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Military Identities: The Regimental System, the British Army, and the British People c.1870-2000

David French


The regimental system has been the foundation of the British army for 300 years. This study of the Cardwell-Childers reforms shows how the army was refashioned in the late 19th century, and how it was subsequently and repeatedly reinvented to suit the changing roles that were forced upon the army. It challenges the assumptions of both the exponents and detractors of the system, showing that there was not one but several regimental systems. It demonstrates that localized recruiting was usually a failure, with many regiments unable to draw more than a small proportion of their recruits from thei ... More

Keywords: British army, regimental system, Cardwell-Childers reforms, recruiting, First World War, Second World War, regimental traditions

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2005 Print ISBN-13: 9780199258031
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199258031.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

David French, author
Professor of History, University College London
Author Webpage