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Civilians into soldiersWar, the body and British Army recruits, 1939-45$
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Emma Newlands

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719088049

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719088049.001.0001

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Fear, wounding and death

Fear, wounding and death

(p.154) 5 Fear, wounding and death
Civilians into soldiers

Emma Newlands

Manchester University Press

This chapter explores the place of the body in official and individual responses to fear, wounding and death. It examines how the army sought to control men’s emotions through bodily channels and how the sick and injured were processed through a series of strict medical administrative arrangements. It also explores official cultures of burial and remembrance, which were designed to remove the physical and symbolic threat posed by the military corpse. This chapter then explores soldiers’ recollections of fear, wounding and death. These show that when confronted with the enemy, injured, or faced with the sight of dead comrades, men often had no control over their bodies and were unable to fulfil their military roles. Thus, the body remained an unstable object, even at the moment for which it had long been prepared. The final section of this chapter examines the pensions system that was put in place to compensate dead and wounded bodies. How awards were worked out, how soldiers applied for pensions and how they contested official decisions all demonstrate the state’s surveillance of men’s bodies after military service was over. Furthermore, these procedures show that the body remained a disputed terrain upon which struggles over control and resistance were fought out once soldiers had returned home.

Keywords:   Battle, Military corpse, Military burial, Army Medical Services, War Pensions

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