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Appears in Collections:History and Politics Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: 'Likely to make good soldiers': mobilizing Britain's criminal population during the First World War
Author(s): McKay, Cameron
Keywords: Sociology and Political Science
Cultural Studies
Issue Date: 4-Aug-2021
Date Deposited: 20-Aug-2021
Citation: McKay C (2021) 'Likely to make good soldiers': mobilizing Britain's criminal population during the First World War. Historical Research, 94 (265), pp. 578-600.
Abstract: During the First World War Britain’s criminals were mobilized in much the same way as the rest of society. Courts allowed defendants to avoid prison if they enlisted, while borstal boys, and later adult prisoners, were also granted early release. Although enlistment offered a chance for rehabilitation, criminals were also desirable due to their violent nature, and enlisting them reduced the cost of imprisonment at a time of straitened economic circumstances. How the war was interpreted and later remembered left little room for the inclusion of criminals, which effectively removed them from the collective narrative.
DOI Link: 10.1093/hisres/htab007
Rights: © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Institute of Historical Research This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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