How Imperial was Eighth Army in 1941

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by Andreas, Jan 9, 2022.

  1. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    There were also loads of pump shotguns made by all the US manufactures supplied to the USAAF for training aerial gunners. Maybe the RAF used them too. They'd be Model 12s if they were Winchesters
  2. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    The 1914 Manual of Military Law Chapter XI "Constitution of the Military Forces of the Crown" states:

    " 1. The military forces of the Crown consist of- British forces, Indian forces, Colonial forces."

    The 1939 reprint of the 1929 Manual of Military Law Chapter XI "Constitution of the Military Forces of the Crown" states:

    " 1. The military forces of the Crown consist of- British forces, Indian forces, Dominion forces, Colonial forces and the Channel Islands Militia."

    No reference to "Imperial".
    Andreas likes this.
  3. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    That's helpful. The 'Imperial' in my post is referencing the language of Jackson. I am still struggling with how to refer to the Allied forces in the Middle East in 1941.

    Empire Forces? Well there were French ground and air units, and Polish and Czechoslovak ground units and Dutch naval units as well as Greek and Yugoslav air units, so technically only correct for the British, Indian, Dominion forces, leaves out the rest.

    Crown Forces? Nice, but see above.

    Commonwealth Forces? See above plus its an anachronism and technically wrong.

    I have settled on 'Allied' for now. Better ideas welcome.

    All the best

  4. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    I think "Allied" is the best term you could use, considering all of the units and nationalities you just mentioned.
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  5. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    "Allied" is the best.

    I failed to check the RAF version before posting the above, and it's clearly a moot point for the intended direction of the thread, but the 1943 King's Regulations and Air Council Instructions, Chapter II "Organisation of the Royal Air Force" opens with:

    "19. Composition and Government of the Air Force - 1. The Imperial air forces of the Crown consist of commissioned and enlisted personnel who have undertaken a definite liability for service and comprise -

    (a) the R.A.F.
    (b) the R.A.F. Reserve which includes the Reserve of Air Force Officers, the Special Reserve and the R.A.F. Volunteer Reserve
    (c) the Auxiliary Air Force."

    There are several more paragraphs, but no reference to Colonial, etc., as in the M.M.L.

    I could not find anything in Royal Navy tomes, except for rules about saluting "Foreign Royal or Imperial Family".

    The requirements set out in "1941 King's Regulations & Admiralty Instructions", Volume II, for obtaining an Educational Certificate in the Royal Marines included the syllabus:

    "Geography. ( Maximum marks 100 ). A knowledge in not too great detail of the physical, industrial and commercial features of the British Isles. The names and positions of all Dominions, Colonies and Dependencies of the British Empire.

    Imperial History and Citizenship. ( Maximum marks 100 ). The subject matter of the following books -

    "A Junior History of the British Empire Overseas", by A. F. Newton ( Blackie )

    "The British Citizen" by J.H. Peddie. ( Blackie)."
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  6. JohnB

    JohnB Junior Member

    I don't think Allied is right when one considers that apart from the Allied nations proper - Poles, Czechs, French etc - the troops were all legally British subjects.
    Australian, New Zealand and indeed Canadian citizenship didn't come into legal being until after the war. South Africa was a bit more complicated.
    Andreas likes this.
  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron


    cant help but think of cinemas and the like

    Dominion Tottenham Court Road
    Imperial Cinemas SW7
    Hackney Empire
    Colonial Cinema monthly magazine

    Allied Theatres in Americs

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  8. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

  9. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Hackney Empire is not a cinema.


    All the best

    CL1 likes this.
  10. JohnB

    JohnB Junior Member

    Was the description of the photograph near contemporaneous with the taking of the photograph though?

    From the Australian Official History 'Greece, Crete and Syria' (1953)

    "Of the three British Dominion divisions which were to help man this rearward line only one and a half had yet arrived in Greece . Papagos who would command the whole Allied force had contended that a total of nine British and Greek divisions with full air support would be needed to establish a "reasonably strong front" ; he had eight divisions, of which six were far below strength, and weak air support . Wilson, who commanded the British and Greek force in the rearward position, had asked for a staff to reconnoitre lines of withdrawal, and plans were already being made to embark the British force if necessary. Blarney, commanding the main part of the British expedition, considered it would meet "overwhelming" German forces."

    Seems OK to call it a British expedition though the majority forces were Dominion, Australian and New Zealand, troops.

    Also to describe Indian Army units as allies implies that their Government had a say in the matter!
  11. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    My understanding is that from an archival perspective the description is as much part of the record as the photo itself, so it is provided as given on the photograph.

    Will check with my AWM contact.

    All the best


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