Andrew did both his undergraduate and his M.Litt degrees in Modern History at the University of St Andrews, and he will always look back fondly on his time in the Auld Grey Toun. He is a devoted distance runner, and having previously run for St Andrews and for Fife AC, now runs for Birmingham Uni. In his spare time, he tells off-colour jokes and extravagantly implausible anecdotes.
The thesis will explore regular officers’ education in the broad sense, examining class-room teaching at Sandhurst and Woolwich, and also empirical experience drawn from colonial campaigns or administration, with the intention of demonstrating that officers drew on what they had learned to make their decisions in 1914.
It will examine the ethos and professionalism of the officer corps, the (non-prescriptive) doctrine that the army had in the form of Field Service Regulations, and the combat effectiveness of the army when it fought in the opening campaign on the continent in 1914.
The formal education of officers at Sandhurst, Woolwich, and Camberley will be given extensive coverage, as little has been written about the curricula of the first two institutions. Some consideration will be given to officers who did not pass through either Sandhurst or Woolwich, joining from the Militia or the Special Reserve, and OTC programs and training for Territorial Force officers, but the emphasis will remain on the Regulars.
The army’s standard round of annual training will be examined, starting with small unit tactics, progressing to coordination with other units, and culminating in large exercises, with an examination of what was practiced, and the results that were observed and the decisions made by the umpires at the exercises. Lessons that officers learned from campaigns or postings in the Empire will also be included, to examine the different ways that officers could continue to learn, in what would now probably be called ‘continuous professional development’.
Finally, the opening weeks of the war and the choices that officers made will be explored, to link together learning and action in battle.
- ‘The Development of the British Army Medical Services 1856-1914, Transformation and Reform’ in Ross Mahoney, Stuart Mitchell and Michael LoCicero (Eds.) A Military Transformed? Transformation and Innovation in the British Military from 1792 to 1945 (Solihull: Helion, Forthcoming (2013))