Irish Officers in the British Forces, 1922–45 by Steven O'Connor

By Steven O'Connor

Irish officials within the British forces, 1922-45 appears on the the explanation why younger Irish humans took the king's fee, together with the relatives culture, the varsity impact and the employment rationale. It explores their next reports within the forces and the responses in self sustaining eire to the continuation of this British army connection.

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Sampling undertaken by the War Office in 1943 indicated that one quarter of the candidates accepted for officer training were from public schools. 51 In the RAF a meritocratic system for officer selection had also been introduced. By 1936 it had exhausted the supply of officers from public schools and universities, and in recognition of the widespread feeling against the ‘old-school-tie’ attitude, it decided to form a direct entry reserve that would be more democratic. Hence, all men who joined the Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR) were to be enrolled as sergeants, with commissions only available on proven merit.

78 Who Became an Officer? 35 During the interwar period the Admiralty, like the other services, maintained a class prejudice and worried about the dilution of the quality of its officer corps. 79 Although this attitude quickly changed after 1939 and several Irish officers, both Catholics and Protestants, enjoyed successful naval careers,80 among Irish officer recruits overall it seems that a perception of elitism may have followed the Royal Navy into the war and was slow to change. 6 per cent of them went on to an Irish regiment.

In my family there is a tradition of service with the British Armed Forces, there was then a common citizenship, England had done a lot for me, so joining up seemed the right and natural thing to do. 58 Although it is not known how many officers in the cohort were living in Britain when they joined, there is circumstantial evidence, such as an affiliation with a British university or working for a British company, which suggests that a significant amount were resident there. 59 Who Became an Officer?

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