'Tommifying' the Western Front, 1914-1918

Wilson, R. (2011) 'Tommifying' the Western Front, 1914-1918. Journal of Historical Geography, 37 (3). pp. 338-347. ISSN 0305-7488

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This article uses letters, diaries and memoirs to examine the processes by which British soldiers on the Western Front gave meaning and definition to the war-torn landscape at the front and behind the lines. As the world’s first industrialised war developed in France and Belgium, millions of British civilians, both men and women, volunteered or were conscripted into the service of the British Army. These individuals were essential in maintaining an unprecedented war-effort on the continent as vast quantities of materials and manpower were transferred to British Army bases in France and Belgium. The scale of this operation amounted to no less than a full-scale military occupation. As British soldiers, labourers and support staff were posted to the Western Front they encountered an unfamiliar, war-ravaged landscape. The scenes of devastation, refugees, poverty and violence shaped a distinct sense of place on the Western Front. This evocation of place is demonstrated by the process of soldiers attributing names, values and associations to villages, towns and areas on the Western Front. As troops were circulated from the trenches to billets behind the lines they asserted notions of identity and place by ‘Tommifying’ northern France and Belgium.

Publication Type: Articles
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in the Journal of Historical Geography. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in the Journal of Historical Geography, VOL 37, ISSUE 3, (2011) DOI: 10.1016/j.jhg.2011.01.001.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Naming; Narrative; Western Front; Soldiers; First World War; World War I; Trenches
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D501 World War I
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Arts and Humanities > History
Depositing User: Ross Wilson
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2014 13:39
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2018 15:21
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/1240

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