Broken soldiers

Published in Issue 3 (May/June 2016), Letters, Volume 24

Sir,—Michael Robinson’s ‘Broken soldiers’ (HI 24.2, March/April 2016) was a most interesting read. His observation that ‘medical officers were not initially paid for a man rejected’ on examination for recruitment raises the question: did they eventually get paid and, if so, how much? He further informs us that for each recruit passed fit the medical officer received one shilling, thereby creating the possibility for abuse. Having researched aspects of recruitment, I came across reference to the fact that medical officers and civilian doctors received 2s. 6d for each man passed fit for service. Needless to say, this inducement to the civilian practitioners led to the processing of as many as possible, even though they may have had poor eyesight and other problems. Recruiting sergeants also received the same amount and were eager to ensure that as many as possible were attested, including those who were either too old or too young. However, some recruiters conscientiously turned away those in that situation.—Yours etc.,

Dr TADHG MOLONEY
Limerick

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