B-17 (Waffen-Arsenal 34) by Steve Birdsall

By Steve Birdsall

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19 There was some opposition to immediately establishing the TF Reserve as it might have served as an inducement to the 86,000 ex-Volunteers who had joined the Territorial Force on a one-year agreement not to reengage but leave and enrol instead in the Reserve. A preferred option was a suggestion that only men who had served as a Territorial for two or three years would be eligible to join. 20 There was some disagreement about whether TF Reservists should be allowed to camp with Territorial units and also continued argument about the intended size of the Reserve.

By ‘carefully, methodically and inexpensively’ registering the names of men in their final stages of services, counties would create a reservoir of trained men into which the AG could ‘dip on mobilization’. 68 Unpersuaded by Seely’s own public belief of a brighter future, calls to abandon the TF Reserve and replace it with a stronger and more dynamic National Reserve continued undiminished. The agitation coincided with yet more resolutions and expressions of discontent from the counties which demanded a more explicit definition of the duties the NR would be expected to fulfil should the Regulars and Territorials be mobilized.

11 In accordance with Sir Henry Wilson’s August thesis, it thereafter became an accepted principle of policy that the entire Expeditionary Force would embark. 13 It was widely acknowledged among the military authorities that the public’s perception of the Territorial Force had to be altered and that the nation had to be educated to the opinion that, despite the Territorials’ limited efficiency, the departure of the Expeditionary Force would not jeopardize national security.

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