Search results for Old Contemptibles.

Southampton: The Gateway to War


When Britain entered the First World War in August 1914, there was no question as to which port was going to be the focus of activity – secret planning had been ongoing for years in relation to the city of Southampton. Previously used as the point of embarkation for troops bound for both India and the Boer War, in 1912 a practice mobilisation had …

‘The scum of the earth’


In 1813 the Duke of Wellington, angered by incidents of looting amongst his army, wrote sourly: ‘We have in the service the scum of the earth as common soldiers.’ The words were harsh, but not altogether inaccurate, for the British Army had a long tradition of recruiting primarily amongst the poorest and most desperate of society. Above: The Duk…