Distant Drums: The Role of Colonies in British Imperial Warfare

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Apollo Books, 2010 - History - 339 pages
"Distant Drums" reveals how colonies were central to the defence of the British Empire and the command of the oceans that underpinned it. It blends sweeping overviews of the nature of imperial defence with grass-roots explanations of how individual colonies were mobilised for war, drawing on the author's specialist knowledge of the Indian Ocean and colonies such as Bechuanaland, Ceylon, Mauritius, and Swaziland. This permits the full and dramatic range of action involved in imperial warfare -- from policy-makers and military planners in Whitehall to chiefs recruiting soldiers in African villages -- to be viewed as part of an interconnected whole. After examining the martial reasons for acquiring colonies, the book considers the colonial role in the First World War. It then turns to the Second World War, documenting the recruitment of colonial soldiers, their manifold roles in British military formations, and the impact of war upon colonial home fronts. It reveals the problems associated with the use of colonial troops far from home, and the networks used to achieve the mobilisation of a global empire, such as those formed by colonial governors and regional naval commanders. The book is an important contribution to our understanding of the role of British colonies in twentieth-century warfare. The defence of empire has traditionally been associated with the military endeavours of Britain and the 'white' Dominions, with the Indian Army sometimes in the background. This book champions the crucial role played by the other parts of the British Empire -- the sixty or so colonies spread across the globe -- in delivering victory during the world wars of the twentieth century.
 

Contents

The British Colonial Empire and Imperial Warfare
1
The Evolution of Ceylon as a Martial Colony 17601960
41
The First World War in the Indian Ocean Region
75
The
99
The Case of the High
127
The Military Contribution of the High Commission
154
Unrest among
177
The 1st Battalion The Mauritius Regiment Madagascar
203
Ceylon Mauritius and the Indian Ocean during the Second
223
British Imperial
242
Colonial Governors and the Second World War
262
The Continued Role of Colonies in
285
Bibliography
299
Index
313
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About the author (2010)

Ashley Jackson is forging a reputation as a leading historian of the British Empire and World War II. After eight years at Mansfield College, Oxford he moved to King's College London in 2004, where he is now Professor of Imperial and Military History. His third book, The British Empire and the Second World War, appeared to critical acclaim in 2006. He is currently writing Ocean Victory: Britain's Eastern War, 1939–1945 and a biography of Winston Churchill. His latest book, Mad Dogs and Englishmen: A Grand Tour of the British Empire at its Height, is published by Quercus.