Our old world diff’rences are dead: the Scottish emigrant military tradition in the First World War - NMS Research Repository
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Book chapter

Our old world diff’rences are dead: the Scottish emigrant military tradition in the First World War

5 May 2016

Abstract

Scottish volunteer corps were an established feature of the defence forces of the British Dominions in the decades before the First World War. Displaying and performing the essentials of traditional identity associated with the British army’s Scottish regiments, these military units constituted one form of associational culture for migrant Scots and their descendants. But when, in 1914, the British Dominions joined the imperial war effort, these identities transferred only partially into the expeditionary forces mobilised for overseas service. This chapter considers why it was that, with emigrant Scottish units prominent in the war iconography of Canada and South Africa, the overseas forces of Australia and New Zealand did not similarly embrace the Scottish tradition. The differences are found to lie in administrative arrangements for mobilisation, including conscription, as much as in the relative degrees of Dominion nationalism through which the war was represented and commemorated.

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