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SEMINAR | National and Patriotic Identities in the British Army Officer Corps, 1793-1815


Dr David Huf, University of Tasmania

Start Date

28th Feb 2018 2:00pm

End Date

28th Feb 2018 3:00pm


Room 346, Humanities Building, Sandy Bay campus

RSVP / Contact Information

ALL WELCOME. For enquiries, please contact Dr Kristyn Harman

British Army Officer Corps Image

David Huf Image

About the Seminar

Warfare has been central to studies of British national identity during the eighteenth century. Yet, despite the importance of war in the historiography; how military service informed combatants’ relationship with the British nation during this period has received little scholarly attention.

This paper examines this relationship with regards to junior British army officers who served during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and argues that military service in this period consolidated a 'British' national identity within the officer corps. Like the wider army, the officer was nationally diverse, with officers drawn from all across Britain and Ireland. This diverse setting encouraged officers to relate to one another and the British nation, particularly through adhering to the values of politeness and honour. Importantly, this article argues that officers' patriotic expression evolved during this period. During the 1790s, officers equated loyalism with patriotism. Napoleon's ascent changed this dynamic, as officers incorporated critiques of the government into their patriotic expression during the early-mid-1800s.

About the Presenter

David Huf is an associate researcher at the University of Tasmania, and completed his PhD in History in 2017. David’s research focuses on the cultural life of the British army during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and his thesis explored issues of experience and identity among British army officers during this conflict. This seminar is based on a forthcoming article in Historical Research journal.