By Nathan Wise
Anzac Labour explores the horror, frustration and exhaustion surrounding operating existence within the Australian Imperial strength throughout the First global struggle. according to letters and diaries of Australian infantrymen, it strains the heritage of labor and office cultures via Australia, the seashores of Gallipoli, the fields of France and Belgium, and the close to East.
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Extra info for Anzac Labour: Workplace Cultures in the Australian Imperial Force during the First World War
The Liverpool-Sydney protest was not the ﬁrst of its kind. The Liverpool training camp had seen a riot in November 1915. 85 These were of course in addition to the countless other small-scale confrontations that rank-and-ﬁle soldiers had with their ofﬁcers and with military police. However, the failure of the February 1916 strike did not destroy the belief amongst the rank-and-ﬁle that they could resist the military regimen. These patterns of resistance and the utilisation of civil forms of industrial action continued as these men left their training camps and embarked for overseas service.
The unnamed sergeant is simply a ‘decent chap and a good instructor’, by contrast, Sergeant French stands out for his disagreeable nature and ‘idiotic’ behaviour. Both non-commissioned ofﬁcers and commissioned ofﬁcers had to work hard to achieve the respect of their men, yet err only slightly to receive their criticism. Hector Brewer eventually experienced the other side of this relationship. 62 His promotion essentially gave him a new job description, new responsibilities in his daily life, new privileges hitherto only available to ofﬁcers and, of course, a new rate of pay.
The role of non-commissioned ofﬁcers (NCOs) and warrant ofﬁcers (WOs) within the AIF complemented the work of commissioned ofﬁcers. NCOs were responsible for the small-scale management of military units, ensuring that the small numbers of men under their command knew their tasks and were prepared for whatever job they had ahead. Thus, while an ofﬁcer would determine which unit would perform a task, an NCO or WO, typically a quartermaster sergeant, would determine which individuals within that unit would do that work.