OTHER SOCIAL ISSUES

‘It’s in the Blood, isn’t it?’ The Contested Status of First World War Veterans in Second World War Civil Defence

Article

This article examines how ex-servicemen’s memories of the First World War shaped their experience of working in civil defence during the Second. In response to ongoing public criticism of civil defence as a whole and a dismissive attitude towards veterans, in particular, these men expressed a distinct form of ‘useful masculinity’, rooted in their combat experience and developed within the particular context of civil defence. I will argue that through the group setting in which remembering took place, veterans were able to oppose dominant cultural narratives and to develop and express these alternative narratives about their value.

Abstract

This article examines how ex-servicemen’s memories of the First World War shaped their experience of working in civil defence during the Second. In response to ongoing public criticism of civil defence as a whole and a dismissive attitude towards veterans in particular, these men expressed a distinct form of ‘useful masculinity’, rooted in their combat experience and developed within the particular context of civil defence. I will argue that through the group setting in which remembering took place, veterans were able to oppose dominant cultural narratives and to develop and express these alternative narratives about their value.

Full Reference

Hammett, J., 2017. ‘It’s in the Blood, isn’t it?’ The Contested Status of First World War Veterans in Second World War Civil Defence.