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“Every inch a fighting man:” a new perspective on the military career of a controversial Canadian, Sir Richard Turner

Stewart, William Frederick (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Lieutenant-General Sir Richard Ernest William Turner served Canada admirably in two wars and played an instrumental role in unifying veterans’ groups in the post-war period. His experience was unique in the Canadian Expeditionary Force; in that, it included senior command in both the combat and administrative aspects of the Canadian war effort.
This thesis, based on new primary research and interpretations, revises the prevalent view of Turner. The thesis recasts five key criticisms of Turner and presents a more balanced and informed assessment of Turner. His appointments were not the result of his political affiliation but because of his courage and capability. Rather than an incompetent field commander, Turner developed from a middling combat general to an effective division commander by late 1916. His transfer to England was the result of the need for a proficient field commander to reform the administration. Turner proved to be an excellent administrator, a strong nationalist, and was crucially responsible for improvements in administration and training in England. Finally, the conflict with Sir Arthur Currie, the commander of the Canadian Corps, rather than being motivated by obstructionist jealousy was the outcome of competing institutional imperatives and Currie’s challenging personality.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Sheffield, Gary
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of History, School of History and Cultures
Subjects:CT Biography
D501 World War I
DA Great Britain
F1001 Canada (General)
U Military Science (General)
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3389
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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