in Kew. The urban district of Acton has been used as a data sample. This thesis examines five different occupations and considers the three groups of people involved in the tribunal process: the potential conscripts, their associated contemporaries and the tribunal members. This thesis demonstrates the complexities involved in balancing the nation’s manpower needs. Indeed, many of the problems were never fully solved. With little overall central guidance the demands made by various government departments, the military authorities, trade associations, employers, the local populace, family members and the appellants themselves were often difficult for the military service tribunals to resolve. This thesis shows that home front imperatives were a fundamental aspect of the decision making with regard to the nation’s manpower. A man’s skill, his local influence and his health were important points to consider when deciding whether he should remain on the home front or serve in the armed forces. In addition it is clear that tribunals paid mere lip service to some central government advice, such as that related to one-man businesses. Much of Britain’s manpower legislation was enacted as a reaction to the problems caused by the country’s implementation of compulsory military service in the middle of the war. As this thesis demonstrates, tribunals were expected to implement a manpower policy that was constantly evolving to deal with the very conscription they were supposed to manage.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
SponsorsUniversity of Wolverhampton
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