A School in Arms

Uppingham and the Great War

Timothy Halstead

Uppingham School during the Great War.
Date Published :
February 2018
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Illustration :
16pp b4w plates
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781911512646
Pages : 312
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock


For many people, their only knowledge of Uppingham’s involvement in the Great War is through Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth and its account of her relationship with three men who went to the school and lost their lives during the war. In this book, the author discusses the involvement of more than 2,300 'Old Boys' who served in the Great War. Based mainly on material from the school’s archives and the accounts and papers of the 'Old Boys', it provides the first comprehensive account of the school and the war. This book is not just about the 20 percent who died; it is just as much about the 80 percent who survived. The school’s involvement is placed within the years before and after the war, as well as within the involvement of the public schools and wider society. It demonstrates that militarism at the school and in society, in the years before and after, was not as prevalent as is sometimes suggested; it argues that concern about Germany and the threat it posed should not be confused with jingoism. By examining the school’s contribution, it demonstrates that this was not just a war for young men on the front line; it shows the wide variety of skills the 'Old Boys' and staff contributed to the war effort and explains why they believed it was worth fighting for, despite the appalling cost. For the first time, the book explains the key role of the school’s Officer Training Corps (OTC) commanding officer in the establishment of the national OTC scheme in 1908, which would be a source of more than 100,000 officers during the Great War. It also highlights for the first time the involvement of two 'Old Boys' in the Borkum incident in 1910; this was one of the most high-profile incidents between Germany and Britain, as tensions rose between the two countries in the years leading to the outbreak of the war in 1914. Above all, it explains how Uppingham’s educational ethos equipped men to serve in the Great War.

About The Author

Timothy Halstead was educated at Uppingham and studied for an MA in British First World War Studies at the University of Birmingham. His MA dissertation examined the public school ethos in the Great War, using Uppingham as a case study. Previously, he has had papers published on Uppingham in War and Society and on the Junior OTC before the Great War in the British Journal of Military History. Future publications include a chapter on the British Army’s Junior Officer Corps in 1916 in a volume edited by Dr Spencer Jones. He is a member of the British Commission of Military History and Treasurer of the Army Records Society. When he is not researching and writing about military history, he advises on data protection matters. Timothy is married with two grown-up children and lives in Hertfordshire.


“...very well researched and a wealth of information.”

- Army Rumour Service

“…the author has produced a very useful study…has a wider resonance in the literature of the role of the public schools in the First World War..”

- SOFNAM Autumn 2018

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