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Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Costanzo, Susan E.

Second Advisor

Zarrow, Sarah

Third Advisor

Zimmerman, Sarah J.


The start of the First World War was a wakeup call for the British War Office. Britain’s historical reliance on its navy and professional army had proved obsolete in the opening days of the conflict at the Battle of Mons. In response, reforms were swiftly enacted, exemplified prominently in Lord Kitchener's New Armies and the inception of the Pals Battalions. This thesis breaks down the motivations, effects, and experiences of this program into three main perspectives, the War Office, the community, and the soldiers. In focusing on the micro as well as the macro, this thesis seeks to fill the gaps in the near nonexistent historiography surrounding the Pals. In doing so, it argues that class structures which directly mirrored those back home dominated the lives of the Pals, profoundly influencing both the program's development and its impact on local communities. This design philosophy further reflects the planned obsolescence of the program, which led to what the War Office imagined as an “inevitable turn to conscription.” In analyzing the contours of the Pals Program from the bottom up, historians can begin to fill in the gaps left behind by the program’s explosive conclusion at the Somme, one which has left lasting impacts on British communities across the dominions.




Pals, World War One, Recruitment, Britain, Accrington, New Armies, Kitchener's Army


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subjects – Names (LCNAF)

Great Britain. Army--Recruiting, enlistment, etc.--History--20th century; Great Britain. Army--Organization--History--20th century; Great Britain. War Office.

Subject – LCSH

World War, 1914-1918--Great Britain; World War, 1914-1918--Regimental histories--Great Britain

Geographic Coverage

Great Britain




masters theses




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