William Bennett

Absent-Minded Beggars

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The British Army suffered one of its greatest crises when in December 1899 the Boer irregulars inflicted three reverses in South Africa in 'Black Week'. A nation grown accustomed to success was stunned. Part of the answer was a very British blend of patriotism and pragmatism. For the first time civilian volunteers and part-time soldiers were allowed to fight overseas to the horror of traditionalist professional soldiers. Yet, by the end of the Boer War, almost 90,000 men had volunteered to serve the Colours. Much of sporting high society joined the newly formed Imperial Yeomanry. The Volunteers sent infantrymen to serve alongside the regulars and the City of London financed the raising of the City Imperial Volunteers. Men also came forward from the colonies. This book tells the story of these volunteer units.
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381 printed pages
Original publication
1999

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