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Wise N. 'Same Old Dope, Dodging Work': The Working Class in the Military, 1914-1918. 2006.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/7710
'Same Old Dope, Dodging Work': The Working Class in the Military, 1914-1918
The everyday lives of the working class men who served with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) between 1914-1918 have largely been written out of the record. Labour historians, with their distaste for examining war in general, have been reluctant to examine this aspect of people's lives. These people were workers before they enlisted, they had families, they had friends, and they had jobs. Yet nobody has sought to understand the transition of working class men - workers - from their civil employment into military employment. Rather, the military history tradition of writing of soldiers as those recruited to fight, to kill, to defend, has remained very strong. The Anzac legend presents the soldier as a hero, contently sacrificing his life in the duty demanded of him by his nation. It is an image designed to promote a sense of national pride and patriotism, but it is also an image largely based upon middle class sources, and middle class experiences in the military. This paper addresses this gap in the labour historiography by examining the diaries of three individuals who served with the AIF during World War One: Henry Ernest Wyatt, John Hartley Meads, and John Bruce.